NETTLE (Urtica dioica)
Cooling and Stimulating.
Uplifting, energizing, and building.
Happy to report these herbal stinging friends are popping up all over the place in the PNW. I have been running the trails through Gazzam the last couple of weeks, and oh yes, the nettles are rising up, making their presence well known! But these are not to be feared nor disliked nor considered a weed. They are potent Spring medicine and I would like to share a little bit as to why. This plant is growing all around us, right now. We see it in our back yards, in the forest, along the roads in ditches, along our walks, and on the fields at school. In my school of teaching, this means it’s a plant that our bodies need the most, during this seasonal time. We are one with nature after all, right? And she gives us everything we need if we just pay attention. And many of you know at least one of the reasons why…allergies. But we will tap into that later.
Nettle leaves are a potent medicine.
The leaves are diuretic, meaning they help you urinate and rid of any water retention you may be having. This leads to their description as a seasonal, spring tonic; All of that potential winter stagnation and hardy foods we have been eating throughout these winter months, which were absolute necessary for a natural hibernation during cold weather, are ready to start flushing out, clearing the body for a more speedy metabolism and a bouncy spring step.
Nettles can help get that winter sludge moving.
This plant is also one of the most nutrient packed herbs. It is a mineralizing tea, high in protein, calcium, chlorophylls, nitrogen, magnesium, iron, etc. etc. If you really want to step it up, pair it with Red Clover, Oatstraw, or Alfalfa to really amp up your mineral intake. It is also alkalizes the body which partakes in its’ ability to clean the system and maintain an active digestive system, healthy blood stream, strong bones, just to name a few.
Because of its’ nutrient density, this tea is a great option for combating stress, recovering from an illness, osteoporosis and other achy, inflamed bone stuff. If we are deficient in our mineral counts, this can lead to all sorts of cascading effects, including a slow digestive system, which can lead to lack of adapting to stress and overall good mood.
Finally, to the subject that many of you walking through our doors are seeking help about, ALLERGIES! Yeck! We love Spring, but not stuffy, itchy faces.
Nettle is a natural anti-histamine
Nettle goes after mast cells, which are the cells that release histamine when under attack. And while we appreciate our bodies’ defense mechanisms, suffering through the symptoms of allergies is just not something we want to endure and is just not necessary. High doses of nettle can help with that. While it is better to start the nettle intake before the allergies come on, at any point along the path of allergy systems, nettles can be helpful.
The first option is to,
MAKE A TEA!
Cooking (in hot water) or pre-dried leaves, will eliminate the stinging part of nettles. If you feel inspired to go out and collect on your own, here are a few pointers.
Only take the first upper 3rd or 4th of the plant.
Only take 10% of the stand.
Pack in mason jar, pour hot water, sit for 2 hours and strain!
For dried you can do 1 tablespoon per cup of water.
OR for real medicinal benefits.
1 ounce of herb per quart sized mason jar.
Drink 1 cup, 3 times a day.
We have plenty of dried nettles at Willowtree Market if you would like to start incorporating tea into your remedy.
Or come in to see what else you could pack into your tea to really support your body for any of these reasons; allergies, energy and nutrient building, and stress support.
Capsules can be so helpful because they are condensed versions of nettle plant medicine. They are also easy to take, when tea is not a timely option.
Same goes for tinctures as capsules. It is a quick mode of transportation to get nettles into your system without having to swallow “another pill.”
Much love to you in this time of a beautiful season where plants are popping up all around us and teaching us ancient ways of herbal medicine.
Come in and see us at the store! I always love talking about herbs and natural medicine and hearing your stories!