Stinging nettle are mineral rich, anti-inflammatory and exceptional at supporting the body’s own healing super powers. They can be found all over North America where the moisture levels are right. Nettles prefer dappled sun and are found on the edges of the woods, near moist, damp conditions, with ample fertility. Use these stinging nettle recipes for fast relief of seasonal allergies and inflammation.
I’ve been outside a lot this week getting the garden ready to plant for spring. Our last frost date isn’t usually till June 10th or so, but a lot of our vegetables and herbs can already be planted. In preparation for this we are adding new garden beds in an area that was once the sheep winter paddock. Can you say “weeds” er I mean medicinal herbs? That’s right. There’s lots of nettles, dandelions, mullein, and even mallow and burdock.
Yesterday Robin came in with a gift. A whole laundry basket full of stinging nettles. Yes, he picked them and even got a few stings, because he knew how thrilled I’d be with so many good nettles. These were a bit longer than the ideal spring greens but they still worked for “spinach” for dinner. It just meant wearing thick rubber gloves and removing the leaves from the stems before cooking them.
Once I put aside the dinner leaves, I washed them and put more leaves in the dehydrator on low, for winter use. I also set aside the roots for a manly tincture. Nettle roots can prevent prostate enlargement and are prescribed in the European pharmacopoeia for this. They are also prescribed for PCOS.
Stinging Nettle Benefits
The leaves are an important nutritive herb, rich in minerals, especially magnesium. Tea made from nettle leaves is a useful diuretic, detoxifier, and anti-inflammatory. It is recommended for eczema to help detoxify the liver and help the skin heal.
Stinging Nettle Herbal actions: Anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, mild hypoglycemic, diuretic, anti-hemorrhagic, hemostatic, detoxifier, vasodilator, circulatory stimulant, hypotensive, nutritive, galactagogue, astringent, expectorant, anti-allergic, reduces BPH, anti-rheumatic.
Stinging nettle can lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, act as a diuretic, reduce pain and inflammation, halt the enlargement of the prostate, detoxify the liver, and help with allergy symptoms.
Stinging Nettle Tincture for Hay Fever
This stinging nettle recipe is inspired by Devon Young’s book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary (2019, Page Street).
Fresh nettles have natural histamine that binds to the histamine receptors in your body and block their responses.
A tincture made with the FRESH leaves has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine benefits and is useful for spring allergies. This is also useful for inflammation and joint pain from over-doing it in the garden.
To make this natural stinging nettles allergy supplement:
Fill a quart jar with 4 cups of fresh nettle leaves, chopped. (wear gloves when you prepare them.)
Add 1/4 cup local bee pollen
Pour 3 cups of brandy or vodka over the top.
Cap tightly. Place in a dark cupboard. Shake the bottle as often as your think of it. Steep for 30 days. Strain.
Bottle in an amber glass bottles. Shelf life: 1 year.
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon 3 times daily for adults;
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon 3 times daily for children 6 to 12.
- 5 drops to 10 drops, 3 times daily for children 2 to 5
Nettle Salve for Arthritis and Joint Pain
A salve made by infusing dried nettle leaves in a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or extra virgin olive oil, is scientifically demonstrated to relieve joint pain and arthritis inflammation. Use 7 parts infused oil to 1 part beeswax to make the salve.
Yield: 4 ounces
- 7 tablespoons Nettle Infused Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon beeswax
Make a double boiler using a glass measuring cup. Place the ingredients inside the glass measuring cup.
Simmer over medium heat until the beeswax is melted. Stir to combine. Pour in salve tins. Allow to cool naturally. Complete lids. Label and date.
Apply to sore joints and inflammation, as needed.
A word of warning: Stinging nettle leaves have tiny hairs. When the plant is fresh those hairs act like hypodermic needles injecting your skin with fomic acid. But once they are dry the pain of the sting is gone. Conventional wisdom says they can be safely handled with bare hands. However, the tiny hairs remain. Use gloves when stuffing dried nettles into jars. The irritating hair can trigger burning sensations even if the uticaria rash doesn’t happen.
More about The Backyard Herbal Apothecary
Devon Young’s book The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, Effective Medicinal Remedies Using Commonly Found Herbs and Plants, (Page Street, 2019) is an exceptionally beautiful herbal as all Page Street Publishing herb books have been to date. In the book, clinical herbalist Devon Young identifies common North American herbs and lists their benefits and uses. Each entry includes practical ways to use these herbs in easily accessible DIY herbal medicine.
No fancy equipment or techniques are needed to master any recipe in this handy guide. If you have glass jars, measuring spoons, pots, and pans you can make any recipe in the book. And not only do you already have the equipment, you also probably have many of the herbs in this book already growing near you.
The book is organized by eco-systems including: forest and meadow, marshland and waterside, grassland and sun, and the kitchen herb garden. With herbs like elderflower, common daisy, stinging nettle, dandelion, and plantain, this book will give you self reliance on your health and help you learn herbal medicine best practices in a painless and enjoyable way.
This is the first book by clinical herbalist and author Devon Young. Devon is the founder of the blog, Nitty Gritty Life. She has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from The American College of Healthcare Sciences. She writes with authority and experience, but makes herbs easy to understand and most importantly to create with. Any intimidation you may feel about working with herbs and making herbal medicine will leave you with this book in hand. Devon’s book is a pleasure both to the eyes and to the mind. I’m looking forward to her next book.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. This review is my honest opinion of the book.