Herbalist, Reiki, Bowen and Psychotherapy in Peterborough

Nettles – Published in The Link (May 09)

Spring Cleaning with Nettles?

Spring is a traditional time for ‘cleansing’. Although I am cautious with cleansing practices, I believe that eating seasonally helps to promote an internal spring cleaning of sorts.
We have many food options at the grocery stores, but long ago, the larder would be pretty empty by now. The first shoots to come up would not be overlooked. Interesting that those first foods, such as dandelion, asparagus and nettles are so good at clearing the liver and kidneys of unnecessary ‘debris’.
Known as Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica), this plant is considered a weed. Understanding how beneficial this plant is may change one’s view. Nettles have deep roots, which effectively extract minerals from the soil. High levels of calcium, potassium, silicon, iron and vitamins A, B’s, C, E, K, carotenoids and chlorophyll will give a boost to energy levels. Studies show Nettles to help people with arthritis, allergies and benign prostatic hyperplasia (roots). Traditionally, it is used to stimulate milk production during lactation (also improves milk nutrient levels) and to ‘purify’ the blood (by aiding the liver.)
The best way to use Nettles is as food or as an infusion. Using gloves, pick the young shoots of nettles before the stalks get woody. Use as you would any cooked green, in soup or quiche. Once the plant is cooked or dried, it looses the stinging quality. Pick the older plants before they seed, to use as infusions. In this case, use 2 large handfuls in 1 L of boiling water. Steep for 4-8 hours. Adding a little lemon while steeping will help to extract more minerals. 1-3 cups per day is a good dose.
Don’t let the sting of nettles scare you away from this nutrient rich plant friend. Nettles can help all year, but especially in the spring.

Written by:  Marianne Beacon, RH
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