I had the opportunity to assist a client recently who has quite a lot of Common Nettle (Urticaria dioica) or commonly known as Stinging Nettle
The concern was that this particular client has a large property with a lot of stinging nettle that has taken over and they have small children, who kept getting themselves stung walking in the nettle patches. Also they had heard that nettle is very nutritious so they asked me to have a look and help them decide how to deal with it.
And they heard right! Common nettle is in fact a great source of nutrition, loaded with Vitamins A, D K, Iron, Calcium, magnesium and more.
If you have any access to Common Nettle, and you are sure it is not treated with chemicals, sprays, pesticides or anything unsafe, you can harvest this wonderfully nutritious and medicinal plant for many uses.
This Site gives a great description of uses for Nettle and how to harvest and prepare if for use. You will need to wear gloves when collecting your nettles because of the tiny hairs on the stems and underneath the leaves that can cause temporary burning and itching.
Once you have collected your nettles safely, you can wash them in cold water, dry them for tea, or cook them, similar to spinach.
Nettles have a great many uses medicinally as well and can make a great addition to your tea blends.
While Nettles are reported to alleviate the pain of arthritis, act as a diuretic and help with the symptoms of allergies, it also has been used to help with eczema and can help reduce a fever. Loaded with Silica, nettles is also good to help keep skin, hair and nails strong and healthy.
Note: Harvesting nettles after they have flowered or started to seed can cause a grittiness to the leaf and may cause irritation to the urinary tract.
** Caution** Common Nettle can cause blood thinning so if you are on any kind of medication for blood thinners do not consume this herb unless under the care of a physician.
** Please consult your doctor for any diagnosis or medical treatment**
Although during my schooling I saw some wild nettle growing during several herb walks, I had never seen nettle growing naturally before. I purchase another similar species of Nettle (Urtica Urens) dried root, for use in decoctions, that I make into teas tinctures, infused oils for salves etc. It’s a wonderful herb!
I jumped at the chance to see some Stinging Nettle up close and personal and even came home with several
welts bags of harvested plants to play with! Being an herbalist is the best job. Not only did I help my clients keep their littles safe from getting stung but I helped to teach them ways in which to use their gifts of nature for their health and wellness.
Hoping to harvest some of this wild nettle to eat, we found almost all of it had started forming buds, so even though the plant hasn’t actually started to flower I wanted to err on the side of caution and wait till next season to eat it. Disappointing because when that happens it makes the plant gritty and can be irritating to the urinary tract and kidneys. Being that I don’t want that, we only managed to pick a few tender shoots that had not started to flower so at least I can have a little sample of fresh wild nettle. Here are a couple great sites at describing how to harvest and prepare nettles for eating.
Now that I have collected and washed all my harvested nettles, tomorrow I will get them ready to bundle up and dry. Some I set aside to see if I can re-pot them to grow my own (in a pot!) I don’t want a yard full of stinging nettle like my poor client.