What are nettles?! Why would someone consume them? How do you get them and how do you incorporate them into your life?
The first documented use of Nettles was when Roman soldiers battled the cold by rubbing the leaves on their arms to induce inflammation and irritation. It has now spread across the world and has been used by medical practitioners since the 19th century because of its abundance of chemicals and compounds that can help the body function optimally.
According to Dr. Mercola:
Nettle contains vitamins C and K, B vitamins, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron, to name a few. It also has amino acids and antioxidants, which may help fight free radicals. Here are a few more health benefits you can get from this herb:
• Helps detoxify the body. Nettle is a diuretic, which means that it helps in flushing out harmful chemicals and excess liquids from the body. This herb has also been called a “spring tonic,” which is a substance intended to cleanse the body of toxins.
• Promotes healthy blood circulation and cardiovascular health. Nettle contains iron and vitamin C. Vitamin C improves the body’s absorption of iron, which aids in alleviating anemia and fatigue. This herb also contains a considerable amount of potassium, a mineral that reduces tension in your arteries and blood vessels, lowering your risk for strokes.
• Alleviates allergic reactions. While physical contact with the nettle leaf can cause allergic reactions, the ingestion of nettle tea is known to help dampen the body’s response to allergens by binding with the body’s histamine receptors. It can aid in the prevention of rhinitis, or the inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose.
• Reduces arthritis pain. The antioxidant properties of the nettle plant have been observed to help minimize inflammation. It can be used topically to help relieve joint pain as well.
So now the fun part: How do we get these amazing benefits?!
*Nettle Tea: Probably the most affordable and easiest way to consume nettles regularly. You can buy the dried herbs online or even from most crunchy grocery stores. Boil water and pour over desired amount of herbs. (Nettles aren’t bitter so you can go pretty heavy.) Let this steep covered overnight. This will ensure you extract the most amount of chlorophyll and nutrients. Drink the next day over ice or at room temperature.
*Nettle Supplements: You can also buy the herb powdered and put in to a gelatin capsule. This will cost a bit more but will also be convenient for those who maybe don’t have time for tea or who for some reason don’t like the flavor.
Cooking Nettles: This is the most time consuming way to get nettles in. I only recommend doing it in the spring when they are in season and when you have time and gloves on your hands. You can add them to soup, pesto, salad dressings or anything fermented. Just make sure they are cooked or pulverized so they don’t contain the stinging anymore.