If you ever get into herbalism (and I really hope you do), you will find that nutrition is so very essential for keeping a healthy mind, body, and soul. That’s why I am really excited to talk about Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica). This perennial herb isn’t very well know, but it has such wonderful benefits and super-food nutrition that can so easily be added into your every day diet!

Stinging Nettles have all kinds of benefits!  (I’m a little nutty over nettles… )

There are many known benefits of the Stinging Nettle herb: 

  • blood purifier
  • blood builder
  • immune-boosting
  • diuretic
  • anti-rheumatism
  • anti-histamine
  • anti-inflammatory
  • stimulates circulation in the body
  • astringent
  • rich in iron
  • rich in calcium
  • rich in vitamins A and K
  • known to help with hay fever and itchy skin
  • antioxidant
  • anti-bacterial
  • can lessen symptoms of PMS, preventing headaches, mood swings, and bloating! (do I have your attention now, ladies?)

Stinging nettles can help with all kinds of problems, including but not limited to eczema, allergies, joint pain, and urinary track issues!

Using Stinging Nettles:

I use Stinging Nettles as a base herb in my teas all of the time, but more and more I find myself using it in my cooking, too!  Normally you can find them growing wild, commonly near ditches, disrupted soils, and moist soils all over North America and Europe.  Although fresh is best, dried Stinging Nettles are not very hard to come by.  I usually buy mine from a local herbal shop in my area, but you can also buy them in bulk off from Amazon.

Having a similar texture and taste to dried oregano or parsley (except a lot more mild – they’re practically tasteless!), I toss nettles in wherever I can!  Everyday meals including, scrambled eggs, sauces, soups, and pesto!

Stinging Nettles can also be used topically to reduce inflammation and joint pain when used via an extract or tincture of the herb.

Nutrition:

Nettles contain Vitamin A, C, E, F, K and P.  There are high levels of Vitamin B- complexes as well as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B-6, all of which act as antioxidants in stinging nettles. This little herb contains Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, and Selenium.  Stinging Nettles also harbor some Boron, Bromine, Calcium, Chlorine, Chlorophyll, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iodine, Chromium, Silicon, and Sulfur.

With no fat, sodium, cholesterol, sugar and hardly any fiber, about 1 cup of Stinging Nettles contains only 37 calories and 0.1 grams of fat. 1 cup contains about 7 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of protein.

Seems like a super herb (or super-food), right?… RIGHT! That’s exactly what this little herb is!

If that’s not enough to make this a super-food, then maybe knowing that 1 cup can give you up to 3 time the daily amount you need of Vitamin A (about 1,790 IU per cup).

Still need convincing?  Stinging Nettles is rich in calcium, giving about 40% of the daily recommended amount per 1 cup of Nettles.  In 1 cup, you would also get up to 490% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K (which, if you didn’t know yet, your body can actually store for later use).

Order some Stinging Nettles online or visit your local herbal shop and grab some there, all while supporting your local businesses at the same time! Toss some in your tea ball or add some to meals while cooking!

(image taken from Wikipedia)

Warnings:

There are some warnings about Nettles that I always advise on.

  • You should consult your doctor before using them if you are pregnant; stinging nettles can stimulate uterine contractions.
  • Nettles can affect blood sugar levels, so consult your doctor prior to using them if you have diabetes.
  • Although they are known for their immune boosting properties, they’re not the best herb to use for certain auto-immune disorders, specifically MS. Nettles are known as being an immune-boosting herb, but nettles tip the scale and only increase the already active immune-system of individuals with MS.
  • Because nettles are a diuretic, some people experience an upset stomach, diarrhea, or increased urination as a result, but these symptoms are typically only temporary and usually only occur during first usage.

 

References/Further Reading:

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/stinging-nettle

http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2135002

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3589769/

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