Stinging nettle as medicine and food

Stinging nettle is one of the best medicinal plants. If the people would know how the stinging nettle is curative, they wouldn’t plant in their gardens anything else. But we can also use stinging nettle in the kitchen, in cosmetics or as a fertilizer in the garden.

Stinging nettle - its origin and visual aspects

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) is well known wild herb growing from 30 to 250 cm height. It has a rounded ovate and toothy, dark green leaves that burn when touched. Stinging nettle has its origins in Europe, Asia and North Africa. It blooms from June to October and it has greenish blooms in small overhanging inflorescences.

Where to find stinging nettle

Most often stinging occurs on the edges of forests, by the roads, fences, on gravel and on the piles of rubble. It grows from the lowlands to the mountains. Stinging nettle prefers shady places and moist soil rich in nitrogen. Nettle is classified as a weed. If we want to breed stinging nettle, only one sowing is needed and then the plants sown itself. It also spread out with root sprouts.

When harvest stinging nettle

The best time for culling the stinging nettles is the spring. The young shoots are harvested from March to April, but if you mow stinging nettle, it can be harvested almost year round. We use a maximum of 4-6 highest leaves including petiole and the stem itself. Roots and seeds are picked from August to November.

Drying nettle

Root of stinging nettle is dried in the sun, the higher parts of the plants are dried in bunches hanged in a dry and shaded place. Dried nettles are stored in canvas bags.

Stinging nettle in superstitions

From region Slánsko originate this superstition: during the Valpružina night (30th of April) the damsels were digging out the tufts of stinging nettle. Then they plant one stinging nettle in each house in the scuttle filled with sand and with the name of the housewife on it. Then they placed the scuttle into the basement and in the morning on May 1st, before sunrise, they went to look at a stinging nettle. If the nettle withered, it was a sign that the housewife will die within a year.

Stinging nettle draped in a house was in the past considered as a powerful protection against all diseases. If someone got sick yet, he was whipped by stinging nettle.

Stinging nettle contains the effectual substances

The stinging nettle has important medicinal effects and therefore it is a surprising source of food with many advantages. For example, the protein stinging nettle contents excesses almost twice the amount of protein contents of soybeans. It also contains a large amount of minerals Ca, Mg, K, P, and Fe. Stinging nettle also contains of vitamin C, B, carotene, chlorophyll, tannins, cellulose acetylcholine, carbohydrates, proteins and many others.

The health benefits of nettle

Stinging nettle has a cleansing, detoxifying, astringent, tonic and anti-rheumatic effects and it also lowers blood pressure. It is used for curing gout and atherosclerosis. Stinging nettle is antiseptic, antiviral and is very good remedy against cough. It is also appropriate for diabetics, as it reduces blood sugar levels. Its effect on stomach and liver are very favourable, it encourages digestion, bile secretion and emptying of the bowel. Stinging nettle is given for blood formation in cases of anaemia. Stinging nettle also helps heal internal bleeding. It is used against flu, it cures urinary and respiratory organs. Stinging nettle helps revitalize metabolism especially in the spring.

For inner use we use the decoction of the roots and higher parts of stinging nettle, for external use it is infusions, decoctions and tinctures from the roots. For wasp stings are very good macerated leaves.

Stinging nettle in the garden

Stinging nettle is a very useful plant in the garden. You can make a nettle tincture that works as a very good fertilizer for plants and trees. It also repels aphids and caterpillars. Stinging nettle left free to grow somewhere in the corner of the garden provides a haven for butterflies. Their caterpillars feed on stinging nettles. You can also mulch stinging nettle in beds. It is suitable for all cultivated plants. Stinting nettle can be also added into compost.

Stinging nettle in cosmetics

Stinging nettle is used to prevent loss and strengthen hairs. Stinging nettle hair tonic suppresses itching scalp and dandruff. It returns gloss to dark hair and darken light hair.

The use of nettles in the kitchen

Stinging nettle leaves are prepared similar as spinach. You can use it in risotto, into dough for dumplings and noodles or you can prepare soup from it. You can add it into potato pancakes, omelettes, pasta, pies and stuffing and also with cheese on pizza. Stinging nettle can be eaten even raw, but it is necessary to chop it finely or rumple it with rolling pin to ruin the stinging hairs. We can add raw stinging nettle, for example, to various spreads. Dried stinging nettles are used as spices or as a herbal tea. Stinging nettle can be frozen for later use. Stinging nettle seeds, roasted in butter are delicious titbit and food additive. Stinging nettle can even add in sweet dishes, as cakes, waffles, etc. We can also prepare from stinging nettle recuperative and cleansing drinks and syrups.

Spring detoxification and stinging nettle

Stinging nettle helps in the spring to detoxify the organism. Prepare it as follows: boil 50 g of roots and leaves of stinging nettle in 1 litre of water for 4 minutes. Drink a decoction 4-6 times a day for 3 weeks, 1 cup in the morning on a empty stomach and 1 cup before bedtime. During the program, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and reduce the protein intake.

Infusions, drinks, syrups, waters and tincture of nettle

The juice from stinging nettle

It's great against spring fever. Prepare it only from the tops of young stinging nettles, which are finely washed. Liquidize it, strain the juice and add sugar and lemon. Drink it watered down in half with water. Keep it in the refrigerator.

Drink from stinging nettle

This drink cleanses the blood and rid the body of harmful substances. Dig out young spring stinging nettles with root and wash it finely, pour boiled water and leave to stand for 24 hours. Then strain through a fine sieve. Drink it for next three following days.

Stinging nettle tea and stinging nettle infusion

2 teaspoons of chopped fresh or dried stinging nettle pour with ¼ litre of water and let it boil. Then remove it from heat, let it stand for 10 minutes, strain it and drink. Drink this tea in case of anaemia, it also prevents against cold and flu or externally against the rashes, hives and hair loss.

Stinging nettle tincture

Clean stinging nettles roots well and chop them finely. Put them in an earthen vessel and pour alcohol mixed equally with boiled water. Close it and let stand in a dark room for 4 weeks. Shake the vessel every day. Then strain it and pour into bottles.

Stinging nettle hair tincture

Pour 2 tablespoons of fresh stinging nettle leaves and roots with 5 tablespoons of alcohol and stand for 1-2 weeks in a closed container in a sunny location. After that strain it and dilute with ¼ litre of boiled water. Use tincture for massaging the scalp. It helps prevent hair loss.

Stinging nettle hair tonic

Pour 1 handful of dried stinging nettle with ¼ litre of boiling water, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes, then strain. Rinse with this decoction hair after washing.

Stinging nettle cure for hair

Pour 200 g fresh nettle leaves with 1 litre of water, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and cook everything for 5 minutes. Then let it stand for a while, strain and use to rinse hair every night for 14 days. A decoction last for up to 2-3 days, then prepare new fresh batch. This cure is suitable to prevent hair loss. Dark hair get lustre look and light hair become little bit darker.

A decoction from stinging nettles to prevent hair loss

Pour handful of fresh nettles with boiling water and let it souk for 20 minutes. Then add the juice of 1 lemon and strain it. Use 1 tablespoon per day. This decoction can be used for massaging the scalp.

Stinging nettle Syrup I.

Wash thoroughly 80 young stinging nettles (about 20 cm high), drain it and pour in 4 l of boiled lukewarm water. Leave it soak for 24 hours in water. Then strain the water and heat it up to 80 ° C, add 4 kg of granulated sugar, 100 g of citric acid and 1 dl rum. Strain it off. Take 1 tablespoon a day.

Stinging Nettle Syrup II.

Pour 250 g fresh leaves of stinging nettles with 1.5 litres of water and bring to a boil. Then leave it in water for 12 hours. Strain the water and throw away the stinging nettles. Add 500 g of sugar into stinging nettle water and boil it until it is thick syrup. Then pour into the bottle. Take 3 times daily 1 tablespoon.

Nettle syrup III.

Wash thoroughly 80 nettles (about 20 cm high), pour 3.5 litres of water, and add 20 g of citric acid and 4 slices of lemon (with peel). Boil everything briefly and leave it in water for 24 hours. Then squeeze it and strain it. Add 3.5 kg of sugar, stir until it is melted and then pour it into bottles. Use this syrup for sugaring tea or take 1 tablespoon a day as prevention.

Recipes from nettles

Stinging nettle soup I.

Steam fresh young leaves of stinging nettle with boiling water and cool it down immediately with cold water. Remove leafs, cut them to pieces, add water and bring to a boil. This is the base of stinging nettle soup. We can add to taste root vegetables, potatoes and onion roux. Season it with salt, pepper and your favourite spices. You can thicken it with cream or soften it with butter.

Stinging nettle soup II.

Fresh, finely chopped leaves fry in olive oil or ghee with onion and garlic. Pour in water and cream, then whisk into cream, season with salt and pepper. As a side dish you can use bread cubes fried in butter with garlic. The soup has a mild flavour reminiscent of oysters.

Stinging nettle spinach

Steam fresh young leaves of stinging nettles in boiling water and then cool down immediately with cold water. Drain it and meanwhile fry finely chopped onion. Add the stinging nettles, you can also add cream. At the end add pressed garlic and spices.

Stinging nettle spread

Prepare it by mixing finely chopped nettles with goat cheese, a little bit of garlic and olive oil.

Stinging nettle as the brains

A handful of finely chopped nettles simmer with 60 grams of fat (ghee is suitable), add 3 eggs and stir, season with salt and pepper.


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