Herb of the Month – Stinging Nettle – Urtica dioica
Nettle is a powerhouse of antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients. It is used for seasonal allergies, to help balance blood sugar, for healthy skin and hair, as an anti-inflammatory, and a diuretic. The roots have been used for enlarged prostrate. The above-ground plant is a wonderful spring tonic and is one of my favorite herbs.
Nettle is one of those plants that is fairly easy to identify. If you brush up against it you will get a sting from the needle-like hairs that cover the plant. Cooking or drying nettles deactivates the sting. It is a nourishing tea and infusion ingredient. I also use nettles in pesto, soups, pasta, and more. Basically, for culinary uses, anywhere I would use cooked spinach. It doesn’t have much of a taste so add basil, parsley, or other herbs to add flavor. You can purchase dried nettles online or at your local herb store or grow your own patch from seed. Nettle likes rich, moist soils in part shade.
I harvest the nettle leaves with gloves before they flower and dry for tea, infusions, and hair rinse, using the fresh leaves for spring recipes. Get acquainted with this bristly, lovely, healing plant. Good for all that ails you.