COMMON NAME: NETTLE, common nettle, stinging nettle
LATIN NAME: Urtica dioica
PARTS USED: Stalks and leaves, rhizomes, seeds
REGIONS: throughout the world
SYSTEM AFFECTED: urinary, respiratory, glandular, digestive
HARVESTING GUIDELINES: Harvest top six inches of plants in the spring and early summer before flowering. Harvest seeds in fall once the bundles of tiny flowers look fluffy and are drooping down toward the stem. Harvest rhizomes in spring or after first frost in autumn.
PLANT CONSTITUENTS: Vitamins A, C, E, and K, riboflavin, thiamine, and minerals (calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silica, iron, zinc), protein, formic acid and histamine, and chlorophyll
ACTIONS: Astringent, Alterative, Anti-inflammatory, Galactogogue, Hemostatic, Anti-asthmatic, Rubefacient, Diuretic, Nutritive
TASTE: Salty, Astringent
ENERGY: Cooling, Drying
USES: Stinging nettles is a very potent herb with a long history of use. Nettle is one of nature’s best nutraceuticals, containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, along with vitamins A, C, D, and B complex, all in a form that is easy for the body to use. Stinging nettle contains natural anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories (including quercetin), that open up restricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, allergies, and sinuses. Nettle is a diuretic that excretes uric acid, making this amazing plant useful for problems such as gout, and the overnight incontinence of benign prostate enlargement and weak and irritated bladder. Nettle is a nourisher of the kidneys and the adrenals. Nettle is the ideal herb for any type of arthritis. The anti-inflammatory substances combined with the rich concentration of the minerals boron, calcium and silicon ease the pain while helping to build strong bones. Nettles are a good general tonic of the female reproductive system, for the monthly cycle, and menopause. Nettle is an Alterative, meaning it purifies the blood and assists the body in nutrient and protein assimilation, neutralization of acid, and elimination of waste. As such, it can be used to balance blood toxicity, arthritis, gout, rheumatism, eczema and skin problems caused by metabolic disorders by detoxifying the body of metabolic wastes. Nettle is recommended for pregnant, post-partum, and lactating women, and not just for its nutritive qualities for mother and child. As a hemostatic due to its high level of vitamin K, and an astringent, nettle can help reduce uterine bleeding and prevent hemorrhage after childbirth. It can also be used to reduce excessive menstrual bleeding or excessive bleeding anywhere in the body. As a galactagogue, nettle increases the quality and quantity of mother’s breast milk. Susan Weed (1989, p. 176) raves about nettle leaves drunk as an infusion and applied as a hair rinse for “glossy, thick, vibrant hair, healthy, hard nails and clear, lustrous smooth skin.” Nettle root is lauded as a restorative tonic for weak hair or hair loss, and when applied topically, nettle acts as a rubefacient to stimulate circulation of blood to the area.
CONTRADICTIONS: Nettle is safe, although some allergic reactions have been reported. Nettle stings may cause discomfort to the skin. Internal use may decrease the efficacy of anti-coagulant drugs
DOSAGES: Tincture: 2-5 ml (1:5 in 40%), 3 times per day Tea: Infusion of 1-3 tsp dried nettle in 1 cup boiling water, infused 10-15 minutes, 3 times per day Juice: 5 to 10 ml of fresh juice 3x per day. Seeds: 1 tsp – 1 tbsp seeds per day