Let Stinging Nettles Help You – In So Many Ways
The Nettles plant – Urtica Dioica (commonly known as Stinging Nettles) is an interesting herbal ally. If you look closely, the needles on the leaves will let you know that it WILL sting you, if you are not mindful when harvesting. However, once the Nettles is dried, blanched, or pulverized, the sting is ameliorated. Best harvested with gloves starting in early spring, Nettles can provide us with a treasure trove of support for many conditions. However, regular use provides the biggest benefit in the long run.
This wonderful plant is safe to use, and is high in calcium, iron potassium, phosphorus, chlorophyll, vitamin C, and other nutrients. Nettles support the kidneys and adrenals making it a potent stress fighter when used regularly. It is alkalizing and anti0inflammatory helping us with joint pain, osteoporosis, PMS, hot flashes and skin conditions like Psoriasis. Nettles contains more Calcium and Magnesium than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance).
Nettles Works Synergistically with the Body
Nettles has an adaptogenic effect on the body. Nettles can simultaneously
- Bring Healing to Dryness OR Drain Dampness
- Gentle OR Fierce
- Hemostatic OR Circulating
- Nutritive OR Dispersing
- Cooling OR Building Energy
Could Nettles be an Antidote for Coffee?
So much about coffee is alluring. The smell, taste and ritual of morning and/or afternoon coffee. Coffee and conversation with a friend. Coffee is string medicine. Because of this, it takes a toll on us when we consume it regularly.
I would not normally think of using Nettles to replace coffee. When I retreat (yes retreat! ) from my coffee habit, I generally move to Decafe coffee, then black tea, then green tea, and then once I’ve weaned from caffeine and I want that coffee taste, I drink either Dandy Blend or Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom elixir. There are a few to choose from – just don’t choose one with actual coffee in it. These are both fairly good substitutes for the coffee taste. Both are fairly nutritive, especially the mushroom elixir. Yet how can we repair the damage we’ve done with coffee.
Since going deeper into my studies of Nettles, I am convinced that Stinging Nettles power plant ally that can help heal the imbalances we create with regular coffee use. Take a look.
Coffee Vs. Stinging Nettles
|Stress on the Adrenals
||Restores the Adrenals (Especially the seeds)
|Liver Toxicity – uses the same path that stress needs to clear)
||Helps Hold Hydration
Regular use of Nettles can repair and restore the acidity and depletion that occurs from regular use of coffee.
Stimulating vs. Energizing – You get to Choose
Coffee and other caffeine products don’t really “give” us energy. They stimulate our system – but this is at the high cost of our adrenal glands. While the effect may be what we want (after all, I can get a lot done after a cup of coffee) the toll on our health is too great. When we tax our body this way, we are depleting our “jing” or essence.
Nettles, on the other hand, energizes our body and it’s many systems. It does this by nourishing our system and working synergistically with it. In fact, Nettles seed is considered an adaptogen – working to support the adrenals by nourishing and strengthening the HPA-axis – this is the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal relationship. Adoptogens are herbs that help your body deal with stress. Other wonderful herbs in this category include Ashwaganda, Hawthorn, Schisandra, Rhodiola, Ginseng, Gingko, Astragalus, Holy Basil, and more.
70% of people Suffer with compromised Adrenal function due to stress.
Nettles for Women
Nettles can support us through all phases of the moon cycle including menopause.
- Helps relieve cramps due to stagnation.
- They are loaded with chlorophyl which moves the blood, increasing circulation.
- The Hemostatic action also helps regulate and balance blood flow, lightening heavy flow and nourishing light flow.
- Nettles supports us with pain during ovulation and helps regulate excess water, relieving bloating.
- Excellent for Menopause as they are cooling and anti-inflammatory.
- Great for Pregnancy – it’s like a liquid multi-mineral – Best mixed to use Nettels tea on and off with Red Raspberry Leaf tea (tones the uterus).
Other Amazing properties of Nettles
- Bone Building Nutrients: Nettles carry 15 out the 18 Bone Building Nutrients including Boron which helps maintain and stabilize calcium in the bone.
- High in bio-flavonoids which reduces varicose veins
- Nettles is very supportive to all of the tissues and membranes of the body
- Replenishes energy and builds you back up
You can use the entire plant. Leaf, seed, stalk and root.
Uses of the Seed:
- Supports the kidneys and adrenals
- Builds stamina and lasting energy reserves
- Thyroid support
- Use the seed oil for Alopecia
- Also use for Erectile Dysfunction
- Makes a great hair oil (crush in oil)
Eat the seeds raw or if using daily – dried (as the raw can become overstimulating).
The seed and Root can be tinctured as well as the leaf.
Uses of the Root:
- Anti Inflammatory for Prostatitis
- Great for gout- clears uric acid
Stinging Nettles is a smart plant and it helps your membranes be smart as well. It increases the health of your blood and helps revitalize you and flush out old patterns. It is commonly advised to brew
How to Start using Nettles Daily
You can purchase a tincture at your local health food store. Another easy way to start with Nettles is using it as a tea.
Nettles Tea (Infusion Method)
Nettles tea works best as an infusion
Dried Nettle Leaf
You can purchase online or directly through us at the office
Filtered or Spring water - NO fluoride or Chlorine
Feel free to make more - adjusting the nettle measurement
Organic Milk or Non-dairy Alternative
A few drops of liquid Stevia
Add the nettles in the jar
Fill the jar with hot water just off the boil for tea
Tightly close the lid and allow to steep for at least 8 hrs up to 24 hrs. - I make this at might and let sit over night. I also make more in the morning for the evening.
Strain the plant material out squeezing well
Enjoy warm or over ice. We enjoy it With organic milk or non-dairy milk of choice and a few drops of liquid stevia.
Refrigerate and drink/use within 24 hours
Other Ways to Take in Nettles
The following are best for fresh spring nettles. Be sure not to eat fresh nettles after it has gone to seed – this can be too taxing on the kidneys.
- Nettles Soup
- Nettles Pesto
- Juicing the Nettles – You can drink the juice or use it directly on the skin
- Add it into Smoothies
- Nettle Chips (make like Kale chips)
The Master Tonic: Your Homemade Antiviral, Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouse.
Now is the time to make this simple but powerful antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory remedy for the coming cold and flu season. It is known most commonly by the name “Master Tonic” and it is very easy to make.
This homemade medicine is an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic remedy that you can make in your own kitchen. We made it this month so that we are ready to keep our immune system strong when the season (and weather) changes.
This works as a preventative ally, keeping your immune system strong and it also works to help rally your immune system if a cold or flu strikes.
Remember: It’s best to use fresh,organic ingredients whenever possible. Especially, when making medicine.
Below are the health benefits of each ingredient. You will find the recipe at the bottom of the page.
The Health Benefits of Horseradish Root
- A natural Antibiotic
- Helps relieve bronchitis and cough
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stimulates the production of white blood cells
- High levels Vitamin C
The Health Benefits of Garlic
Best used in its raw or fermented form
- Natural Antibiotic
- Rich in phytoncides-such as allicin – helping cure infections at a faster rate.
It’s best to chop the garlic and wait 15 minutes prior to utilizing/ eating/ cooking. This allows the health-giving enzyme reaction of garlic to occur.
The Health Benefits of Tumeric Root
Curcumin is an incredible compound found in turmeric. It works synergistically with Black pepper which increases it’s bioavailability in the blood.
- Antiviral- helps fight influenza
- Protects the immune system
Curcumin has become popular and effective anti-inflammatory but even more so it has played an important supportive role in the treatment of cancer
The Health Benefits of Ginger Root
Ginger is a widely recognized medicinal root across many cultures for thousands of years.
- Powerful Anti- inflammatiory
- Reduces pain
- Helps alleviate gastrointestinal distress
- Helps eliminate intestinal gas
- Soothes the intestinal tract
- Recent studies have shown promising reports of Ginger’s anti-cancer properties
The Health Benefits of Onion
- Sulfur-rich assisting the body to detoxify
- Heart disease prevention
- Immune bosting
- DNA protection
The Health Benefits of Hot Peppers
- Rich in capsaicin which protects cells against cancer
- Regulate blood sugar
- Stimulate blood flow – helps relieve congestion associated with cold and sinus infections.
In this recipe we’ve used Jalepeño peppers because they were growing in our garden. However, Unripe green habaneros contain more Vitamin C than a serving of citrus fruit.
The Health Benefits of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- Probiotic -rich promoting a healthy intestinal tract
- Boosts the immune system
Make this Anti-Viral, Anti-bacterial tonic for home use.
Fresh Horseradish Root
Fresh Tumeric Root (or powdered turmeric if not available)
Fresh Ginger Root
chopped then add to food processor
Hot Peppers (jalapeño or other)
diced with gloves on
Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Fresh Ground Pepper (works synergistically with tumeric)
Grate, dice or add to food processor each ingredient at a time and add to jar.
Fill mason jars of your choice 3/4 of the way full.
Add in Apple Cider Vinegar to the top.
Cover with lids (if using metal lids add parchment paper so the vinegar does not react with the metal lids.
Store in a place out of the sun. Shaking gently once per day for two weeks, and then filter the Master Tonic mixture through a clean piece of cheese cloth or other, bottle and label.
Can be stored in the pantry indefinitely.
Take 1 or 2 ounces a day during cold and flu season, You can add raw organic honey if desired. Swish and then swallow. Don’t dilute with water.
The dosage for the Master Tonic is 1 or 2 ounces, two or more times daily.
For an infection, 1 or 2 ounces taken 5-6 times a day will be suffcient. It can be used during pregnancies, is safe for children (use smaller dosesand maybe a dropper full with added honey). This is a non-toxic food.
Nettles, a spring food are incredibly healthy and nourishing. This is my favorite way (so far) to get my nettles on. You can easily adapt this recipe to basil if you’re cleansing during a time without Nettles.
1 bunch of fresh Nettles
1⁄2 C pine nuts (if you can’t tolerate pine nuts try almonds, walnuts or cashews)
2-3 cloves garlic (chopped)
Olive oil (best to do this by sight, but start with 1/8-1/4 C)
Salt to taste.
- Use tongs to handle Nettles, they will sting you until blanched!
- Bring a pot of filtered water to boil enough to submerge the bunch ofnettles you have.
- Rinse the Nettles- using tongs- in a bowl with cold water and gentlyagitate to clean off dirt, drain, repeat 2 more times.
- When water is hot or boiling places nettles – using tongs- into thewater and push around until the color changes – and they begin to brighten and plump – just a few seconds.
- Remove by pouring water into a mesh strainer or colander sitting overa bowl – so you can capture the water. Set aside this Nettles water and drink as a hot tea. Drink it plain or add some mint to it.
- Place nettles, garlic, pine nuts, (basil and/or mint if desired) and someoil into a food processor (or Vita mix)
- Add more oil for desired consistency, add salt to taste
Serve with zucchini or spaghetti squash pasta. Dip veggies into it; serve over
roasted cauliflower, or with anything, really.
Oriental medicine (OM) nutrition combines ancient wisdom with modern science.
OM nutrition is a holistic approach, which aims to balance all five flavors within most meals with one or two flavors being emphasized for therapeutic purposes. OM nutrition for hypertension emphasizes bitter flavors, sour flavors, and energetically-cooling foods.
OM theory states the bitter flavor benefits the heart in moderation but an excess is harmful as it has a drying effect.
for example, coffee is bitter. In moderation coffee acts as vasodilator increasing circulation but in excess it can raise blood pressure and has a diuretic effect. Modern scientific research has discovered while the human genome has 25 bitter taste receptors 12 of these are expressed in the human heart.
- Foods with bitter flavors include: romaine lettuce, dandelion, arugula, rye.
- Foods that combine bitter with pungency include: citrus peel, radish, scallion and white pepper.
In OM nutrition the pungent flavor can help disperse phlegm (e.g. plaque).
- Foods that combine bitter with sweet include: asparagus, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, quinoa and papaya. Lemon rind is bitter and sour; vinegar is also bitter and sour.
- Lemon rind is bitter and sour; vinegar is also bitter and sour.
Bitter flavors have a yin, or cooling effect, clearing heat in the body while encouraging a descent of Qi, which aids in the draining of fluids.
For example, celery contains the phytochemical phthalides which relaxes arterial wall tissues to increase blood flow and thereby reduce blood pressure. The fiber, magnesium and potassium in celery also help lower blood pressure and regulate fluid balance. Caution: according to OM, those with a lot of dryness and/or bone disease should moderate their intake of bitter flavor.
A tomato a day keeps the doctor away!
The combination of lycopene, vitamin C and E, potassium and folic acid in tomatoes make it a power food for heart health. The bitter flavor of tomatoes come from the seeds; to reap the full benefit of tomatoes eat the seeds too. Heirloom tomatoes in season have the most flavor, find the tastiest tomatoes at your farmer’s market or trying growing your own.
Summer is the season of the heart according to Chinese medicine, meaning it is the season most likely to bring our hearts out of balance if we are exposed to excess heat, which can then create and/or exacerbate internal heat.
During the summer OM nutrition recommends drinking and eating foods that cool the body and heart such as green tea, cucumbers, watermelon and lemon.
Chrysanthemum tea is a very popular summertime tea in Asia because it is so well known for its cooling properties; it is helpful for headaches, dizziness, high blood pressure, chest pain and also fevers. You can add chrysanthemum flowers to your morning green tea and in the evening combine it with chamomile tea for extra cooling benefits!
OM nutrition cautions against overdoing cold foods and drinks.
Too much cold inhibits the digestive process. Drinking warm beverages and soups, as well as eating foods with a little pungency (chili pepper, garlic, ginger) causes the body to perspire slightly which naturally cools the body.
For those who happen to have hypertension plus a lot of dryness: dry skin, dry eyes, dry mouth and thirst, constipation and even hormonal deficiencies can benefit from increasing their healthy fat intake.
Many nutrients are fat soluble, the body uses cholesterol to make hormones, bile, and vitamin D. Healthy fats nourish yin in OM nutrition theory. Some Americans who suffer from hypertension are also thin with an underlying yin deficiency, such as those with the onset of hypertension that coincides with menopausal symptoms. Sources of healthy fats include the following: nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, flaxseed oil and quality fish.
Eating beans, peas and grains are high in potassium, magnesium, fiber and are high in choline which is vital in lowering hypertension and boosting fat metabolism. Whole grains are also a good source of niacin and vitamin E and are recommended for healthy arteries, especially those that are slightly bitter such as: rye, quinoa, amaranth and oats.
Try this OM Nutrition Recipe for Heart Health:
5 Flavors Chickpea Salad for Healthy & Happy Heart
15 oz cooked organic chick peas (1 can)
1/2 c cup cooked quinoa or 1 cup brown rice (warm)
4 stalks celery, minced
6-12 cherry tomatoes chopped in 1/2 or 1/4
8-12 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
2 TBSP red onion, minced
Toss with dressing made with:
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice + a little lemon zest (organic is best)
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp raw honey
1-2 garlic cloves (minced or pressed)
1/8 tsp Himalayan or Sea salt (or to taste)
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Foster, S. R., Blank, K., Hoe, L. E. S., Behrens, M., Meyerhof, W., Peart, J. N., & Thomas, W. G. (2014). Bitter taste receptor agonists elicit G-protein-dependent negative inotropy in the murine heart. The FASEB Journal, 28(10), 4497-4508.
Kastner, Joseph, MD, L.Ac, (2009) Chinese Nutrition Therapy, Thieme, Stuttgart and New York
Pitchford, Paul (2002), Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California
Ried, K., Frank, O. R., Stocks, N. P., Fakler, P., & Sullivan, T. (2008). Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC cardiovascular disorders, 8(1), 1.
Willcox, J. K., Catignani, G. L., & Lazarus, S. (2003). Tomatoes and Cardiovascular Health. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 43(1), 1-18.
We use this on all the fresh salad greens we eat each day.
This is more a method than a recipe — good luck!
- 1 part extra virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 part Lime juice (or raw apple cider vinegar for a different taste but added health benefits)
- a few pinches of garlic granules to taste
- 1/8 part raw honey
- a few pinches of Celtic or Himalaya sea salt to taste
- Whisk all ingredients together
Famous Chef method of Dressing a Salad:
- Add to bottom of salad bowl
- Add salad next
- Toss to coat
- Enjoy a generous helping of salad