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Secret Garden’s Featured Herb: Nettle

Secret Garden’s Featured Herb: Nettle

From time to time we will be featuring different herbs from the Secret Garden Herb Garden on our blog to spread the word about amazing herbs and how to incorporate them into your life.  

Thank you to our guest blogger, Kelly Stanley from our Secret Garden Herb Garden!

NettlesLatin name:
Urtica dioica

Parts used:
Leaves, roots, seeds

Nettles (a.k.a Stinging Nettles) are mostly known for their stinging qualities, and make their “sting” sensation very obvious. But you can relieve the discomfort of the sting by rubbing them with ice or the leaves of dock.

What most people don’t realize is that Nettles are one of our most valuable herbs. Here’s a list of some of it’s medicinal properties. Hopefully this helps inspire you to appreciate Nettles a bit more…

Leaf-
Circulatory stimulant – [helpful in treating arthritic conditions] Blood Tonic
Antiseptic
Astringent
Antidepressant
Gentle diuretic
Encourages the removal of toxins
Anti-allergic proporties [hay fever & skin rashes] Very high in Calcium, Magnesium, Protein & Chlorophyll
Safe and helpful during pregnancy, breast-feeding, menopause, & anemia

Nettle root-
may inhibit overgrowth of prostate tissue
improves the urinary symptoms associated with the prostate gland

Culinary-
The young leaves were once widely used in the spring diet to revitalize the body after winter. Use leaf tips from plants less than 10 cm high, as these have yet to develop the stinging compounds.

They can be cooked as a vegetable, in similar ways to spinach.

**Note: Older leaves are high in calcium oxalate and should not be eaten at all**

Nettle soup – earthly, delicious, and super nutritious
Wearing gloves, pick tender young tips in spring, before they flower. Wash well and remove tough stalks.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup rice
4 cups stock
500 g nettle tops, chopped

Heat oil in saucepan; cook onion 5 mins, until softened. Add rice, stock, and nettles. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until rice is tender. Puree soup in a blender and season to taste with salt, pepper, and other herbs and spice.  (I’ve made this with potatoes, carrots, coconut milk, yogurt….many variations can be done)

Serves about 4

 

 

Nettles are also a very durable organic fiber! After leaving the stems out in the sun to dry and soaking them in water, you get a very soft wool-like substance!

FUN FACT: The uniforms for Napoleon’s armada were made from nettles.

 

Nettles 2It’s important to know and respect the plants we are harvesting. Although older Nettle leaves should not be eaten, however, you do want the nettle plants to go to seed…

Here’s why…

Nettle seeds – have some overlap with those of the leaf, both being strengthening, mineral rich, great for skin and hair and for supporting the kidneys and urinary system.  Nettle seeds are adaptogens, which means they help with the general stress response. They strengthen the adrenals, and they’re loaded with minerals and trace elements.

Also useful for:
chronic exhaustion
adrenal fatigue
used to aid kidney function in both people and animals with degenerative conditions.

To be on the safe side, it’s best to take the dried seeds as they have a more gently restorative action and are energizing without being too stimulating. Wait until you see the clusters of seeds.

If you would like to grow your own Nettle patch or pick up some dried nettles please contact kelly@camphillkimberton.org or visit us at our Craft shop where the tea and other herbal products are sold!

 

 

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