Stinging Nettle – Underrated Super-food and Great Natural Remedy

Article by Kristine F.

Nettles sprout out of the ground already before anything else starts to green, so when I grew up almost the first sign of spring for me was my mom’s nettle soup. I loved it, despite the fact that harvesting baby nettles wasn’t the most fun task to do. Stinging nettle is one of these plants everyone wants to get rid of and nobody wants to touch. Touching it feels like insect bites and your skin gets itchy. Stinging nettle shows its power and strength as soon as you just touch it. It’s like a warning that you are dealing with something special, but if you know how to harvest and use it – it opens for you and offers great health benefits.

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a true super-food, which somehow seems to be underrated. It’s a great source of protein, contains vitamins A, B-6, C, D, E, K, zinc, iron and magnesium, and a lot more. If your body lacks vitamins, that’s not a bad idea to find this plant, harvest and eat it. It boosts immunity, supports kidneys and treats urinary problems, increases milk production in breastfeeding women and eases menstrual cramps, helps to treat common cold and inflammation, can ease nausea and allergic rhinitis, and cures fatigue and anemia due to its’ high iron content. The list here goes on, so let’s take a closer look at some specific issues to treat with nettle.

Stinging Nettle

Image by John Tann

Spring season avitaminosis and physical weakness

Use stinging nettle for spring detox and blood cleansing, and it will give you not just that but a lot more: it will pack you with vitamins your body needs and make you physically stronger. Due to these properties it’s not a wonder that nettle is used in many weight loss supplements as well. It not just helps to deal with water retention, but also gives your body the strength for workouts and physical work.

Dandruff and hair loss

For centuries stinging nettle has been used to strengthen hair and nowadays many hair products have nettle extracts inside as well. Washing or rinsing your hair with stinging nettle tea or using hair masks with nettle infused oil or other nettle extract stimulates scalp, the blood circulation in your head and improves your skin. Used as a conditioner it helps to get rid of dandruff, makes your hair stronger and stimulates hair growth. As the result you will get shiny, strong hair.

Hay fever and allergic rhinitis

As you know most of us get allergic reaction to touching fresh stinging nettles as it irritates skin. My mom always told me that if nettle “bites you”, you will get healthier. Well, I don’t know if that’s true (I suppose this statement is based on some old believes), but I’ve found that taking stinging nettle internally can reduce the amount of histamine that is produced by our bodies to respond to allergenic triggers. Probably some more scientific research is still required, but scientists say that stinging nettle actually can help to reduce allergic reactions of the body due to the anti-histamine in the stinging nettles.

Stinging Nettle

Image by Carly & Art

Harvesting green aboveground parts of stinging nettle is unpleasant with bare hands, but fast and easy if you use scissors and gloves.

There are many ways to use this natural remedy:  make nettle tea, add young nettles to soups and stews, put them in salad (pouring hot water over them before adding to salad to crush their stinging needles) and make nettle infusions for external use.

It’s a real super-food that we tend to exterminate in our gardens and yards, and later we spend money on less effective foods and vitamin supplements. It’s time to befriend nettles and use the power they give for free to everyone!

References

  1. Kassie Vance “Stinging Nettle”, Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Legacy, accessed April 26, 2014 http://www.herballegacy.com/Vance_Chemical.html
  2. Christina Sarich “29 Nettle Tea Benefits: Sipping on Nettle Tea for Better Health”, Conscious Life News, published July 29, 2013, accessed April 26, 2014 http://consciouslifenews.com/29-nettle-tea-benefits-sipping-nettle-tea-better-health/#
  3. Mother Earth News Staff “The Many Stinging Nettle Benefits”, Mother Earth News, published March/April 1981, accessed April 27, 2014 http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/stinging-nettle-benefits-zmaz81mazkin.aspx#axzz307DsasYI
  4. JD Bardot, „Stinging Nettle Health Benefits for Home Remedies that Treat Just About Everything”, Natural News, published June 6, 2012, accessed April 27, 2014 http://www.naturalnews.com/036080_stinging_nettles_remedies_arthritis.html
  5. Steven D. Ehrlich „Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide: Herbs: Stinging Nettle”, University of Maryland Medical Center, last updated May 7, 2013, accessed April 27, 2014  http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/stinging-nettle

Kristine F. is a full time writer/ghostwriter from North-Eastern Europe. Living in a climate that allows enjoying all 4 seasons, growing up at the countryside  and learning about herbs from her family, Kristine got passion for nature and natural remedies. Now she is living in a city trying to keep the life simple yet meaningful. To share her knowledge about natural remedies, DIY projects and personal discoveries about the power of nature and human brain, she has recently started a new blog: http://mugwortsdreams.blogspot.com/

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