Wonderful herb that can also be used in cooking as a super-nourishing cooked green. Nutritive, tonic, alterative, antiallergenic and antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, astringent, blood tonic, circulatory stimulating, decongestant, kidney tonic, uterine tonic, nervine, vermifuge (seed), endocrine tonic (seed).
Nettles are a wonderful nourishing and mineral-rich herb that support many of the body’s different systems. Nettles improve the body’s resistance to allergies, stimulate the circulatory system, reduce inflammation, support healthy blood clotting, and promote healing. It is a cleansing and energizing tonic herb whose leaves and roots tonify tissues, muscles, arteries, and skin and increase circulation to the skin’s surface. Nettle seeds are detoxifying and good for the endocrine system, and can help the body to expel parasitic worms (anthelmintic).
Nettles are also used in an two-thousand year old practice called “urtication,” in which the intentional stinging of oneself with the plant is used to cause a rush of blood to the affected area, reducing inflammation and causing temporary pain relief. Urtication can be helpful in relieving pain from arthritis, cold extremities, gout, lumbago, sciatica, chronic tendonitis, and multiple sclerosis. Nettles can be used topically in the treatment of dandruff, oily skin, hemorrhoids, vaginitis, and sunburn. A compress of nettles can be used for a variety of skin issues such as eczema, burns, insect bites, and rashes, and for inflammatory conditions like arthritic joints, gout, tendonitis, and varicose veins.
Nettles are extremely nutritive, more nutritive than spinach, and can be substituted for cooked greens (spinach, chard, beet greens) in recipes. Be sure to first deactivate the sting by cooking, pureeing, or drying and powdering the plant before consuming. Without deactivating the sting digestive disturbances and irritation of the mouth and lips can occur. Try steamed or braised with other vegetables or in soups.
Avoid touching Nettles with bare hands unless you’re brave! Touching Nettles can cause burning sensations and a rash, although it is not necessarily harmful to you.
The genus name of nettles, Urtica, is Latin for “I burn.” The name nettles was possibly derived from the Anglo-Saxon word, noedl, or “needle,” as a reference o the use of the plant as a textile fiber, or to their stinging hairs. Nettles maybe also refer to the Latin word nassa, or “net,” referring to the plant fibers’ use in fishing nets.
Mars, Brigitte. The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, 2007.