🍵 Nettle Tea for me, please!🌿

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Ahhh, springtime! The sun is starting to shine, birds are singing, flowers are poppin’, and the amazing nettles are beginning to grow (up to 4′ tall!) where they can find nitrogen-rich, moist soil.🍃

…Nettles? Why would you include that (mostly) stinging family of plants in your list of seasonal wonders? Aren’t they known as a trickster weed? Loki supposedly had a fishing net woven from them that he uses, after all.

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Well, it turns out that nettles actually ARE quite wonderful and useful! Whether being used as a tea, an infusion, added to a smoothie, worked into a salad, used as wilted greens (not too different from mustard or spinach), or pounded into a poultice or salve to soothe aching joints or a rash, this plant in the Urticaceae family has many, many uses!

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Nettle tea is just one lovely way to take advantage of its healing properties. Rejuvenating and energizing, packed rich with nutrients and vitamins including D and K, the stinging nettle truly is a power plant. It helps boost the immune system by killing off pathogens and viruses and can even help balance hormonal systems (especially the thyroid and pancreas).

It can relieve allergies and skin issues and helps to heal the respiratory tract (by soothing irritated mucus membranes for issues like asthma and bronchitis ), as well as reducing inflammation and easing arthritis and joint pain, tendenitis, fibromyalgia, gout (by releasing euric acid) and more.

Nettles flush out toxins by supporting the liver, and this diruetic strengthens digestion and eases the symptoms of colitis and GI issues. Assisting in breaking down kidney stones is another benefit!

But that sting! I just can’t get past the stinging aspect!😱

That’s okay! Education is a vastly important part of learning how to forage and make use of natural materials around you. Always make sure you have properly identified a species before incorporating it into any edible or herbal concoction. That being said, there are a few ways to avoid those nasty stings.

First, let’s learn about how the nettle’s defensive system actually works with your body.

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Now, regarding harvesting, here is a great video walk-through on harvesting that even explains how the stings can be helpful! It’s definitely important to make sure you have gloves, and you’re typically going to want to pick younger growth and stick to plants that are under a foot tall. 🌿

And although that tricksy Loki likes to make ill use of nettles, other myths view them more favorably.

“In Celtic lore, thick stands of nettles indicate that there are fairy dwellings close by, and the sharp sting of the nettle protects against fairy mischief, black magic, and other forms of sorcery.” – Terri Windling

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Here is a lovely account by her on picking nettles for soup, and a wonderful deep-dive into the mythology and folklore that surrounds nettles.✨

Historically, nettles have also been used for their fibers and recently cloth made from nettles was discovered in Denmark dating back to the Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC)! Even more fascinating, this particular cloth was shown to have originated in Austria, giving evidence of a more advanced trading system between regions than previously thought.

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We hope that this run down of one of our favorite “weeds” will leave you with a little more affection for this amazing plant and its myriad of uses throughout history.🌎💚

Have you used nettles before? What were your experiences?IMG_95281

 

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