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Stinging Nettle: A Springtime Superfood
Finding a patch of Stinging Nettle is a sure sign of spring! We love foraging for this wild green that supports strength, energy and vitality.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a tasty, nutritious plant and can easily take the place of greens in any recipe to nourish the whole family. Its medicinal benefits are countless, and the plant is traditionally used to restore function to all organs and systems within the body, including the digestive tract, liver, urinary tract and reproductive function.
Because of this plant’s many medicinal benefits, nettle is a beloved herbal staple in any home apothecary and is widely used by herbalists to treat a variety of conditions. This delicious, energizing and vitamin-rich spring tonic has quite the nutritional resume- making it an excellent choice for bodies that are depleted and craving extra minerals and nutrients.
Here are 5 incredible benefits of Stinging Nettle:
- A great source of trace minerals like iron, magnesium and manganese
- Supports cardiovascular, bone, and skin health
- Rich in vitamin A, B, C, and K as well as protein, phosphorus and potassium
- Cleanses the body and supports liver function
- Eases inflammation and acts as a natural antihistamine to soothe seasonal allergies.
Identifying & Harvesting Nettle:
Nettle has a square stem that can reach heights of over 6 feet. Its leaves are characteristically heart-shaped and covered in tiny hairs that deliver a powerful sting when touched.
While all parts of the nettle plant can be harvested, the aerial parts (leaves) of the plant are the most nutritive and abundant. While some herbalists don’t mind the sting of nettle, we recommend wearing thick gloves when harvesting fresh nettle to avoid this plant’s infamous ‘sting'!
How to Use Fresh Nettle:
When processing nettle, be sure to dry or blanch the leaves to eliminate the sting. Once processed for safe ingestion, the possibilities are endless- add to soups, blend up a nettle pesto, or save these nutrient-dense leaves for herbal infusions and tea!
Here are some ideas to get you started with this superbly nourishing spring green:
- Dry the fresh leaves and use in herbal teas and infusions (read on for recipe!).
- Make an allergy-soothing tincture at home by placing the fresh leaves in a jar with organic alcohol. Seal tightly and place the jar in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks, making sure to shake daily.
- Use nettle in place of any recipe that calls for greens. We love blending up a nutrient-rich pesto with nettle leaves!
- Try Nettle in our Bio-Shield Tincture to cleanse environmental toxins and neutralize free radicals.
How to Make a Nettle Infusion:
We love making herbal infusions to enjoy the full spectrum of nettle’s benefits! Here’s a simple recipe to make in batches and sip frequently for optimal health.
- 2 ounces Harmonic Arts Nettle Tops
- 8 cups water
- Bring 8 cups of filtered water to a boil.
- Toss nettles into a mason jar and fill with boiling water. Allow nettle to steep for 12 hours.
- When ready to drink, strain them from the infusion using a fine-mesh sieve or tea strainer.
- Drink right away, or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.