Featured photo credit: Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism
It’s Springtime and that means our plant allies are beginning to make their appearance! The Herb of the Month for April is Urtica dioica, familiarly known as Stinging Nettle. You may also recognize other common names such as; Dwarf nettle, Nettle, Scaddie, or Herba Urticae.
The famous Stinging Nettle name comes from the stinging hairs beneath the leaves. The hairs are actually tiny silica crystals functioning as needles and injecting micro amounts of formic acid into the skin when the fresh herb is touched. Early spring is the best time to harvest Nettle leaves just before blooming, but make sure you have gloves on and properly identify this Urticaceae family herb. Once dried, most of the stinging properties subside and the plant becomes much easier the work with.
One must think, why would we ever con
sider this herb for medicinal use? Well, the formic acid does hurt when stung, however, several studies have shown its constituents may support a healthy inflammation response, healthy histamine response, healthy glandular support, and healthy sugar metabolism. Nettles is a common Nutritive herb used in herbalism; which is a fancy name for an herb containing lots of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A, C, and D along with the minerals Calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and silica belong to Nettle’s constituents or compounds.
Nettle has a historic list of uses and starts from topical application to lifestyle enhancement. Its astringent qualities are popular amongst body care products such as hair washes or clarifying agent in soaps. Traditionally, Native Americans used the stems for cordage because the high fiber content makes a strong rope much like hemp. The fresh aerial parts played a vital role in Native medicinal practice, particularly for skin ailments. Whipping or applying a prepared poultice onto an achy limb with Fresh plant material was common for attempting to alleviate achiness, however, the hives and extreme redness will come first from those pesky hairs. I wouldn’t suggest this unless one has an experienced nettle coach to guide them.
Modernly, we have come to use Nettle in tincture, hot infusions, and a wide range of delicious culinary recipes. I find it most interesting that Nettle emerges in early spring and is harvested at a time when our bodies need the most nourishment after winter. Plants have the habit of appearing when most useful and our ecological relationship is ongoing through each season of our lives.
Springtime also brings seasonal allergies our way and I can think of no better plant ally than Nettles during this time. Wish Garden’s hand-crafted formulas are carefully formulated to support your ecological relationship with plants!
Kick Ass Allergy is a seriously soothing solution for common seasonal discomforts and may be used for in the moment as well. Nettles pairs well here with Yerba Santa and Echinacea to support a healthy histamine response from pollens, molds, animal dander, and more! Nettle makes this formula body friendly and non-stimulating nor non-sedating. Check it out here:
Detox Cleanse is a tune up tonic to move the winter Gunk out! Nettles is working synergistically with Cleavers, Oregon Grape Root, and Burdock to supports natural cleansing and cellular health. It’s a gentle nutritive and detox for healthy liver and kidney function. Don’t forget to drink lot of water to move the fluid along and out. Grab this one here:
Lauren Ann Nichols attended The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism and received her certificate in medical herbalism. She is the owner of Herbal Vice, a small batch skincare company, and grows the herbs used in her products. She is currently a customer service representative at WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.