Nettle, according to its fans, has many uses, including reduction of fever and symptoms of the common cold. Now, nettle is gaining popularity as a weight loss aid.
Nettle has a long history of use. The tough fibers from the stem have been used to make cloth and cooked nettle leaves were eaten as vegetables. From ancient Greece to the present, nettle has been documented for its traditional use in treating coughs, tuberculosis, and arthritis and in stimulating hair growth.
Nettle is a very high source of digestible iron.
Nettle as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
In medieval Europe, nettle was used as a diuretic (to rid the body of excess water) and to treat joint pain.
One of the most popular applications for nettle is for urinary problems related to enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]). It is often combined with saw palmetto to help with reduced urinary flow, post urination dripping and the constant urge to urinate. Nettle has a broader application to urinary tract infections and is believed to be beneficial in preventing kidney stones.
While the hairs, or spines, of the stinging nettle are normally very painful to the touch, when they come into contact with a painful area of the body, they can actually decrease the original pain. Scientists think nettle does this by reducing levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body, and by interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals.
The plant is used for treating high blood pressure, gout, PMS, rheumatism, diarrhea, scurvy, liver, prostate problems, anemia, fatigue, edema, menstrual difficulties, eczema, hay fever and allergies.
Today, many people still use nettle to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate, for urinary tract infections, for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), or in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites.
Studies have also shown nettles to be beneficial for osteoarthritis particularly when combined with anti-inflammatory medications.
Externally, Nettle is used as a compress to treat neuralgia and arthritis.
Use the infusion as a hair rinse to treat dandruff and to stimulate hair growth. Soak 2 handfuls of roots in 2 quarts of cold water overnight; next day bring mix to a boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes; strain roots; use remaining liquid as a hair rinse.
Nettle Leaf Infusion
A herbal infusion is a large amount of herb brewed fora long amount of time. Infusions lend more health benefits.
1 cup dried nettle leaf
1 quart (1 liter) water
Pour boiled and slightly cooled water over the dried nettle leaf in a teapot or a thick glass jar. Cover and steep for 4 to 10 hours or overnight.
After steeping, strain the liquid. You now have a nutritious, super elixir drink! Serve chilled or reheated. Recommended dose is 2 to 4 cups per day.
Note that your elixir may spoil after 36 hours.
Some doctors recommend taking a freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle well before hay fever season starts. More studies are needed to confirm nettle's antihistamine properties.
- Tea: Prepare a cup by pouring 2/3 cup of boiling water over 3 to 4 teaspoons of dried leaves or dried root and steeping for 3 to 5 minutes. Drink 3 to 4 cups per day. You can also make an infusion with fresh nettle leaves. Always drink additional water along with the tea.
- Dried leaf: 2 to 4 grams, 3 times a day
- Fluid extract (root,1:1): 1.5 mL, 3 to 4 times daily
- Fluid extract (leaf, 1:1): 2 to 5 mL 3 times daily
- Tincture (root, 1:5): 1 to 4 mL 3 to 4 times daily
- Creams: Use as directed
Culinary Uses of Nettle
The juice cooked out of the leaves can be used as a rennet to curdle milk for cheese or junket puddings. A strong decoction of the leaves is also a substitute for rennet.
Used as an ingredient in beer making and soups.
Major commercial source of chlorophyll for coloring fats, oils, soaps, and foodstuffs.
Also used in wine making, cooked as vegetable casseroles, puddings, teas and incorporated into cheeses.
Nettle as a vegetable. Harvest young tops of nettle with the newest leaves. Cover with water and stir with spoon until thoroughly washed. Drain and drop into a dry kettle. cook 5 to 10 minutes and do not overcook. When cooked, drain well and add butter to a skillet which has been rubbed with garlic. Stir-fry until well coated.
Nettle is a good salt substitute when dried.
Nettle Serving Suggestions
- Horsetail works well, adding a silica rich content.
- Red raspberry tastes delicious and adds minerals.
- A few sprigs of mint lifts the flavor and aids digestion.
- If the taste isn't suitable to you, try the time tested teaspoon of honey!
Nettle, Carrot and Apple Juice Recipe
Taking a daily nettle juice for 30 days is a great spring cleanse. You can juice it on its own in little shots or add fruits and vegetables. Blend together 1 bunch nettles, 4 carrots and 2 apples. Enjoy!
Green Nettle Smoothie Recipe
Nettles are great to add to smoothies, just snip some nettle tops directly into a jug and add the other ingredients.
Few handfuls of nettle leaves
2-3 cups of water
1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries (optional)
Blend and enjoy!
Orange Juice with Nettles
2 cups orange juice (pineapple is nice too)
1 cup fresh nettle leaves
Blend until fully broken down and drink. If you want to make more of a meal of it, add in a banana, mango, pear or apple.
Nettles remove curses and protect from evil. Used in purification baths cooked first.
Always wear gloves when harvesting nettle. The sting of nettle can be mitigated by rubbing the rash with leaves of yellow dock. The irritant is formic acid which is borne in hollow little hairs with swollen bases - boiling the plant eliminates the irritant. Infusions of the plant should be well strained. Mature leaves are coarse, bitter and mildly laxative.
Stinging nettle may affect the blood's ability to clot, and could interfere with blood-thinning drugs.
Best to avoid if you have high blood pressure.
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