May 18, 2011

Herb walk: Stinging NETTLE

It does seem strange to me how a plant who will sting you in the wild if you touch it can be SO good for you! And Stinging Nettle is.

The California School of Herbal Studies says that Nettle is one of the highest sources of plant digestable Iron. It is also very high in Folic acid. For these reasons alone, pregnant, lactating and menstruating womyn should drink the tea.
It also contains chlorophyll, amino acids, vitamins A, B(complex), C, K, E, Calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and a lot of others!

The huge amount of vitamin K in a nettle infusion makes it very important for pregnant womyn when approaching birth to help avoid hemorrhage which can be caused by insufficient vitamin K in the blood.

It can be taken as tea, or cooked and eaten like spinach - in any recipe that you would use spinach in! It is really quite tasty and very good for you. Pinch off the tender tops -this pruning encourages production of more young growth.

After harvesting, either cook, infuse or dry the herb for later use.  Once the herb is dried or cooked, its "stinging" effect is gone.

I guess that kind of goes without saying!

Nettles, oddly enough, can cure the rash they cause! "Just rub fresh nettles between gloved hands and then rub the crushed nettles on the irritated area."

I was very pleased to find a nettle patch in the wild prairie! I was looking for nettle and the first place I stopped - there it was. I was so greatful.
Nettle growth is an indication of healthy soil.
It grows near water sometimes (that is where I found it this time) but not always. good luck finding your patch!

a lot of the content of this post is found in "Discovering Wild Plants" by Janice Schofield
I can not say enough about this book. It is my Bible!! It is meant for Alaska, Western Canada and the Northwest but here in Saskatchewan I find it very useful still. She is a hugely knowledgeable herbalist and has all sorts of interesting ideas for eating plants.

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