Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Part Used: Whole plant
Flavor/Aroma: Sweet, Salty
Energetics: Cooling, Drying
Nettle stands provide a nourishing habitat for over forty different species of insects, including butterflies and honey bees. Its attractive flowers and vibrant leaves provide more than pollen, but a myriad of medicinal benefits from its antioxidant properties to its blood building attributes, and much more.
Nettle can grow to reach heights of eight feet high, and will self-seed and spread easily when given the chance. Its leaves and stalks are covered in fine, hair-like spikes that can cause a bit of discomfort if not handled properly due to the folic acid inside these fibers. Nettle blooms with purple, delicate light green florals in the warmer months.5
Nettle is native Europe and the United States and thrives in wastelands, disturbed areas, and often found growing by a water source. Its uniquely flowering stalks attract hungry animals from near and far, but its built-in self defense mechanism of stinger like hairs that run along its leaves and spines, is able to ward off any hungry forager no matter their size. Take care when harvesting, and be sure to wear thick gloves to mitigate unwanted urtication- or stinging from the Nettle plant. All parts of the plant, including the seeds and roots, can be used for medicinal purposes.4
Nettle can be found growing voraciously along riverbanks, roadsides, rocky hills, and along hikes through the deep forests of this region. It will spread easily by seed and can be used as an alternative for spinach when cooking in the kitchen. It is also used often in pesto recipes, the stalks for cordage, and as a beautiful boundary plant for the garden to support the diverse pollinators in the Southern Oregon area.
American Native Uses: Nettle was used for its fibrous stalks to make strong cordage, and its long fibers were also woven and spun into thread or yarn that used to produce cotton-soft clothing as well as coarser fabrics. Nettle was also used to soothe muscular pains and aid in digestion. When fresh, it was also used as a dye for fabrics.
Beltane, a pagen springtime celebration, was said to host a variety of Nettle themed folklore, including the tradition that if stung by the Nettle on this holiday, it meant you were “stung by love”, as well as eating nettle soup three times in the month of May.
In Hungary, Nettle was carried in the pockets of travelers to protect them from lightning storms. Nettle was also used to as a general charm of protection amongst many cultures, protecting its wearer from evil spells, witchcraft, and sorcery.
As the doctrine of signatures suggests, which is a way to understand plants by their natural presentation, the stinging of the Nettle is used like a spiritual boundary as well; its physical ability to ward off predators suggests a strong protective energy can be sensed when using this medicine both internally and externally.5
Nettle is indicated to support alopecia, or the loss of hair in both male and females, by blocking the production of DHT, which is the hormone responsible for this action. It is also used to remedy kidney disorders such as atrophy and various disease states. Nettle is also shown to support inflammatory processes and can assist in cell repair due to its high levels of vitamins such as A, C, E, F, K, Zinc, Formic Acid, iron, B-complexes, calcium and much more. Michael Wood points out the benefits of Nettle as an antihistamine by supporting the liver's function of digesting proteins.5,6 It is also indicated to support internal wound healing, post surgery recovery, and other traumas of the body. Studies also suggest that Nettle may support diabetes, cardiovascular health, various cancers, and hypertension.1,2,3
Uses and Preparations:
Dried Herb Tea Preparation:
1 Tablespoon per cup of warm water.
Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds.
4-6 mL up to 4 times per day.
Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.
It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended usage amounts are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the usage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.
We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.
- El Haouari, M., Rosado, JA. (2019). Phytochemical, Anti-diabetic, and Cardiovascular properties of Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae): A Review. www.ncbi.nl.nih.gov/pubmed/30246639
- Affes, H., Ben Salme, M., Dhouibi, R., Hammami, S. Ksouda, K., Zeghal, KM. (June 1, 2019). Screening of pharmacological uses of Urtica dioica and other benefits. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31163183
- Bianco, A., Di Maro, A., Isernia, C., Esposito, S., Pedone, PV. (July 29, 2019). Therapeutic Perspectives of Molecules from Urtica dioica Extracts for Cancer Treatment. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31362429
- Urtica. (n.d.). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/urtica.html
- Nettle. (n.d.). www.herbrally.com/monographs/nettle
- Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal. North Atlantic Books, 2008.
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.