Stinging Nettle - A Nutritive Powerhouse for Spring Allergies
One of my favorite tonic herbs is Stinging Nettle. The Latin Name of this magical plant is Urtica dioica and it belongs to the Urticaceae family.
Interestingly, belonging to such a unique family helps Nettle be an incredible aid for allergies of all types, as it is much less common for people to be allergic to this plant than others of, say, the Asteraceae family. Add in that Urtica dioica is astringent, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic (it contains antihistamines) and this plant is a great remedy for Hay Fever, Asthma, itchy skin conditions and insect bites, as well as other allergies of all kinds.
Nettle is a perennial plant and Spring volunteer that can grow up to 5 feet in height. It has poky stems and poky-looking leaves and grows tiny white flowers each year after it sprouts. A great herb to gather when it pops up in the Spring, the aerial parts are eaten and used as a tonic, nutritive herb and vegetable (like a zingy salad green).
Considered a weed by many, this herb is incredibly medicinal.
Common Uses for Utica Dioica
Urtica dioica also helps prevent hemorrhaging, helps slow bleeding and also eases heavy menstrual bleeding. It can even help reduce prostate enlargement.
Nettle is frequently used for urinary issues of all kinds and can even help break down Kidney Stones. It also helps with Arthritis and Gout, and is generally a cleansing and detoxifying herb that helps the body release excess waste (through making you pee), which can relieve inflammation all across the body. It is also used for skin conditions for this same reason.
Nettle is a great tonic for fatigue as it is full of lots of minerals and vitamins. Full of nourishing minerals, Nettle is used to tone and strengthen many of the body's systems, especially when taken over a period of time.
How to Prepare Nettle
One of my favorite ways to prepare Nettle is by leaving it to steep as an overnight infusion. It is great with many other nutritive herbs, including Cleavers, Dandelion Leaf, Raspberry Leaf, Oatstraw, Red Clover, and so many more. Simply pour boiling water over a quart jar full of your herbs of choice, cover it, and leave it to steep overnight.
If you’re looking for a fun and tasty way to incorporate Urtica dioica into your diet, my classmate Kaitlyn, a professional chef, wrote this delicious recipe for Mustard Pickled Nettle:
Always listen to your body and if trying Nettles causes any adverse reactions, stop taking the herb immediately. This herb is also strongly diuretic and will make you pee more than usual.
I am a student at Artemisia Academy, and in class we learn to form intuitive relationships with the herbs as we get to know them. If you have never tried Nettles before, start slowly and listen to your body. Sometimes, it’s best to start with just one herb, see how it feels, and then add it into combinations with other herbs you know you like. And always stop taking an herb if you don’t like how it makes you feel! Your body knows best and not every herb is good for everyone.
Herbal Apprentice Program
If you want to learn more about our herbal allies and how to work with them to be a healed healer, check out Artemisia Academy’s Herbal Apprentice Program. I recently completed this program and learned so much about Nettle and dozens of other herbs, as well as how to make medicines and form intuitive and reciprocal relationships with the plants we work with.