How to Use Nettle and Maximize Its Power
Nettle is a plant that grows in the wild and is commonly considered a “weed” when it appears in gardens. Despite this, there’s proof that use can use nettle for a variety of medicinal purposes.
In addition to being a remedy for some ailments, it’s also long been a food that you can use to complement recipes for stews and soups.
Below, we’ll tell you more about all the benefits, as well as the different ways to use nettle.
Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a wild medicinal plant found in wet climates. You can also grow it yourself at home. It is used as a natural remedy for various health issues, both topically and orally.
Additionally, it works as a fertilizer and insecticide.
This medicinal plant is right in provitamin A, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids, mineral salts (magnesium, calcium, iron, sulfur, silica, copper, and potassium), organic acids, and other substances that may be useful.
Generally, its fresh leaves are used to prepare different recipes (both food and remedies), although its roots are also used (both grated and powdered).
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Can I pick it myself?
- The most important tip for picking nettle is to always stay away from areas treated with pesticides.
- It’s also very important to wear gloves if you’re going to do it yourself. Otherwise, it’ll sting.
- You can pick it all year round, but the best time of year is from spring to autumn.
- Pick just the upper leaves, about 4 or 5 of them; these are the most tender.
- If you’re going to be handling it, wait 12 hours for the stinging effect to go away.
Health properties of nettle
According to a document shared by the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO), nettle has several medicinal properties.
The anti-inflammatory properties of nettle make it an excellent treatment for all kinds of pain. Two effective ways of using it are to consume it or to apply it topically to the affected area.
Thanks to its iron, folic acid, vitamin C, and many other nutrients, nettle is perfect if you have anemia. You can also take advantage of it to prevent other fatigue-related symptoms.
Nettle contains different antioxidant compounds (such as flavonoids and polyphenols), which prevent or slow down the cellular aging that free radicals cause.
Can you use nettle to lower your blood sugar?
It’s said that drinking an infusion of its leaves can regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. However, there’s no scientific evidence to support these beliefs.
For your skin
In several regions, poultices and masks are prepared with nettle to alleviate certain skin problems, such as chilblains, eczema, superficial cuts, inflammations, and itching.
For your hair
Nettle treats dandruff, regulates the production of oil, and prevents hair loss.
In fact, you can use nettle tea concentrate to lighten your hair after washing it with your regular shampoo. Alternatively, you can look for products in the store that contain the plant.
It’s often said that this plant has a certain analgesic effect that helps to reduce joint and muscle pain.
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Drinking or consuming a preparation with nettle can be beneficial when you want to eliminate liquid retention, since it has a diuretic effect.
It’s also said that taking nettle in infusions and soups helps to expel mucus during colds and the flu.
According to beliefs, the consumption of nettle stimulates the production of breast milk during lactation. However, you shouldn’t consume it in any way during pregnancy, because it can induce uterine activity.
Important note: In several areas of the world, this plant’s been used as a contraceptive remedy and also as an abortifacient, so be very careful when consuming it if you’re pregnant or want to be.
This wild plant stimulates intestinal peristaltic movements and improves the function of the organs related to the intestine.
Therefore, it’s a great way to treat constipation without irritating your intestines like conventional laxatives usually do.
How do I use nettle?
- Tea: Make a tea out of the leaves — but don’t let it boil.
- Soup: Nettle soup is a very aromatic traditional dish.
- Salads and juice: Consume it raw by adding it to your salads or smoothies.
- Supplement: It can be found in capsules or tinctures.
Important note: It would be ideal to consult with your doctor before starting to incorporate nettle preparations into your diet. Especially if you wish to obtain any specific benefit. It’s not advisable to start consuming nettle without the authorization of the professional.