Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Parts used: Leave, seeds, roots and young tops
Benefits: This is the stinging nettle that farmers hate, hikers despise and children learn to avoid. But herbalists around the world fall at the feet of this green goddess. It is a vitamin factory, rich in iron, calcium, potassium, silicon, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and chromium, as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals. It makes a wonderful hair and scalp tonic, and activated the metabolism by strengthening and toning the entire system. It is useful for growing pains in young children, when their bones and joints ache. An excellent reproductive tonic for men and women, nettle is used for alleviating the symptoms of PMS and menopause. It’s a superb herb for the genital and urinary system and will strengthen weak kidneys, which are essential for vitality and energy. It is indicated for liver problems and is excellent for allergies and hay fever. All this and it tastes good, too!
Suggested uses: For any liver disorder, take nettle in tea, tincture or capsule form. To tone the nervous system, combine nettle in a tea with lemon balm, oats and chamomile. For reducing the symptoms of allergies and hay fever, take freeze-dried nettle capsules. For urinary health and for treating edema, drink several cups of nettle tea combined with dandelion greens. To combat reduced energy and sexual dysfunction, combine nettle in a tea with green milky oat tops and raspberry leaf. Fresh young nettle leaves have a rich green flavor and can be used to replace spinach in any recipe; but they must always be steamed well, or else they’ll sting if undercooked!