Nettle grows throughout the temperate regions of Europe and Asia. This stinging herb is an all-too-familiar weed that thrives in the rich soil of cultivated land. The “sting” is a consequence of hairs on the plant that contain histamine and formic acid. People say that nettles rob the soil of its minerals and vitamins by absorbing them and concentrating them in its leaves, so turning highly nutritious.
Parts used: Aerial parts, root.
Main constituents: Amines (histamine, acetylcholine, choline, serotonin), flavonoids, formic acid, glucoquinones, minerals (including silica and iron), vitamins A, B, and C, tannins.
Effect: Astringent, antiscorbutic, anti-allergenic, alterative, arubefacient, circulatory stimulant, diuretic, galactogogue, hemostatic, hypotensive, nutritive, tonic.
HOW TO USE
Juice: Process the whole fresh plant in a food processor or blender to get juice. Take in 2 teaspoon (10ml) doses 3 times a day as a tonic for anemia and debilitated conditions.
Infusion: Make an infusion of 1 cup boiled water over 1-3 teaspoons herb. Drink 1 cup 3 times a day as part of a cleansing regime in rheumatism, arthritis, eczema, and gout, or use as a final hair rinse for dandruff.
Cream/ointment: Use for minor scrapes and cuts, eczema, skin rashes, and hemorrhoids.
Fresh leaves and stems: Lashing arthritic joints (urtication) is not very comfortable but traditional remedy with some recent studies showing its efficacy.
Compress: Use a pad soaked in a strong infusion or diluted tincture of leaves to ease pain in gout, arthritis, neuralgia, tendonitis, sprains, and sciatica.
Tincture: Take 40–80 drops (2–4ml) of the root tincture 3 times a day for allergic skin conditions and hay fever. Take 40–80 drops (2–4ml) of the root tincture 3 times a day for benign prostatic hypertrophy.
HOW TO GET
Grow: You don’t need to cultivate it, because it grows freely in the wild.
Forage: You’ll find it growing in hedges, shrubs, and waste areas.
Harvest: Collect aerial parts when in flower. Dig up roots in autumn, and gather young leaves in spring.
Caution: Don’t forget to use rubber gloves when harvesting the plant.