Stinging nettles are one of the best plants for human health and can be used as a great source for food and medicine. This delicious perennial is very high in vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium. A vessel of minerals and vitamins jam packed into one plant. For those of you who suffer from seasonal allergies (along with your pet dog) can greatly benefit from using nettles. Some herbalist theorize that the presence of plant histamines and histamine – like compounds in nettle might interfere with the release of histamines produced by the body, and help with relieving the itching, sneezing and watery discharge that comes with pollen each spring.
Some other well-known uses:
- Strengthens the kidneys
- Heals damaged tissue areas
- Supports the body and balances the adrenal system, immune, digestive, circulatory, endocrine and nervous system
- Used to help reduce symptoms caused by hay fever
- Rinse for skin and scalp (healthy shiny hair)
Before You Get Started: This plant causes an immediate contact dermatitis if handled without gloves and proper clothing. The leaves and stems must be thoroughly dried or cooked before eating. Stinging Nettles do sting/burn and need to be processed to rid them of their stinging hairs. Use gloves or just dump into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes and the stinging hairs will disintegrate. Freezing will also make the hairs fall off.
How to Make Nettle Tea
Infuse nettles in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Drink as often as you like hot or made into an iced tea. You can add maple syrup or honey to your batch for a little sweetness.
For more practical inspiration, check out these 8 Recipes for Stinging Nettles from The Kitchn.
Information excerpted from the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative.