Nettles are one of spring’s most enticing traditional herbs, and are also a delicious wild food. Nettles are an annual plant found in wooded areas and forests, in natural grasslands, along fertile fields and riverbanks, and along shaded trails. Nettles can be thought of as springtime’s green superfood, packed with minerals and vitamins.
Nettles are a great source for wildcrafting in terms of sustainability since they are a naturally spreading weed. If you have a nettle patch that you visit often or one growing in your garden, frequent harvests will ensure second growths, making it a viable plant all summer long.
When they are young they are full of fresh juicy goodness just waiting to be eaten!
Adding nettles into your wellness routine and diet not only gives you essential nutrients that your body needs but they support healthy tissue states and sinuses. Fresh nettle is always found on an herbalists’ lists when it comes to supporting healthy eyes, nose, lungs, and sinuses. Some favorite ways to use them include a fresh nettle tea, cold infusion if you can or fresh nettle juice!
Cooking with Nettles
Nettles are delicious in many spring recipes — from soups to salads, pizzas, and pastas. They are a great stand-in for greens like chard or spinach in certain recipes—soups, pastas and warm grain dishes, as well as treats like nettle tart or quiche.
– Harvest the top cluster of young nettles (the top 5” or so) as they are the most juicy. They are tender when young and easy to harvest!
– Wear […]
Most herbalists know of the nutritive value of nettles (Urtica species). We harvest them in spring and early summer, cook them in soup, or dry them to make dark, rich overnight infusions that replenish and revitalize. I was first introduced to nettles when I was young, at my grandmother’s house where they grew wild. Since then I’ve found them growing almost everywhere: on the rocky slopesides of Vermont’s Smuggler’s Notch, in the lowlands by the lakeside, all across Europe and North America. But nowhere have I seen nettles like Urtica massaica, the species that grows near water in the highlands of Tanzania
We are working at a local hospital, on the edge of the Serengeti just west of the Rift Valley. This is the land of the Maasai, who herd cattle all day, generally eat meat and some grains (no vegetables), and live in far-flung bomas far from modern healthcare. This is generally fine – but in some cases, such as after protracted childbirth or long-standing illness, members of the community arrive at the hospital with profound anemia. We have routinely seen hemoglobin levels of 4, 5, and 6 – normal being 12 or 13 – and while some are lucky enough to receive blood transfusions, this is the exception, rather than the rule. Their tongues are quite pale but we also see characteristic dark purple splotching in the more severe cases – often along the edges. In these situations, we really see that stinging nettles aren’t just a nutritive tonic: they deserve to be considered alongside all the “superfoods” […]
It’s pollen season. And if that doesn’t sound like good news to you, well, don’t get too disheartened yet. As experienced herbalists are happy to tell you, by supporting a healthy, balanced immune response and a well-functioning liver, it’s possible for everyone to bask in the joys abundant this time of year from a place of clarity and freshness. Our Aller-Blast formula is designed with this in mind and with the added benefit of also including herbs that have traditionally been used to support mucus membrane integrity for healthy eyes, nose, sinus, and respiratory tract.
To understand how herbs support us during this season, it is helpful to understand balanced immune function and how it relates to liver function. Every day, a healthy immune system is busy at work identifying any unhelpful trespassers in the bloodstream and responding appropriately to eliminate them. At the same time, a healthy liver is breaking down and removing byproducts of the body’s normal everyday processes (i.e. immune responses) and metabolizing other normal bodily exposures (i.e. dietary and environmental) so that they can leave our body via the bowels. While an underactive immune response leaves one vulnerable, an overactive immune response can create a hot storm of activity that the liver is left to clean up after. This sort of upkeep is part of the liver’s everyday job. Supporting its optimal function therefor helps maintain clean, smooth metabolism. With this process in good working order, metabolites leave the body rather than recirculate in the bloodstream and your immune system is left to function in peace.