Nettle Leaf / Urtica dioica
If you’ve ever been stung by Nettle you know the painful, burning, tingly sensation can last for hours. But did you know that Nettle’s sting was once used to help with pain? Urtication, or flogging the skin with Stinging Nettles, was an Ancient Roman practice used to help with arthritic or swollen joints. Formic acid is found in the tiny hairlike needles on Nettles and is what gives it its sting. The resulting rash was reported to improve circulation to the area and relieve aches and pain.
The use of Nettle goes back to Ancient Greece and Rome where more Nettles were cultivated than any other crop. They were and still are a very important part of European folk medicine. The whole plant (leaf, root, stalk, and seed) can be harvested for food, for its medicinal values, and much like hemp, the stalks were once one of the most important plants used in the manufacturing of textiles.
If you’re dealing with seasonal allergies, give Stinging Nettle a try to help alleviate your symptoms! Nettle can help drain fluids and tighten and tonify mucous membranes, while cooling inflammation and drying everything up. It is rich in flavonoids such as rutin and quercetin, making it an excellent choice in natural allergy formulas to help combat symptoms and decrease histamine.
Nettles are a nutritional powerhouse and make a wonderful tonic anytime of the year. They are rich in a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, chlorophyll, and Vitamins C and K, as well as antioxidants. You can add dried Nettle to soup, tea, and broth, and the fresh leaf can be harvested in the spring and used in cooking. Try it out in pesto or anywhere you would use spinach! The stings are broken down with heat and by drying. Just be careful and wear gloves when you harvest!
Nearly every system in the body can benefit from Nettles, which are generally safe and tolerated well by all. They are a great way to get your daily dose of calcium and help in strengthening your hair, skin, and nails. Nettles can have a diuretic effect to help flush toxins from the body and help tighten and tone tissue when there is simple edema or other congested fluids in the body. Nettles can also be beneficial for those experiencing frequent urinary tract infections.
At Peoples you can find Nettles in a variety of popular allergy formulas, in teas, and by itself by Gaia Herbs. Come by Peoples Rx to learn more about Nettles from our knowledgeable and helpful wellness team!
Laurène Elliott-Deyris is an Herbalist and Wellness Specialist at Peoples Rx. She received her training at The Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine in Austin and is furthering her clinical studies with the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine program out of North Carolina.
**This article is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before use.**
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