Everyone hates Stinging Nettle right? I used to as well. Walking through a patch of Stinging Nettle can be a real pain…literally. That’s because the little hypodermic pickers contain formic acid. They also contain histamine that is useful as a pain reliever in an oxymoron kind of way. Arthritis sufferers use the plant much in the same way honey bee stings are used to ease pain.
As I said, I used to hate Nettle, but that was before I ate some. Right now (April 8th), the Nettle is about 3″ tall and perfect for eating. I use gardening gloves that have rubber like covering. The Nettles can’t penetrate so I don’t get stung. I always break them off leaving the roots to re-sprout. Take them home and put them in a large bowl or pot of water and agitate them with a spoon to clean. Don’t forget and stick your hand in there and stir. You’ll only make that mistake once. Once clean use them as a pot herb. Boil for 5 minutes or so. Add vinegar and oil, salt and pepper then dig in. If you like cooked greens, you will like Stinging Nettle.
Keep in mind that both boiling and drying renders Stinging Nettle harmless to touch. You won’t get stung by the dried plants making tea, nor will you get stung eating the boiled tender greens.
Considering they contain pretty much every nutrient you can think of and a whole bunch you likely have never heard of, Nettle is worth the effort. They are high in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, manganese and calcium.
I also enjoy this Spring tea blend: All ingredients are dried. Stinging Nettle -2 cups, Violets (leaves and flowers) – 1 1/2 cups, Wild Mint – 1/2 cup, Purple Dead Nettle – 1/2 cup, Lemon Balm -1/2 cup. Sweeten with honey if desired. This is a very healthy cleansing tea and all the ingredients are available early in the Spring.
There are many things in nature that are unpleasant if approached without knowledge. But, God didn’t put things on Earth with no purpose. Look hard enough and you can find many positives in things you never thought possible. But then, with Stinging Nettle, you really don’t have to look all that hard.