Let me set the scene for you…..I had recently ripped up a weed mat out of the garden bed as it was all torn and not doing a whole lot. Just a few very short days later I discover nettles growing up in place of the mat.

Ohhhh, I exclaim, nettles – I know these are super awesome for you with tons of incredible benefits…. that’s where the rational thought process stopped.

Thought 1: last time I came across nettles I was just a kid. When you are little everything seems much bigger. Even the sting of nettles. Right? Sooooo in theory it wont sting as much now I’m an adult…..Right?

Thought 2: Hmm, they’re only very young plants, they wont sting very much. Right??

Thought 3: Let…me….just….reeeeach in there……YEEOOOOOWWWWW!

Ok , I should start off with….if you come across nettle in your garden, please don’t just assume you were some kind of wimp or girl’s blouse as a child. YOU WERENT! It stings and burns and welts…. and I mean really burns and stings.

**Wooly Mates Hot Tip Working with Nettle: Always…no seriously, always wear gloves!**

So, now you know what sort of a goose I am……silly me, lets get on to the good stuff – using Nettles for your health. Yippee.

I grabbed a couple of handfuls of the plants (with a gloved hand) and raced them inside, chopped them up and popped them into water to simmer away.

I’m making nettle tea. Ohhh Ahhh

Nettle tea

1. Energy and Clarity

The first cup of tea I had, had been under circumstances where I really wanted to curl up in bed and sleep for a week. The kids aren’t sleeping well – night terrors in one, and growing pains in legs in the other. So sleep is incredibly elusive at the moment, and I’m appropriately walking around like a zombie.
However, after a cup of nettle tea….I experienced an enormous amount of clarity in my mind. And energy! It wasn’t a “buzzy” sort of energy, but it simply felt like I had just woken from a fabulous, full night’s sleep. I didn’t fall in a heap hours later or anything like that, it truly was a lovely  day. Really productive, due to the clarity of mind I had. The benefits of Stinging Nettle truly wowed me in this one cup of tea.

2. Hair Tonic

Nettle has long been used in folk medicines and treatments and one of the more common treatments is for hair growth. Ingesting nettle helps. And using a tonic topically on your hair can stimulate hair growth – excellent if you are trying to grow out that awful haircut ;-).

I also put some in a spray bottle and used it as an anti-dandruff spray. Apparently you rinse it out, but I didn’t and had no ill-effect. I had great effect – dandruff and dry skin gone.
It can also help restore your hair to original colour….ok, I’m still waiting for this one to cover up my…errm…’blonde’ hairs???

3. Skin Clarifyer

Nettle also has a long history in caring for the skin. When you ingest Nettle Tea regularly, it aids in the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. this in turn promotes healthy skin renewal. It also excels in helping sufferers of eczema, psoriasis and acne. While additionally, leaving you with a clarity of skin and lovely shiny hair – all due to the excellent oxygen carrying benefits of Nettle Tea.
If made up as an astringent it can shrink and tighten the top layers of skin or mucous membranes, thereby reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving firmness of the tissue/skin.

woolymates simmering nettle

4. Female Aids

Stinging Nettle is naturally high in iron making it excellent for combating anemia and fatigue. It also supports the liver and the female hormonal system. Pregnant women benefit from stinging nettle as it protects against bleeding and strengthens the foetus. Also known as a galactagogue, it promotes milk production in nursing mothers. Stinging nettles reduces PMS symptoms, processes estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms and curbs excess menstrual flow. It’s often used in herbal tonics to remove fibroids and also to help regulate the menstrual flow.

I personally drank nettle tea for the benefits of a galactagogue, and I had no issues whatsoever with milk production for my first or second son. Now this could have been genes, good luck or anything, ultimately we will never know. But I do recommend trying it (under the guidance of a naturopath or herbalist) as I can vouch from my own experiences that it worked.

5. Digestive Aid

Nettle leaf is effective at reducing symptoms of the digestive tract ranging from acid reflux, nausea, excess gas, colitis and Celiac disease. Additionally, it’s medicinal action on mucous membranes makes it an effective herbal treatment for sore throats, nose bleeds and mouth sores and ulcers.

6. Allergy Treatment

When allergies arise, a Nettle infusion (a strong tea) can make an enormous difference. And if this remedy is for children, or even yourself, simply add some orange juice to sweeten the infusion to make it more palatable. Citrus goes especially well with Nettle Tea. In mere minutes, a dreadful allergy/hayfever experience can be moderated and reduced with a cup of Nettle and Juice.

Freshly stinging nettles in bowl ready for cooking

7. Weight Loss

Drinking nettle tea can reduce your appetite, as it cleanses the body of toxins, making it an ideal tool for weight loss. Regular drinking nettle tea soothes sore muscles. Nettle tea reduces and normalises the level of sugars in the blood.

8. Arthritis

Stinging Nettle leaves can be used to treat painful symptoms of arthritis, gout, rheumatism, and even soft tissue conditions such as fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Some patients with Lupus and other auto-immune disorders suffering from joint pain experience relief from drinking a cup of nettle tea or eating stewed nettle leaves daily. Its diuretic action alkalizes and releases uric acid from the joints of gout patients which results in eliminating pain.

9. Reducing Joint and Muscle Pain

If you ingest any products made from nettle’s aerial parts (aka nettle leaf tea or even dried capsules) it may interfere with the body’s production of prostaglandins and other inflammation-causing chemicals. Consequently, this means that nettle may in fact have an anti-inflammatory effect. Chemicals in nettle’s aerial parts are also thought to reduce the feeling of pain or interfere with the way that nerves send pain signals. All of these effects may reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis and other similar conditions. It is often used as treatment for rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis.

 10. Wound Care

Fresh nettle can be pressed against bleeding wounds and, because of the high vitamin K content, it will help to stop the bleeding. Always be sure to bruise the leaves before using them to allow them to release more vitamin K. (not sure how to stop the stinging on this one, though…unless you simmer the leaves beforehand, to remove the stinging hairs and then use)

Oddly enough, however, when stinging nettle is dried the vitamin k content is almost zero and in dried form stinging nettle can be used as a blood thinner.

Other Uses for Nettles

    • You can use nettles as a compost activator, speeding up the metabolic process so it “cooks” faster
    • Adding some cooked nettles to chicken feed increases egg production from your flock
    • Nettles also increases milk production when fed to your milk cows
    • Fed to any of your animals, it will nourish their fur, feathers, or coat

 

Necessary internet disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training – I’m just sharing what worked for me. Because stinging nettles can produce side effects and interact with other drugs and natural treatments, consult your healthcare practitioner before using it. Use this product at your own risk.