Natural and Organic Skin Care

Stinging Nettle

Nettle, or Stinging Nettle – Urtica dioica – is one of my favorite herbs.  An all-around nourishing herb, it can be used as part of a daily approach to health.  It has a high mineral content, and contains considerable amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and silicic acid.

Nettle has an affinity for the immune, circulatory, nervous, digestive and endocrine systems, as well as the respiratory and urinary tracts, working in a supportive role for all of the above.  Because of it’s rich mineral content, it is of great benefit for anemic and undernourished individuals.  It helps to relieve leg and menstrual cramps, likely due to its high magnesium content.  Nettle is helpful in illnesses that involve excessive mucous, and can be used for asthma, edema, hay fever, and gout.  For those with chronic illnesses, Nettle can be used long-term as a supportive and rejuvenating tonic.

Nettle has a pleasant taste somewhat resembling spinach. It is often combined with other herbs in a tea, but makes a nutritious palatable drink on it’s own.

As a plant, it is strong and bold, and prefers shade and well-drained soil.  In the wild, it’s often found growing near creeks, where the water flows freely, ensuring that its roots don’t get bogged down in muddy ground.  Nettle will spread its roots in all directions, allowing the plant to grow generously.  In the home garden, it will do best in a semi-shaded area with plenty of water in a rich, well-drained soil.  However, Nettle will help to enrich the soil herself if its not up to her standards already.

Caution:  Due to its emmenagogic and abortifacient effects, excessively large doses are contraindicated in pregnancy.  As a decocted tea or overnight infusion in normal doses, however, it is safe to be consumed by pregnant women.  It is not recommended to use this plant raw, as it causes skin and mucous membrane irritation, thus the name Stinging Nettle.  When cooked or dried, this irritating characteristic disappears.


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