Tea....anyone? The nettles here are verdant and bursting from the hedgerows. I've been tenderly havesting and drying a large batch of nettles for tea and other homeopathic/alchemical goodies.
I was reading through my well-worn copy of "The Way of Herbs" by Michael Tierra and re-discovered the versatility of the stinging nettle, also known as Urtica urens. I am definitely looking forward to exploring its many uses. I have a pot of nettle tea on the stove now that smells incredibly like the scent of steamed, green beans.
Here is a list of ten ways to use stinging nettle: (when harvesting, remember to wear gloves)
- Harvest tender, young leaves and steam. The vegetable is tasty and nutritious.
- One ounce of herbs steeped in a pint of boiled water makes a tea good for asthma. Nettle tea is both an expectorant and an antispasmodic. Michael Tierra recommends taking the tea three to four times a day to see results.
- Nettle tea is an aid to the "assimilation of important minerals. Nettles are very rich in iron, silicon and potassium."
- Nettle powder sprinkled on a cut helps stop bleeding.
- Nettle juice can be rubbed into the scalp to promote hair growth.
- Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, stinging nettle tea has proven effective for treating urinary tract infections.
- Some people swear that nettle tea is an excellent blood purifier. It's an excellent drink that can help alleviate the symptoms of anemia.
- Nettle dye! A beautiful and natural way to add colour to yarn.
- Fibre taken from the stems of nettles can be used to make sturdy fabric and fishing nets.
- Diluted nettle juice or tea, used externally, can help exzema, rhematism and acne.
(With additional thanks to Peter Van Suijlekom, an alchemist I admire, for reminding me that, "This is the best time to harvest nettles. They shouldn't be too old but also not too young. And the moon is waning.")
There's potent energy in these much maligned plants. They may be humble, but they are definitely powerful!
If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of the book, "The Way of Herbs", please click on the link below: