When I think of spring, I think of Stinging Nettle. And, the thing I love most about Nettle, aside from the benefits I will expound upon below, is the mischievous way it has of creating more awareness. Believe me, if you are out in Nettle territory, and are not attentive to your surroundings, Nettle has a very intense and persuasive method of coaxing you into mindfulness!
Most people, however, love Stinging Nettle for other reasons. And, there are lots of them!
Nettle is chock full of nutrients
Considered a superfood in some circles, Stinging Nettle is rich in vitamins and minerals. Its impressive list includes vitamins A, C, D, E and K, as well as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, silicon, manganese, sulphur, molybdenum and vanadium. It is also rich in protein and dietary fiber. And, according to Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, it is one of best sources of digestible plant iron.
Nettle Seed is an Adrenal Adaptogen
A simple definition of an adaptogen, is an herb that helps your body deal with stress. Adaptogens accomplish this by nourishing and strengthening the HPA-axis (Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal). Most people who are familiar with Stinging Nettle use the leaf of the plant. However, the seed is also extremely medicinal and has an affinity for the adrenals. With the explosion of adrenal fatigue and exhaustion and other related conditions these days, Nettle Seed is just what the doctor ordered. Herbalist Kiva Rose recommends its use for those experiencing severe adrenal burnout and she also refers to Nettle's ability to restore and nourish the kidneys, even in cases of severe renal failure!
Nettle for Allergy Relief
Stinging Nettle can be a lifesaver for those with seasonal allergies! I find it most helpful for early spring allergies, but have seen it work miracles with just about any type of allergy. In fact, The National College of Naturopathic Medicine conducted several clinical studies on the effectiveness of freeze-dried nettle capsules for relief of allergies and hayfever with excellent results – 70% of the test group experienced significant relief. Nettle is most effective when taken before symptoms appear in early spring and continued throughout the allergy season, preventatively.
Nettle is an Outstanding Women's Herb
Few remedies surpass Nettle as a general female tonic. Native Americans used it as a pregnancy tonic as well as for post-partum hemorrhage. In fact, well known Herbalist, Michael Moore, stated that Nettle is second only to shepherd’s purse for stopping uterine bleeding. Not only is it useful during pregnancy, but with its reputation for promoting fertility, easing leg cramps and muscle spasms, reducing hemorrhoids, reducing water retention, correcting PMS symptoms, and especially for correcting excessive menstruation, Nettle can be of huge benefit for women of any age.
Nettle is a great addition to a spring Cleanse
With its affinity to the kidneys and adrenals, along with its impressive nutrient profile, Nettle is an optimal choice for gently cleansing your body in the spring and nourishing it at the same time. It has been used throughout history to support and strengthen the entire body in this way. Its diuretic and anti-inflammatory benefits contribute to the detoxifying effect, especially for those with arthritic or rheumatic complaints.
Right now, in my neck of the woods, Stinging Nettle is at the perfect stage of growth for harvesting. I love to dry Nettle so that I can use it in herbal teas all year, but perhaps my favorite way to prepare Nettle is to puree and freeze it. Then, whenever I am making pestos, sauces or soups, I can just pop a Nettle cube into the mix!
Do you use Stinging Nettle? What is your favorite way to use it? What benefits have you noticed?