It can be said about nettle that it is one of the wonder plants that nature has gifted us with. It is renowned because of its astringent, expectorant, tonic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic properties and as an important source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, C and E, iron, calcium, phosphates and minerals. All these qualities recommend it as a powerful remedy against hepatic, arthritic or rheumatic conditions, and as an adjuvant in treating allergies, anemia and kidney diseases.
In historical terms, it seems that nettle (Urtica Dioica) has been used since prehistoric times. In Denmark, a tissue of this plant was found in a tomb dating from the Bronze Age. There is evidence that in the Neolithic era, the nettle’s stem has been used to make strings. It is also a known fact that Caesar’s Roman troops brought nettle from England. Because of the uncommon properties of nettle fibers, it has also been used in the textile industry; for example the uniforms of the German army during the First World War were made out of nettle.
Nettle contains a great number of amino acids, glucidic substances, amines, sterols, cetones as methyl heptenone, acetophenone, volatile oil, fatty substances, sitosterols, formic and acetic acid, panthotenic acid, folic acid, chlorophyl 0.3 – 0.8, protoporphyrine and coproporphynine. It also contains vitamins C, B2 and K, beta-carotene, Ca, Mg, Fe and Si salts, phosphates etc. Because of these compounds, the plant has anti-anemic, anti-diabetic, haemostatic and diuretic properties.
Perhaps the most well known property of nettle is that it stings. It is said that if it hadn’t been so, the plant would not have lasted through time. As a matter of fact, the Swiss priest, Kunzle, shows that nettle would have been destroyed by insects and animals by now, had it not defended itself by stinging. However, folk medicine has proved the usefulness of this property: fresh nettle leaves placed on the skin, and especially on the kidney area (a practice named urticaria) induces a stinging and burning sensation, with the effect of easing more profound rheumatic pains.
In the present we can enjoy all benefits of this wonder-plant through the various brews and recipes. Here are some of them:
Nettle tea it cures diseases and inflammations of the urinary system, and also urinary retentions. It has a slightly laxative effect, being recommended in depurative remedies. For hepatic, biliary diseases as well as for conditions of the spleen, the treatment with nettle tea will last for a number of weeks. Nettle tea can also be of great help to those who suffer from diabetes, because it leads to the decrease of blood sugar and implicitly, of the glycemic level. It is useful in eliminating viruses, and bacterial infections. Preparation: the tea can be prepared through soaking the fresh or dried leaves in boiled water. This method allows the retention of active substances.
Washing the scalp with nettle (leaves or roots) infusion helps regenerate, grow and thicken the hair. Preparation: to prepare the infusion, mix 60g of finely crushed nettles with two and a half cups of water. The mixture is boiled, and then covered for 10 minutes. It can be consumed either hot or cold.
It eliminates dandruff and leaves the hair silky. Moreover, this strengthens and revitalizes the hair. Preparation: leave six-seven fresh leaves or two spoons of the dried plant to macerate in half a liter of alcohol for ten days. The mixture is then used to rub the hair root.
For hypertension drink half a glass right before the most important meals. It has the effect of regulating arterial pressure and straightening blood vessels. In case of renal insufficiency, one glass of nettle juice per day should be consumed in the morning after waking up. The diet lasts for 20-30 days. In case of anemia and demineralization – consume one-two glasses of nettle juice for two weeks. Preparation: gather the nettle leaves and stem and put them into the fruit juicer. The paste is then filtered and the resulting juice is kept cold in the refrigerator in dark colored bottles.
Follow a 60 day treatment against frail, dry hair, during which half a teaspoon of root powder is administered three times a day on an empty stomach. Preparation: the dried nettle roots are finely crushed using an electric coffee grinder.
Nettle helps strengthen the immune system, annihilating the predisposition towards colds. Anemia, fatigue, exhaustion and other effects of stress can be fought if we add nettle, rich in iron and mineral, to our daily nutrition or to the periodic remedies we undergo.