Stinging Nettles: A Hit in Native American Medicine

Staci Strauss

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Have you ever tried nettles tea? I began drinking stinging nettles infusions a couple of years ago and it is truly a soothing, comforting tonic for me.

I first read about nettles in one of my favorite books on herbs.

Porter Shimer’s tongue-in-cheek description of this powerful healing plant–he calls it a “hit” in Native American medicine–is due to the fact that if you hit yourself with the raw leaves–around your joints, it is said to relieve arthritis pain.

My current favorite blend is what I call my ladie’s tea- I add rose petals and dandelion root to dried nettle leaves for a loving cup of calm.

In Lisa Burgshmidt’s terrific article in Rustik Magazine, she delves deeper into the many benefits of adding stinging nettles to your repetoire of healing herbs.

She writes:

Some know them as a garden nuisance, but the flowering plants known as stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) have been used medicinally for centuries.

Nettles are known to treat: allergies, anemia, arthritis, bronchitis, burns and scalds, dandruff, fatigue, gingivitis, hair loss, internal bleeding, kidney stones, parasites, poor circulation, pre-menstrual syndrome, skin complaints, urinary tract infections, and more.

These gentle herbs assist the body with cleaning out metabolic waste. They are also full of vitamins (B1, B2, C & K), amino acids, minerals and chlorophyll, and are rich in natural antihistamines and high in iron. Nettles make a wonderful spring tonic for detoxifying sluggish and cranky livers.

Legend has it that soldiers during the First World War used to sting themselves with nettles to bring feeling back to their frozen hands and toes. The plants have been used topically to treat arthritis, as well.

Beyond their healing powers, nettles are delicious steamed, fried in butter, added to soups, or brewed as a simple infusion (tea) by pouring boiling water over them and steeping them for as little as 15 minutes or as long as overnight.

This article originally appeared on Rustik Magazine. It has been re-posted here with permission from the author.

You can read the rest of this article and see the recipes Lisa Burgshmidt gives us for stinging nettles many uses.

Have you ever used nettles as a remedy? How did you use them?

Photo credit: Staci Strauss