16.04.2014 19:00

No Fear Of Nettles...

Beautiful Gift of Nature - Stinging Nettles

Beautiful Gift of Nature - Stinging Nettles

Now it appears again everywhere on rich, moist places, the Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica). Although it is widely despised as irritating weed, it is one of the most nutritious and wholesome wild herbs in our latitudes. It earned it´s bad reputation from the stinging hairs, which are located on the stem and on the underside of the leaves and are filled with formic acid. On contact, they break and can cause a painful rash on the skin. This however can very easily be avoided by wearing gloves when harvesting. You can also  just leave the nettles after picking for a while or put them into a tea towel and roll with a rolling pin over them. Like this, the sting disappears and the tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads.

Nettles are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and also in easily usable protein, fat, vitamins C, A, K and E and chlorophyll. The seeds contain the valuable linoleic acid.

Nettles are a wonderful spring tonic. With their blood cleansing, purifying and detoxifying action, they help the body to eliminate waste and toxins that have accumulated over the winter. Therefore, now is the perfect time to enjoy this wonderful purifying plant regularly.

In herbal medicine, the nettle among others, is used for treating gout, rheumatism, anemia, fatigue, skin problems, hay fever, allergies, menstrual problems, kidney disease and is applied externally for burns, sensitive scalp, dandruff and greasy  hair.

I personally love fresh nettles in green smoothies, marinated in salads and soups, and as a tea. For a "lunar infusion“, I place fresh nettles in a tall jar, pour warm water over them and leave them all night under the moon to steep. The next morning I strain it and enjoy  the dark, nutritious tea.

I also like to prepare a "Green Powder". For this I pick fresh spring herbs such as nettles, ground elder, ground ivy, plantain, dandelion, lady's mantle, leaves of red and white clover, lemon balm, raspberry leaves, yarrow, chickweed, cleavers .... and gently dry them overnight at 30° C in the dehydrator. Then I place all dried herbs in the Vitamix or another powerful blender and grind them into a fine powder. This "Green Powder" is wonderful for travelling or later in fall and winter for making green smoothies, which radiate with the energy of spring herbs! It is best to keep it in a dark glass container.

Here you can find the recipe for delicous and nourishing Marinated Nettles: