I’m endlessly amazed by the bounty Mother Nature provides for us! It’s why Chinese herbal medicine has been so successful for centuries, and it’s why we all love food made with delicious herbs like rosemary and dill (like these Dill Garlic Avocado Canapés).
Stinging nettle is one of those herbs you have been taught to avoid since you were a child, as they can cause serious pain if you grasp the stalk and get stung by the nettles. But did you know that the plant offers a surprising number of health benefits? Read on to find out just what the amazing little herb can provide…
What’s in Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is a simple plant, made almost entirely of complex sugars and carb-binding proteins named lectins. However, within the structure of the plant are nutrients called prostaglandins, which help to reduce irritation, inflammation, and redness. You’ll find that the anti-inflammatory properties of stinging nettle make it a very effective remedy (read more about this below…).
The leaves of the nettle plant are also nutrient rich, containing high quantities of minerals like phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, and even protein. You’ll find that the leaves are loaded with beta-carotene — a form of Vitamin A that’s easily absorbed into your body — as well as Vitamins A, C, D, and a whole host of B vitamins.
Benefits of Nettle
Reducing Blood Pressure — A university in Italy discovered that nettle had a relaxing effect on your blood vessels. This relaxation of the arteries and veins caused a decrease in blood pressure, thereby reducing a number of fairly serious heart risks.
Increase Immunity — Nettle extract has proven to be useful in combating microorganisms that attack agriculture and ruin crops. Not only does the extract attack these organisms on plants, but also in the human body. A Dutch study found that the extract attacked harmful organisms in the body, eliminating them and working alongside the immune system. Studies conducted in Russia found that nettle tea was an effective immune system booster.
Promote Prostate Health — Treating an enlarge prostate requires different methods than preventing prostate problems does. German researchers found that the unique properties in nettle were able to treat the enlarged prostate, reducing swelling and limiting the damage done to the gland.
Fight Allergies — For those with hay fever, stinging nettle tea can be a useful treatment. Taking it upon experiencing the very first symptoms of the allergy can help to reduce the problem, easing the symptoms noticeably.
Fight Pain — Stinging nettle contains special properties that help to dampen pain and decrease pain signals being sent to the brain. Taking the extract orally can help to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, which is why the remedy is used alongside many conventional medications. Thanks to the fact that the stinging nettle contains anti-inflammatory properties, it can reduce the pain of arthritic swelling and ease discomfort.
Nourish the Kidneys and Liver — For those with serious health problems, stinging nettle can be a very helpful remedy. Thanks to the fact that it’s a highly nourishing tonic for the kidneys and liver, stinging nettle can reduce problems like gout, bladder problems, toxicity in the liver, kidney stones, and many more.
The Tricky Part: Preparing Stinging Nettles
If you’ve ever grabbed a stinging nettle, you know how painful it can be to be stung by the plant. How the heck are you supposed to make it into a tea if you can’t even touch it?
If you are suffering from arthritic pain in your hands, it’s a good idea to touch the stinging part of the plant. The prick will provide the anti-inflammtory, analgesic effect that you want, and can ease the pain.
If you are making a tea, very carefully pick the leaves without touching the stalk. You can then use the leaves to make your tea.