Nettle weed (Urtica dioica) has a bad rap because of it's ability to cause a miserable itchy rash when touched but did you know it also has more protien than any other vegetable?
Stinging nettle has many benefits due to the plant's very high levels of minerals, especially, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silica, iodine, silicon, sodium, and sulfur. They also contain chlorophyll and tannins, and nettle plants are a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and B complex vitamins. Nettles also have high levels of easily absorbable amino acids. It also contains histamine which makes it a great remedy for hayfever.
Stinging nettle is a herbaceous perennial, growing 3 to 7 ft tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. This nutritious plant can be found on nearly every continent! Some of it's other names include Nettle leaf, Common Nettle, Net Plant, Devil's Leaf, Great Stinging Nettle and Dwarf Nettle.
BENEFITS OF NETTLE TEA (INFUSIONS)
Once nettle weed is dried or cooked it loses it's stinging factor and becomes not only a nourishing vegetable but a blood purifying spring tonic. Some of the medicinal benefits include:
HOW TO USE STINGING NETTLE
MAKE AN INFUSION - This is the best way to get all the benefits of nettle tea. An infusion is a large amount of herb steeped for 4 to 10 hours. Learn to make a nettle infusion here. If you want all day energy replace your coffee with this!
Nettle infusions should be drank within a couple days but if you have any left over use it as a hair rinse. It's a great tonic for both the hair and scalp!
MAKE A TINCTURE - Many herbalists believe that a nettle extract is not as beneficial as the infusion but a tincture is easy and convenient.
CAPSULES - Again not as effective as an infusion but capsules are available at health food stores.
NETTLE COMPRESS OR POULTICE - Soak a pad in the tincture and apply to painful joints, gout, sprains, tendinitis, etc. You can also use the dried plant to make a nettle poultice.
COOKING WITH NETTLE - When nettle is cooked it tastes alot like spinach so it can be used in any recipe that calls for spinach. It can be steamed or boiled in the same way. If your harvesting fresh plants use only the young shoots that occur before flowering. Don't forget the gloves! Dried nettle weed can be used in anything. I've used it in soups, stews, chili and even lasagna!
STINGING NETTLE REMEDY
Should you accidently get stung by the nettle plant you can use jewelweed to stop the itch just as you do for poison ivy. More plants that help remedy the sting are plantain, dock or yarrow. Simply crush up the leaves and rub on affected area.
NETTLE FOR PETS
While drinking a cold nettle infusion one day my very finicky cat (who will not even touch canned tuna) expressed an interest in the smell coming from my cup. Curious, I poured some in her dish and much to my amazement she lapped it up very quickly! I now share a couple tablespoons with her whenever I drink a cup. Maybe it's the chlorophyll or maybe the vitamins and minerals she craves but I know it must be good for her. I've since discovered she also enjoys a spot of chamomile tea now and then!
Have you tried a nettle infusion or have a great nettle weed recipe?
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Buy your dried stinging nettle or nettle extract here!