NETTLE - a Weed or a Multivalent Herb?

Nettle is associated by most with a stinging weed that grows almost everywhere and as soon as it appears in our gardens, we exterminate it. I remember going to my great-grandmother's on vacation and together with my cousins, we would gather it for the animals . . . but my dear great-grandmother didn't explain why.

Here I will try to include all the information about this plant that I have found.


 

Common nettle (urtica dioica l.), which grows almost all over the world (probably with the exception of tropical countries). It is found in the wild in Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America. This nettle has long been used in folk and religious rituals and had its own symbolism.
 

Both the leaves 🌿 and the root of nettles are used (the root is dug up in early spring or autumn), as well as the juice of fresh nettle stems. This plant has numerous medicinal properties; there are several vitamins and mineral elements in it.
 

Nettle has long been a valuable food plant for animals due to its high amount of digestible protein. Now I know why we were sent to harvest these nettles for animals 😉This plant is not only used as animal food, but also works well in cosmetics, herbal medicine, pharmacotherapy and also in cooking. Nettle also provides fibre, dye (natural dye E140- and is used in horticulture as a natural fertilizer for aphids).


 

AND WHAT DOES HISTORY SAY ABOUT NETTLES?

Hippocrates in ancient times already wrote about the medicinal properties of nettle. In ancient times they already knew that nettle has the ability to stop bleeding 🩸, it was considered to be an APHRODISIAC, it was used as a remedy for poisoning and surprisingly burns. Nettle juice with added sugar was helpful for jaundice, asthma, tuberculosis, upper respiratory problems, and colic. For urinary tract problems, it was used, among others, by Nicolaus Copernicus, in ancient times and in folk medicine also for rheumatism problems (whipping with nettles), skin problems and hair care. Nettle was also used to treat cholera. In Russia and Africa, the nettle was used for oedema and diarrhoea. In the 19th century, the plant was forgotten and treated only as food for the poor. Then it returned to favour in times of crisis (e.g. during the world wars). In the twentieth century, nettle once again gained popularity with the development of knowledge about it.


 

AND WHAT DOES THIS PLANT CONTAIN THAT MAKES IT SO WIDELY USED?

Nettle provides us with vitamins such as: vitamin A, K, C and some vitamins of B group. This herb also has other nutritional substances such as tannins, amines, organic acids (e.g. pantothenic), serotonin, flavonoids, chlorophylls and many others and mineral elements such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, silicon, iodine, sodium, cobalt, zinc, chlorine, manganese, sulphur, and copper. Deficiencies of elements in our body can lead to serious diseases, and even death, if we allow ourselves to completely flush them out of our body. Some of the elements can be analysed by means of a hair analysis. You can find more details in my blog post about Elemental Hair Analysis.


 

Because nettle is so rich in various nutrients, it has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and detoxifying properties.

PROSTATE DISEASESrelieves the symptoms of prostatic hypertrophy, because it has a diuretic effect. Compounds contained in nettle improve the process of urination in men with prostatic hypertrophy, also reduces pain that occurs during urination.


 

INFLAMMATION OF THE URINE SYSTEMthanks to its diuretic properties, it reduces the volume of the stored urine in the bladder and reduces painful urination. Due to the fact that it accelerates the excretion of urine, bacteria are more easily eliminated and mineral substances are excreted, thanks to which kidney stones do not accumulate; therefore, nettle preparations are recommended for kidney stones and oedemas.

 

DIABETESnettle lowers blood sugar levels. Research proves that nettle extract influences insulin secretion levels, therefore it is recommended to use nettle infusion in diabetes.

 

CHOLESTEROLstudies show that nettle preparations help lower cholesterol. ⬇

 

RHEUMATIC, ARTHRITIC PAINS, Nettle extracts have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, so they bring relief to those joint disorders, muscle aches 💪, all sorts of inflammation.

 

ALLERGIESNettle has been shown to have anti-allergic effects despite the fact that it itself can cause hives where you touch yourself with fresh nettle 😉 . Nettle has similar effects to antihistamines. In studies, it has been shown that patients with rhinitis experienced relief after taking nettle products. Just remember, what's too much is not healthy - because in some people with excessive use may appear an allergic reaction.

 

TUMOURSthe phytoestrogens in nettle may reduce the risk of certain cancers e.g. breast, bowel, prostate cancer.

 

LOWERED IMMUNITYit would be strange after such a rich composition of nettle to pass by this subject indifferently. Again, the flavonoids and vitamins contained in the leaves stimulate the work of our immune system. Drinking a tea ☕  made of fresh nettle leaves every day for 2 weeks will significantly improve the immune system. In 2011, a study showed that the agglutinin produced by nettle inhibits the proliferation of the SARS coronavirus 🦠, which causes severe acute respiratory distress syndrome.

 

ANAEMIAhere nettle comes to the aid of all those who have iron deficiency, pregnant women 🤰 who have a special need for this element. Nettle supports the production of red blood cells 🩸 and haemoglobin, so it is recommended for people struggling with anaemia. It has a blood-forming effect.

 

DURING PREGNANCY IT IS ESPECIALLY RECOMMENDED, BECAUSE IT CONTAINS A LOT OF MINERALS AND VITAMINS. It is also recommended after childbirth, as it increases milk production. 🤰🍼

 

Nettle supports stomach, liver, and pancreas functions. It is helpful in gastritis, intestinal catarrh and diarrhoea problems. It supports gastric juice and bile secretion, it is good for flatulence and nausea, hyperacidity, gastric ulcers, and helicobacter.

 

OBESITYnettle tea speeds up metabolism, improves intestinal peristalsis, thus aiding weight loss.⚖

 

BLEEDING 🩸nettle prevents minor bleeding from capillaries in the nose, gastrointestinal tract, intestines, uterus, and lungs. This is mainly influenced by the vitamin contained in nettle.

 

NUTRITION is recommended after the autumn-winter season to regain VITAL SUBSTANCES! 🍂❄

💡Nettle and herbs can effectively support classical pharmacotherapyNettle is very well combined with other medicinal herbsFor examplewhen there is an infection in the urinary system, it is worthwhile to additionally use such herbs as horsetail, goldenrodbirch leaf, bird's-foot trefoillingonberry leafIn case of skin diseases it is good to combine nettle with horsetail. On the other hand, in order to lower glucose, it will have a better effect when combined withbean pericarp, corn rootbilberry leaf or cinnamon.

NETTLE COSMETICS

It has long been known that nettle products improve the condition of hair 💇‍♀️,skin and nails 💅. It has beneficial effects in fighting dandruff, greasy hair, or hair loss. Nettle rinses or alcoholic extracts of its root rubbed into the scalp strengthen and nourish hair roots and hair, accelerate hair growth. They have anti-seborrheic and antibacterial properties, therefore it is recommended for oily and acne-prone complexions. Nettle leaf compresses are also used in skin lesions (abscesses, boils, acne, nodules), found in the manufacture, creams, masks, tonics, shampoos. In some cases, people with very sensitive skin may experience allergic reactions.

Example hair rinse - 100g of chopped leaves are poured into 0.5 litres of hot water. After it cools down add 4% vinegar solution. Regular rinsing of hair with this solution will prevent hair from falling out, make it flexible and shiny. Additionally, it will help to fight dandruff.


 

💡In summarynettle preparations are excellent for diabeticsasthmaticsrheumaticsfor anaemiaallergies, coughs. It is good for the endocrine systemliverpancreasfor prostate hypertrophy and for LIBIDO.


 

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION, YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS ARTICLE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT EXEMPT YOU FROM VISITING YOUR DOCTOR IN CASE OF ILLNESS.


 

THE UNDESIRABLE PROPERTIES OF NETTLE.

Despite the beneficial effects of nettlethere are also situations when you should be careful with it. Who should be cautious about using nettles?

In case of bleeding 🩸 due to polyps and uterine cancerPeople who suffer from diabetes should first consult a doctor.

Older nettle leaves can be irritating to the kidneys. Some sources state that the use of raw nettle leaves can cause liver damageand thus historical sources state that nettle was often eaten raw by the elderly in times of crisis.

 

I believe that common sense should be used with regards to everythingEven if we start abusing the healthiest productsthey will start working against us.

 

 

Each of us has probably already learned that nettle "burns", in the leaves of nettle there are stinging/burning hairs containing formic acod, which after contact with the skin causes dermatosis; burning/itching blisters appear. Nettle burns can be alleviated by rubbing the irritated area with crushed plantain leaves, sage, mint or sorrel. Alternatively, you can apply olive oil, but it is not advisable to rinse with water because the irritation may return.


 

TIME TO HARVEST

Now that we know the effects of nettle, it’s time to harvest. Nettle should be harvested young, in the period during April and May, some sources say you can harvest until September (but only cut off only the tops). Nettle should be harvested before it flowers and it is said that the first three rows, up to about 30 cm. long, are best for harvesting. Gloves should be used when harvesting so as not to burn yourself with the plant. It is best to harvest early in the morning, or where the nettle is in the shade all the time, as it will have much more juice inside.


 

Once harvested, the leaves can be peeled after the nettle is overripe or the herb dried, when it no longer stings so much. Leaves and herb are dried in the absence of light, but the plant material must be scattered loosely, as clumped together easily burns and turns brown. The dry yield is 22-23% of the harvest. The roots and rhizomes are dug up in early spring or autumn, washed and dried in an airy place or at a temperature not exceeding 40°C. The fruit is harvested when ripe, in August and September.


 

So now that we've harvested the NETTLES it's time to cook them. 😍

Nettle can be purified by pouring boiling water over it. Zeolite is a good agent which removes impurities and pesticides. You can also use a solution of water with baking soda and then a solution of water with vinegar.

In olden times, nettle was used as a vegetable for soups 🍜, potatoes 🥔 and for Lenten dishes during Easter 🐰. Nettle was used similarly to spinach. In folk medicine, fresh nettle juice mixed with honey 🍯 is used as a general strengthening agent and to boost the body's defences against flu and colds, for example.

Nettle can be used to make infusions, teas ☕, tinctures, soups, juices, as an ingredient of cocktails mixing with your favourite fruit, also we can make fresh salads, pesto and our own cosmetic products such as hair rinses, shampoos and creams.


 

And these are the recipes I was able to find online 😉 .

 

An infusion of the dried leaf or root.

Pour hot water over one tablespoon of nettle and brew under a lid for about 15 minutesSuch an infusion can be drunk daily for weeks and then you should take a break. It is best to drink the infusion on an empty stomach or before bedtimeIf desired, you can add a bit of honey 🍯 or mix it with other herbs, mint or lemon 🍋.

 

Nettle puree.

Good for freezingMix young nettle leaves with boiled waterblend together and pour into containersSuch frozen puree you can eat throughout the year.

 

Nettle tincture.  Pour boiling water over collected nettle leaves, then blendPour alcohol over mixed nettle (10 times more than the amount of nettle). Close in a dark airtight bottle and leave for about a week in a dark placeAfter this time, strain the solution through a sieve and store the tincture in the refrigerator.

 

Decoction of nettle leaves.

Pour 2-2.tablespoons of nettle in cool water and bring to a boilBoil under the lid for minutesthen leave for 10 minutes and after that time strain e.g. into a thermosDrink 2-4 times a day after eating.

 

Nettle honey. 🍯

It is the most versatile and most effective nettle remedyPrepare by grinding 1kg of fresh leavesboiled in glasses of waterthen strainAdd 0,5kg of honey 🍯 and water to the volume of 1 litreStore the mixture in a darkcool and dry place.

 

Juice made from fresh nettles can be pasteurized or frozenIn order to preserve as many nutrients of nettles as possible, it is recommended to use slow-running juicers.

 

DID YOU KNOW 💡😄      

💡 The dried herb was smoked for asthma problems, coughs and toothaches 

💡 Chlorophyll extracted from nettles is used as green colorant with code E140.

💡 Nettle can be used to flavour beer, only the young shoots are used for this.

💡 Fibre can be used to make paper. 🧾

💡 Leaves were used to preserve food. Food was wrapped with them for this purpose.

💡 Due to its high silica and calcium content, it was used to clean boilers and dishes.

💡 Oil was pressed from the seeds 🌱, which was also used for lighting purposes.

💡 Planting nettles around the apiaries kept the frogs 🐸 away from the hives.

💡 In Roman mythology it was dedicated to Venus; powdered nettle seeds mixed with honey and sipped with wine were supposed to act as an APHRODISIAC.

💡 In ancient beliefs it was written that flogging with nettles restored men'will to live.

💡 In the Eastern Borderlands, girls were smeared with nettles to ensure fertility.

💡 Nettles play an important role in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, The Wild SwansThere, they are a textile material whose extraction involves sufferingwhich is the payment for magical properties.

💡 Increases plant resistance to attack by insects and pathogenic fungiaccelerates plant growthand activates compost decomposition and repels some insects and mites.

💡 During World War I, uniforms were sewn from nettles of the German army. During the interwar period, exports of this plant from Germany to Britain increased.

💡 During World War II, nettle was widely cultivated.

💡 Fabrics woven from nettles have a slightly shiny textureare daintier than linen fabrics and stronger than cotton fabricsNow imagine the tag on your favourite blouse 100% nettle instead of 100% cotton 🤔😁.

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