One of the most amazing herbs on Planet Earth has to be the common weed called stinging nettles. I use nettles regularly. It is like having herbal health insurance! Nettle is almost a panacea, with healing benefits for nearly every major body system - lymph, glandular, respiratory, skin, urinary, and cardiovascular. In the cardiovascular system its tonic and rejuvenating effects on the veins and arteries, along with its healing properties for the kidneys, make it a great herb to know.
One story about stinging nettles that's made an indelible impression on me is the one told in the book Song of the Seven Herbs by Walking Night Bear and Stan Padilla. It seems that originally wild nettles, now covered in stinging formic acid and other phytochemicals, looked completely different than the weedy green plant we know today. Nettle was a magically attractive plant, so obviously full of rich blessings that people and even animals took undue advantage of her, harvesting too much without gratitude or respect.She was bright and shining to look at - the color of gleaming gold (and we know how some people act around gold).
Finally nettles called out to Creator for help, concerned for her own life and well-being. Creator thought and thought, and finally turned nettles into her current form for her own protection, hiding her riches under scruffier, simpler green skin and irritating exudations. Nettles still gets to give her gifts to people, animals, and land, and so fulfill her purpose on Earth, but people can't simply come and take from her without gratitude and respect anymore. The story ends with a sentiment that now only those with the eyes to see are able to see nettles' true "heart of gold."
What a powerhouse! Nettle is a supremely chlorophyll-rich plant that generously proffers her dark-green healing virtues to everyone. High in mineral nutrients such as calcium and silica to support bones and joints, lungs and connective tissue, as well as vitamins A, C, E, and notably K, which helps prevent hemorrhage, nettle offers optimum nourishment. Nettle helps those moving through long-term illness and/or recuperating afterward. She contains highly assimilable iron and protein that offer daily sustenance and strength when someone feels weak and exhausted. Nettle helps the body fight a variety of infections by tonifying the lymph, lungs, and blood circulation. Nettle helps restore kidney function, and re-energizes depleted adrenal glands.
She rebuilds healthy hair from the shaft up, and helps in the creation of healthy boundaries too. She has a way of helping the body and psyche set so many different things right when they've gone wrong that I have to acknowledge it can sound unbelievable as you listen to a wise woman talking about nettles. But the truth is that, although it's not a magic bullet or cure - all plant, nettles is certainly a "cures-much" plant, and turns up in many healing stories throughout my book The Gift of Healing Herbs. Recipes containing nettles are found throughout, and here is one of the delicious, nutritious, and medicinal infusion recipes that use the combination of red, green, and yellow herbs that I particularly favor. Check back next week for another amazing recipe!
Great Way To Start The Day Infusion - Variation I
- 3/4 cup dried stinging nettles
- 1/2 cup dried hawthorn berries
- 3/4 cup dried sassafras leaves
Mix the herbs together in a half-gallon jar. Pour boiling water over them, and cap tightly. Leave out to steep on your counter overnight, or 8-12 hours. In the morning, squeeze out the plant material as fully as you can, and compost the herbs. Store the infusion in the refrigerator and heat on the stove to drink.
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