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May 18, 2013 / Fantelius

A Nettle Captured in a Ray of Sun

The stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, is also known as burn nettle, burn weed and burn hazel. It’s burn or sting comes from tiny hollow hairs that function as needles injecting a concoction of 4 to 5 irritating chemicals. Although the sting will irritate for several hours, it causes no harm and is even believed to be beneficial. It stimulates blood circulation and relieves symptoms of arthritis.

Cooking destroys the irritating chemicals and nettles can be used for medical purposes to improve the prostate function and increase testosterone. Blended with shampoo it adds glow to hair and prevents dandruff.

Its power as a nourishing food is unsurpassed in the vegetable kingdom. It’s a little powerhouse of vitamins A and C as well as containing iron, potassium, manganese, calcium and other elements. It can also, picked at the right time, boast 25% protein making it the most protein-rich plant in the world.

It can be eaten as a soup, a purée, a pesto or other special dishes throughout the world. The English even make a nettle beer.

Early spring is the best time to pick the young plants. With a little practice at grabbing the plant in an upward motion you can avoid the stick of upward angled needle hairs.

It is said that a bowl of nettle soup in the spring will keep you healthy until next year’s bowl. True or not, it’s a delicious and nourishing meal.



“A nettle can be a good friend.
Treat it right and it will treat you right.”
Dartwill Aquila

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