Herb of the Week #7 :: Nettles

Hi Everyone! Happy February! Can you believe January’s already over? How’d all those New Year’s Resolutions/goals go this first month of 2017? I hope they all went amazingly and you are off to the best year ever! But, just in case you aren’t, cause it happens to a lot of us, just a reminder I put up blog post and a free PDF worksheet last week on getting out of those patterns that aren’t serving us anymore and accomplishing out goals.

This past month something I have been working on is a better, healthier daily routine. Being a nutritionist can be a lonely job, even though I have a private office surrounded by wonderful women, and work a few days a week in an Apothecary, I do a lot of working from home.and it can be lonely, to say the least. I found myself working in front of the television watching reruns of Seinfeld.  Plus I was waking up and immediately checking email and social media while I drank my coffee. I am still working on the right daily routine and giving myself time to experiment with different things along the way. One thing I actually always do is brew a quart of tea for the day and drink that after my one (ok maybe sometimes 2 cups of coffee). And This weeks’ herb is a must-have in my and really anyone’s daily routine: Nettles

 nettles

Botanical Latin Name: Urtica dioica

Botanical Family: Urticaceae (Nettle) family

Parts used: leaves and stems

Method: Tea, Tincture, food

Actions: Alterative, antiseptic, astringent, alkalizing, diuretic, expectorant, antihistamine, nutritive, hypotensive, galactagogue, hemostatic, urinary tract tonic

Energetics: Drying, stimulating, damp stagnation

Taste: Green, nutritious tasting, resembling spinach, salty, sweet, bitter, earthy

Dosage: For tea, infuse 1 tbsp dried herb to 8 oz water for tea for 10-15 minutes, up to 3-4 cups a day and/or in tincture form, 30-60 drops 1-4 times daily

Contraindications: Caution when pregnant with larger doses of nettles. However, decocted tea is good for pregnancy in small quantities for the mineral content, especially iron. In general, avoid handling the raw plant as it can be irritating. In larger quantities it can be too drying and in some rare cases cause headaches or constipation. If this is the case, nettles can still be used, simply combine it with a moistening herb like violet, licorice or marshmallow.

While I was researching this herb I found that a lot of world-renown herbalists rave about nettles year-round as a superior tonic, it’s even a famous Chinese “long-life” herb. If used daily it can pretty much replace your multivitamin/mineral since it’s rich in iron, calcium, potassium, silicon, manganese, magnesium, zinc, chromium, vitamin A, B, C, and more. It is also high in protein (mostly when consumed as food) and helpful in nearly every protein pathways, including digestion, immune response, liver metabolism, skin reactions and kidney elimination. Nettles is high in the antioxidant chlorophyll and is therefore great for detoxification, oxygenating the blood and eliminating heavy metals from the body. The high nutrient content plus serotonin content is known to soothe frayed nerves and surround tissue.

In the book The Herbal Apothecary, Dr. JJ Pursell says “it seems to take from waste all that is valuable and turn it into healing gold.” Nettles is regarded as safe for all ages and helpful in almost every situation (unless it’s picked fresh without gloves, then you will quickly learn why it’s other name is “stinging” nettles). It is a great long-term treatment for any illness.

Nettles is great for the blood, kidneys, liver, lungs and fluids in the body. It builds and nourishes the blood, and is therefore great for those who are anemic, even children. Because of its high vitamins and minerals content it nourishes the body and can help regulate their menstrual cycle as well as improve just about any function or condition in the body, as well as breastfeeding mothers. Additionally, they are great for supporting the thyroid, especially in subclinical hypothyroidism.

With all that Nettles does it is no surprise that it’s also anti-inflammatory and can help with allergies. The quercetin in the nettles helps stop the mast cells from releasing histamine, while the sterols and lectins stimulate the T-cells and increase the immune response. The anti-inflammatory properties are also great for those with pain and arthritis. And even the stinging of the fresh nettles, though irritating at first, it increases blood flow to the area and actually helps to reduce inflammation and speed healing.

Well-known herbalist, David Hoffman says, “when in doubt give Nettles”.

Uses for Nettles:

  • Daily multi-vitamin and multi-mineral
  • Promotes vitality and energy
  • Activates metabolism
  • Strengthens and tones the entire body
  • Allergies, hay fever, asthma, edema
  • Inflammation and pain
  • Sharp shooting pain and sciatica
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Prostate hyperplasia
  • Stimulate hair growth
  • Regulate menstruation
  • Symptoms from PMS or menopause
  • Strengthens weak kidneys
  • Liver function
  • Drying to mucus
  • Reduces sensations of itching and heat
  • Eliminates uric acid (good for gout)
  • Helpful for symptoms that worsen in cold or moist air, water and touch
  • Electrolytes and leg cramps
  • Hypothyroidism, and subclinical hypothyroidism
  • Spring tonic and rejuvenator
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Fatigue, yawning
  • Mouth sores
  • Bronchitis
  • Diarrhea or mucus in stools
  • Nervous eczema
  • Improves urine flow and reduces frequency
  • Bone health
  • Reduce water retention in pregnancy (in small does)

How to use nettles:

  • Tea can be used daily, 1-3 cups. Infuse 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of herb to 8 oz of water, steep for 8-12 minutes.
  • Tincture use up to 2 droppers full (60 drops) 1-3 times daily for best results.
  • Food – nettle leaves make a great substitute for spinach in nearly any recipe, like soups, scrambles, stir-frys or on toast with feta and olive oil. Note, they must be well steamed first, they will sting if undercooked. Nettle roots can also be cooked and eaten.

Here is my recipe for a high- calcium tea that is anti-inflammatory, soothing and nourishing to the nerves and the whole body.

2 parts nettles

2 parts horsetail

2 parts milky oats or oatstraw

1 part peppermint or spearmint

Combine all herbs. Infuse 1 tablespoon dried herb mixture per 8 oz cup of hot water for 15-60 minutes. Drink 3-4 cups daily. For optimal outcome use for approximately 3-4 months or longer.

I also have a great recipe for pickled nettles. Have you ever had them? I’ll eat just about anything that’s pickled…Yum!

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