Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nettle: Nourishing Herbal Infusions (part 3)

(Urtica dioica)

Parts Used: young leaves – before the plant flowers

Taste: Salty

Properties: cool/dry, nutritive, kidney/adrenal trophorestorative, adaptogen, diuretic, astringent, hemostatic

Used for: arthritis, eczema, to increase metabolism, hypothyroid, weak hair/teeth/bones, fatigue, to increase lactation, build blood (increase iron levels), seasonal allergies, urinary tract infections, asthma, menstrual cramps


If you were going to choose just one nourishing infusion herb, you’d do well to choose nettle. Nettles are extremely nourishing and certainly one of our most nutrient dense foods. Its rich nutrients feeds our body with essential nutrients giving us more energy and increased vitality. 

Western herbalists reach for nettles for a wide variety of issues and, as David Hoffman says, “When in doubt, choose nettle.” 

According to Susun Weed, Nettle infusions are “recommended for those wanting to stabilize blood sugar, reset metabolic circuits to normalize weight, reduce fatigue and exhaustion, restore adrenal potency to lessen allergic and menopausal problems and eliminate chronic headaches.”

I love nettle for its incredible calcium content – up to 2,900 milligrams for each 100 grams. Unlike calcium supplements, the naturally occurring calcium found in nettle is easily absorbed by our bodies. Because it is high in calcium and other minerals like magnesium, drinking nettles regularly helps to strengthen hair, teeth and bones. 

Nettles helps to build blood in the body. I can’t tell you how many women who’ve reported to me that they were able to avoid iron supplements during pregnancy by drinking a daily infusion of nettles. It is also used for amenorrhea or lack of menstrual cycles. Regular nettle infusions helps decrease menstrual cramping, this is probably due to its high magnesium content. 

Besides beautiful hair and increased energy, another common “side effect” of drinking nettles regularly is a decrease in seasonal allergy symptoms. For best results start drinking a daily nettle infusion at least a month before the allergy season starts. 

Nettles strengthens the liver and supports the natural metabolic cleansing of our body. It is often used for signs of poor elimination in the body such as eczema or constipation. It is also used to strengthen the lungs and is beneficial for people with asthma or shortness of breath. 

Nettles are diuretic and they also seem to strengthen the urinary system in general. I often recommend daily nettle infusions for people who have recurring urinary tract infections. 

Special Considerations
Nettles are diuretic and therefore drying. If you tend to have dry skin, eyes, or other symptoms of dryness you may want to add a pinch of marshmallow root or slippery elm bark to your infusion. Nettles can also be somewhat cooling and for this reason some people put a slice or two of fresh ginger in their infusions. 

Keep it Simple
Nettle is a gentle and powerful herb that can be drunk daily for increased energy. Taken over a long period of time it is beneficial to the adrenals, urinary system, liver, arteries, hair, and skin. 

Where to get nettle leaf
Remember it's always best to get from a local source, either wildcrafting it yourself in an ethical manner or from a local herb farm or store. If you don't have access to either of those options then I highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. Using this link helps to support my blog. Thank you!

Want to explore other herbs to use for nourishing herbal infusions? 

I've got you covered! Click the links below to see other nourishing herbs.