Natural Remedy Tips #12 – Stinging Nettles

Posted on October 23, 2007
Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Another alternative cure in the form of a plant that you’ll find in most gardens, often as an unwanted weed is the common stinging nettle (urtica dioica).

The stinging nettle has a very long history acting as a healing plant and alternative cure for many ailments. The common use for the stinging nettle is as a potherb which is used in soups and stews as well as to make delicious nettle tea.

While nettles are simple to use, be careful when picking as the leaves contain tiny stinging barbs that will irritate the skin. The sting is rendered harmless by drying or applying heat, so cooking the young leaves or pouring boiling water on stinging nettle leaves and stalks is the best way to get the full benefit from this plant.

Again, care should be observed by only use the young leaves from the top of the plant (nettle tops). This is because the older lower leaves contain gritty particles (called cystoliths) that can irritate the kidneys.

Use a standard basic soup recipe, chop and add the young nettle tops and boil for an additional ten minutes to make a delicious and highly nutritious soup. Nettle soup is easily digested and high in minerals (especially iron) and vitamins (especially A and C).

Nettle tea is also easy to make by infusing the young leaves for about five minutes in boiled water. This tea has traditionally been used as a cleansing tonic and blood purifier.

Nettle tops are best harvested in May or June just as the plant is coming into flower. They can be dried and stored for later use.

The Health Benefits of Stinging Nettles:

The whole plant is anti-asthmatic, anti-dandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating, invigorating vitamin and mineral packed tonic.

Stinging nettle juice benefits are derived from the juice from the stem and can actually be used as an antidote to the stinging leaves themselves. An infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns.

Stinging Nettles as Alternative Cures:

  1. An Internal Tonic and Alternative Cure: Taken internally, an infusion of nettle top is useful in stemming internal bleeding. It can also be used as a treatment for hay fever, arthritis, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, rheumatism and anaemia.
  2. An External Skin Tonic: Externally, the leaves can be pulped or infused in boiling water as a rinse which can be used to treat skin complaints (especially eczema) sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids and hair and scalp problems such as dandruff.
  3. To Treat Dandruff: Make a hair wash from the infused leaves and this is used as a dandruff treatment. Wash the hair with very mild shampoo, then use the nettle wash as a rinse making sure it is rubbed well into the scalp.
  4. Arthritis and Rheumatism: Wearing stout gloves, rub or beat fresh nettles leaves directly onto the skin to treat arthritis and rheumatism in the affected area. This practice known as urtification will create intense irritation to the skin as it is stung by the stingers in the nettle leaves. The belief is that this treatment acts as a counter-irritant, attracting more blood to the area to help remove the toxins causing the problem. The formic acid contained in nettles is also believed to have beneficial effects upon the rheumatic joints.

So don’t rip up and throw away those stinging nettles from your garden. Create an area that they can thrive and you’ll have another corner of your garden to use as natures own alternative cures clinic!

Lastly, as you only use the tops of the plant, the lower stalks and leaves have one last and very important benefit for your garden. When chopped up and spread onto your compost heap, they work as one of natures best compost activators and help to get the heap into life and decomposing perfectly! If you need some natural plant fertilizer a little sooner, then just place some of the same lower stalks and leaves into a bucket, fill it with rainwater, wait a couple of weeks. Take out the plants and throw them onto the compost heap as before and use the remaining water as a liquid feed for your potted plants!

Terry Didcott
Alternative Cures


2 Responses to “Natural Remedy Tips #12 – Stinging Nettles”

  1. Molly on April 9th, 2009 5:21 pm

    Thank you SO much. i am doing a prodject on natural stinging nettle cures and this was very helpful

  2. theresa redden on August 19th, 2009 7:55 pm

    thanks for infomation!! i didnt know not to use the whole plant- so just the tops!! thanks again