Nettles are an amazing plant with a lot of health benefits, they are definitely a super wild food! They are common in North America and Europe and love moist areas close to water. Nettles also help to clean contaminants from the soil, so make sure to harvest from a place that is unpolluted.
When harvesting, never take more than you need, and never have it noticeable that you have harvested there – aka don’t take a lot and don’t waste.
Nettles are highly nutritious and full of minerals. They boost energy and can help with anaemia, hypothyroidism, kidney stones, UTI’s, allergies, arthritis, inflammation just to name a few. There is so much you can do with Nettles from tea to soup, to steaming them, to cake, to pesto. They have a mild taste and so they are not as overpowering as dandelion which makes them a bit more versatile (depending on your tastes).
Nettles energetics are salty, cooling and drying. This means that nettles help provide minerals and nourishment to the body that may have been depleted over time. You may notice an increase in energy because of this. Nettles are cooling, so if your feeling very cold this is not the best herb for you at the moment. As well, Nettle is a diuretic and will remove excess water from the system, if you have dry skin, or feel generally dry and dehydrated, again best to avoid right now. If you would like to read more about Nettles you can click here.
Nettles are great for Pitta and Kapha doshas, not recommended for Vata because it is drying and cooling.
Spring is the time of Kapha (excess fat and mucous) being removed from the body. It is in the spring that young nettles sprout up from the ground making their way up towards the light. How timely, as Nettles dry excess dampness from the body and help with detoxification. Amazingly enough, spring is damp and it is the time for our bodies to detox! Nature is so intelligent!
Nettles are amazing, but they also sting. Please be careful and wear gloves and research how to harvest them properly.
In my experience, the Spirit of nettle is graceful, magical and beautiful. I see her as a water goddess that flows with her surroundings and breaks up what is stagnant and blocked. She brings new life to everything she touches. Her rich green blood is so nourishing and she gives this as a gift to us so that in turn we can nourish our own blood. She is prickly if we approach her too quickly or without respect, but if we learn how to interact with her she is willing to help and loves to be of service. This to me says that a person who has issues with boundaries and often feels overwhelmed could benefit from working with the Spirit of Nettle. Another example would be a person that may be snappy because they are trying to protect themselves from too much happening and don’t feel in control of a situation and therefore react harshly. It is not that they are essentially ‘bitchy’ or ‘snappy’ but that they may not have the amount of energy needed to deal with the situation or feel safe in that environment or perhaps not respected. Adjustments need to be made so that they can feel safe and centred in themselves. Working with the spirit of Nettle may give them some insights into how to run their energy more effectively.
I made this Nettle pesto, and it was so good that it disappeared in one sitting. If you like the magic of nettle, you will probably love this recipe.
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups nettle (when it’s been steamed, it will be about a large salad bowl full before its steamed)
- 2 handfuls of pine nuts
- 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
- 1/2 (or 1/3 if you prefer less) cup of olive oil
- A handful of frozen green peas or fresh if you’re lucky!
- package of pasta – I used organic rice penne
- salt and pepper
- a little bit of water
- Put water to boil and add the pasta when boiling and reduce to a medium heat. Let them cook. In the meantime do the rest.
- Wash the nettle and put it in a pot to steam for 2 minutes. This deactivates the sting.
- Put the garlic, pine nuts into a food processor or use a mortar and pestle and grind it up, until small pieces.
- Add the nettle in with the garlic and pine nuts. Add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper and grind until you have the desired consistency.
- Put the peas in a saucepan with a touch of water to dethaw them and have them cook slightly. Add the noodles and the pesto and mix.
The pesto can be eaten on top of sandwiches, used as a topping on other dishes or you can add noodles like I have done and get the benefits of this amazing plant Italiano style.