Nettles - The Survivor
Serpentine & green grandmother sits by the fire
I ask her what she's cooking -
She keeps working with a silent smile as if to say - "Not yet..."
We drink nettles infusions almost every day, and the more I spend time with her the more I am in awe. As nutritious as mother's milk, her disciplined sting reminds us to honor all the gifts she gives us and that gifts that we give the world. She teaches us to nurture ourselves and our environment - she teaches us that we have the capacity to transform ourselves and our world.
She is the ally of many herbalists, and when she first came to me, she came as a grandmother figure cooking over the fire. When I asked her what she was cooking - she remained silent, mysteriously hovering, working, stirring. I had so many questions for her, but I suddenly knew the work she was doing was in the place beyond words, after words, before words. She did her work with clarity and wisdom, but she didn't need to comment on it. She just needed me to pay attention.
Nettles grows in many different environments and grows prolifically, especially in soggy, wet earth. Wherever she grows, she increases the fertility of the soil. She can be cooked and eaten like spinach (yummy) or taken as tincture or tea. The plant has very strong fibers that have been used to make cloth. It is said that the nettle's touch will 'sting you into action', stimulates circulation and relieves arthritis pain. Romans used to whip themselves with Nettles if they had lost feeling in a limb in order to 'sting it back into action'.
She is a superpower spring clean that nourishes, strengthens and balances the body. Nettles is high in Vitamins A & C, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, zinc, potassium, phosphorous and silicon (wow). The iron content can be supportive of conditions like anemia (or people like myself who tend towards anemia even without a formal diagnosis). The urticin content has been shown to help balance blood sugar (hypo- & hyper-).
Nettles creates an anti-histaminic response in the immune system, which can calm allergic reactions, seasonal allergies and lung or skin irritations. Apply nettles juice or tea to bleeding cuts, haemorrhoids, nosebleeds, burns, bites & stings. As a cream, it can be used for skin conditions like eczema. Is there anything she can't do?
The list goes on. Her diuretic properties can flush acid from inflamed joints, congestion from the kidney and urinary systems (including the prostate) and support detoxification of the liver. She helps cure vaginal infections such as candida, temper excessive menstrual flow and increase milk production in nursing mothers.
As I mentioned, we drink simple nettles infusion every day, sometimes with red raspberry. Some of my projects for next year include learning how to make nettles soap and a nettles burn cream. I also keep Nettles in a pouch around my neck while working to help ground me and focus my attention.
Take some time to visit with the awe-inspiring Nettles. You'll be glad you did.