Day 152/365 - On nettles

6/1/17

IMG_0115.JPG

I recently tried an overnight infusion of nettles (Urtica dioica) from a local herbalist’s garden, and was taken aback at the jolt of energy I got from it. In fact, I was a little jittery for a while. It turns out that nettle is so full of nourishing vitamins and minerals, that it can give you that extra boost if depleted. However, another person who drank the same infusion felt an overwhelming sense of calm, and even felt a bit sleepy. Often, herbs work in nonlinear patterns and give each person the medicine they require. In my case, it gave me some extra ‘oomph,’ while to the other person it gave the space to calm down and relax, perhaps because he’s ‘burning the candle at both ends.’

Nettles is also a rich source of protein, and ‘rules’ the proteins of the body - in hair, skin, nails, the brain, and urinary tract. It takes part in all of the process of protein and amino acids, building up keratin and neurotransmitters and waste products (urea in urine). People often wash their scalp with nettles to stimulate growth and revert to their natural hair color, with a spectrum of results. Other people use nettles topically on their skin to stimulate dead nerve endings, as in the case of bell’s palsy or other neurodegenerative conditions, or chronic back pain. Caution: nettles contain tiny stingers that inject histamine under the skin, which often cause benign rashes, but in some cases may cause hives as part of a hypersensitivity. You’ve been warned, test a small patch of skin first, say on your arm, to see if you are sensitive. Otherwise, wear gloves when handling fresh nettles. Dried or cooked nettles is fine to use for tea, or to ingest as a dish or an additive (as a powder for example). It’s quite delicious and nutritious sauted or in a stew!

Interestingly, nettles has also been used to treat allergies. Because the stingers contain histamine, the plant also carries antihistamines to help combat the allergic response - how awesome is nature?! Tinctures or teas of nettles have traditionally been used to treat the symptoms of seasonal and other types of allergies.

Finally, because it’s so nutritious, nettles has been used to treat anxiety. It nourishes the nervous system and the adrenals by providing all the minerals our bodies may be missing from our diets. Go nettles!