USDA Hardiness Zone 3-10.
Every spring we have this obnoxious plant, Nettles, that takes over any of our tall grass. The kids are constantly warned – BE CAREFUL, this plant is itchy.
Constantly being on watch for Nettles, looking up ways to get rid of it, and weed whipping it as much as possible. This nuisance plant HAD to go.
Then I get into the DIY homeopathic world and I see recipes cooking with Nettles, or different health benefits of Nettles.
No way. Nettles poke through gloves and give your hand a rash. There is not a chance that people ingest this?! Who wants a rash on their digestive track?!
Until I read that cooking the plant ‘eliminates the stingers’.
First, I tested a tea for a facial astringent, but it was rancid pretty fast.
The next year I did some more research and came across this wonderful book from my mother, “Herbs for Your Health” by Steven Foster. A ton of useful information about not only Nettles, but a bunch of other herbs are outlined in this book.
I hope to share some of the benefits I discovered from not only this book, but other information that I have learned.
- Diuretic – chloride & urea output increases
- Blood Builder – high in iron
- Lessen Menstrual Flow
- Reduce Nosebleeds
- Diminish Hemorrhoids
- Improve Circulation
- Aids Chronic Skin Ailments
- May Help to Clear Acne/Eczema
- Improve Seasonal Allergies
- High in Potassium – can provide a boost of energy
- Promotes Hair & Nail Growth
- Nettles Root may Decrease Nighttime Urination
As one of my friend’s says, “Nettles cure all that ails ya.” 🙂
- Leaves or the roots may be dried and used in a tea, infusion, or decoction.
- The dried leaves may be put into a capsule, or tincture as well.
- A daily dose of no more than 1-2 TB dried leaf or 1 tsp of roots is recommended.
- Another great way to incorporate Nettles is by dehydrating the leaves and grinding them into a fine powder. Add the powder to smoothies, or other food. This dehydrator, ole trusty, works wonders for food preservation.
- In addition, mix Nettles powder with other edible leaves as sort of a ‘super-green’ smoothie mix. It provides fresh, unavailable nutrients to our family year-round.
- Fresh Nettles is a replacement for cooked spinach (or other cooked greens) in meals such as eggs and soup.
- As an astringent, just make in small batches and store in the fridge.
When collecting Nettles, use protective wear on skin as the fresh leaves and stalks could leave a stinging sensation on the skin for 1 to 12 hours.
Nettles grow wild in many places, but it is advised to be careful that where you forage is free of chemicals (i.e. ditches, parks). Consuming plants that may have been treated with chemicals can be dangerous.
Tea vs. Infusion.
Tea is steeped for a few minutes at a lower dosage. For a wider array of benefits, use an infusion recipe.
An infusion is a higher concentration of the herbs steeped for 4-6 hours (or overnight) for a more therapeutic version of the herbs.
Drink teas and infusions hot or cold, plain or mixed with other teas or beverages.
Use fresh or dried herbs for teas and infusions.
Nettles Infusion Recipe.
- 1 qt Mason Jar
- 1 oz Dried Nettle Leaves
- Boiling Water to Fill Mason Jar
- Place Nettles in jar, and fill the remainder of the jar with boiling water and cover. Let sit overnight or at least 4-6 hours.
- Strain the leaves from the infusion and take up to 1 cup (8oz) every day. Store in the refrigerator.
This infusion is not meant for the palate. If the taste deters you, feel free to add mint (or other aromatic flavored) leaves.
Nettles are NOT all that Bad.
Nettles are more than a nuisance plant.
Still avoid it if you have exposed skin, but also… enjoy the health benefits.
Many in-store ‘health products’ are expensive and make ‘being healthy’ appear as an expensive or unattainable lifestyle. That is not necessarily the case. The best ingredients for your health may be lurking in your backyard.
Please use mindful foraging practices. Be aware of the chemicals (if any) used in the area. Wash plants before consuming, and please, please, please properly identify anything you are looking to consume!
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,