Wild stinging nettles is one of nature’s raw foods. This amazing little weed, that often annoys people holds many health benefits unknown to mankind!
The wild stinging nettle plant is a native to Europe, and the United States. This perennial has been used for treating anemia due to it’s high iron content, it is also used as an astringent, diuretic, and blood builder. People use the juice from it’s leaves or dry the leaves out for usage.
This plant has tiny little hairs that when touched inject a small amount of formic acid that creates a rather powerful stinging sensation. This sensation goes away after a few hours. But when the nettles are blanched or boiled the stinging is removed. And the green leaves can be eaten, this blanching process of one minute removes the sting totally.
A grazing animal will not feed on a live nettle. However once the nettle is mowed down and dried out, livestock will thrive on them in abundance. Horses get shiner coats, cows milk is richer, and hens lay more eggs when the dried powdered leaves are added to their food, and these eggs actually have a higher food value. To top it off, the manure produced makes a much healthier fertilizer as well.
You can also make a tea from the wild stinging nettles. People drink the tea to help treat menstrual bleeding, and to treat nosebleeds and hemorrhoids. You can also apply the juice from the leaves to cuts to assist in helping to stop bleeding.
Because of it’s high content of flavonoids and potassium, it can be used as a diuretic. The leaves made into tea aid in the coagulation and formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Some people even use it to treat kidney infections. Who would of thought that this nasty stinging nettle weed had so many purposes.
In the spring you may eat the nettle shoots to help clean the body of toxins. When cooked they have a nice nutty taste, and are full of carotene and vitamin C. They are excellent for treating inflammation of the kidney and urinary tract. For symptoms of gout and arthritis, nettle is recommended as it improves the excretion of uric acid. The lectins present in this plant appear to stimulate the immune system as well.
Stinging nettle Pesto Sauce.
First you need 6 cups of fresh nettles blanched in boiling water for one minute, then drained and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1/3 cup of pine nuts or walnuts
- ½ cup of vegan Parmesan cheese or regular Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
Put nettles, and remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until mixture is smooth, you may need to add more olive oil to get the right consistency.
Place in sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator, or freeze in individual ice cube trays and store in zip lock baggie in the freezer.
So you can see this detested weed that people normally avoid and associate with getting stung, is one of the most nutritious food in the plant kingdom. These greens are not only full of carotene and vitamin C, but they are also rich in chlorophyll, essential trace minerals, high in protein, and vitamin A.
The next time you find yourself wandering through a farmers field and stumble upon the stinging nettle, look at this weed in a different light. You may want to harvest some of it and bring it home, and introduce it to your kitchen table for your next feast!