Stinging Nettle – Mother Nature’s Nourishing Herb

Learn all about the lore behind stinging nettle, as well as how to harvest it and use it in the information-packed article.

Introduction   

Stinging Nettle, also known as just Nettle, is one of the most nourishing and tonifying herbs on the planet, and yet, far too many people have never heard of it. In fact, like the amazing dandelion, stinging nettle is often misunderstood and slapped with the disgraceful label of “weed”.

Benefits of Nettle

Thanks to nettle’s incredible nourishing and tonifying capabilities, herbalists enjoy recommending it for a variety of ailments. It can be used for everything from everyday health to osteoporosis. With its high vitamin and mineral content, it is certainly a good herb to keep on hand.

Herbalists sometimes recommend nettle for:

  • Bladder infections
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Increasing lactation
  • Anemia
  • Increasing fertility
  • Gout
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Joint pain
  • Varicose Veins
  • Hemorrhage
  • Pregnancy health
  • Insect bites
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Fatigue & energy problems
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis (or other soft bone issues)
  • Sprains

The methods of using nettle will vary from ailment to ailment and herbalist preference, however, most herbalists will agree that most herbs should never be taken in a capsule form. Most encapsulated herbs have been packaged by the manufacturer with herbs that were improperly dried, or parts of the herb that are not very strong medicinally.

Nettle is often recommended by herbalists to be consumed by cooking the leaves fresh or by drinking an infusion made from the dried leaves. Occasionally an herbalist will recommend consuming nettle in a tea or tincture form, but these methods are not as popular as the previous two.

Nettle Benefits:

  • Uterine tonic
  • Whole body nourishing herb
  • Strengthens kidneys
  • Strengthens adrenals
  • High mineral content
  • Increases fertility in both men and women
  • High in iron and vitamin K

Stinging Nettle - Mother Nature's Nourishing Herb

Vitamin & Mineral Content Found in Nettle

Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Silicon, Copper, Sulphur, Chlorophyll

Harvesting Nettle from the Wild and the Garden          

The leaves are the primary part of the plant used when crafting herbal medicinal. To harvest the plant, just snap off a portion of the plant about midway. Be sure to leave about 1/3 to 1/2 have the plant (plus it’s root) still in the ground. Nettle will regrow if the root and part of the plant are left behind.

Occasionally the root is also used in herbal medicines, but this is not as common as using nettle leaves.

It is very important to remember to wear gloves when harvesting nettle, as it has

Garden Variety

Nettle can be grown quite easily in the garden. Do take care as to where you plant it, though, as the plant will eventually take over wherever you’ve set seed.

Nettle prefers rich soil that is slightly damp, so planting it near a pond or stream is idea if you want to grow a large quantity of nettle. This plant also enjoys rich sunlight, but will tolerate a partially shaded area.

It’s a fast-growing plant and only takes roughly 2-3 months from germination to harvest. Garden-variety nettle is harvested in the same manner as it would be in the wild.

Wild Variety

In the wild, harvest nettle by snapping the leaves off half-way down the stalk of the plant. Take care to leave a portion of the stalk, as well as the root, so that they plant can continue to grow. It is usually best to harvest the plant before it has gone to flower. Always wear gloves when harvesting nettle, as the hairs of the plant do like to bite.

Purchasing Nettle

If you’re not able to gather or grow your own nettle, one of my favorite places to order it from is Mountain Rose Herbs. They sell high-quality organic herbs that they gather using United Plant Savers‘ guidelines. You can order nettle leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs in quantities of  4oz. for $3.50, 8oz. for $6.26, and 1lb. for $11. You can purchase nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs here, but I will earn a small commission for the purchase, as they are an affiliate of mine. I only recommend them because I love their company and love the high-quality herbs that they sell.

Best Ways to Take Nettle

Fertility: Infusion

Bladder Infection: Tea/Infusion

Lactation: Tea/Infusion

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Infusion

Anemia: Fresh/Tea/Infusion

Stinging Nettle - Mother Nature's Nourishing Herb

Caution with Nettle  

There are no reported side effects having been reported from using nettle. It is considered a very safe herbal medicinal to use and is a popularly recommended herb by herbalists of the Folk, Native American, and Wise Woman traditions.

The only issue with nettle are the little hairs that sting, but the sting rarely lasts for more than a few hours. Some people with arthritis of the hands have actually reported the stinging hairs to have a relaxing quality for their arthritic pains.

As with any herb, do your own research before consuming nettle to see if it is right for you. It is also wise to consult with an herbalist or other medical professional before consuming an herb for use as medicine.

Nettle Side Effects:

There are no known side effects with nettle. Even the stings from the “hairs” on nettle don’t cause anything more that a slight stinging sensation from the area they touched for a few hours.

Final Thoughts on Nettle

Nettle is one of those herbs that everyone interested in natural medicines should have on hand. The vitamin and mineral content found within nettle alone should be enough to convince someone to keep a well-stocked supply of this amazing herb.

Since there are really no known side effects with nettle, it is generally considered a safe herb to use for long term use. I enjoy taking nettle infusions several times a week to use in treating my anemia, as well as for absorbing nettle’s high chlorophyll and vitamin content.

It is an amazing herb to use for adults and children alike. Try using nettle infusions for at least a month (in conjunction with other infusions in-between) and you will begin to notice that you have more energy, feel more rested, and will feel healthier than ever before.

Have you used nettle for medicinal purposes before? If so, what did you use it for and did it seem to help?

Consult with your primary health care professional before using Nettle to treat any of these issues. This information has not been reviewed by the FDA and should be used for educational purposes only. This article contains affiliate links.

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