Weeding… One of the least enjoyable activities on earth, for me anyway.
As a kid I used to loathe it… but as my parents paid me a whole dollar per hour to rip those bad boys out of the garden, it was high up on my to do list!
I still hate them today, but these days as our Healthy Patches are weed free, the only weeds in our lives are the ones I plant myself.
Yep – I plant weeds!
But not the boring kind that takes up your time & makes you feel incredibly frustrated.
The kind that is loaded with health benefits & would kind of almost be silly not to grow 😉
You see… not all weeds are created equally!
Cue in Stinging Nettle.
A beautiful weed (which is actually a herb!) known for its tiny needle covered leaves (that’s the stinging bit!).
Stinging Nettle has been used as medicine for thousands of years & Hippocrates had over 60 uses for it, seriously!
Not only is Nettle amazing for you, but it’s super easy to prepare & tastes good too! But we’ll get to that in a minute…
First off, here is why you should start including it in your diet…
The incredible health benefits of Nettle
1. It’s a POWERFUL detoxifier – Stinging nettle has a history of being used a diuretic, it also has a laxative effect which helps to clear waste from the body – especially the blood & kidneys.
2. It builds your blood – Stinging Nettle is rich in chlorophyll – An amazing nutrient that is very similar to haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying molecule in our bodies – & so it helps to increase red blood cell count which is so important for overall oxygen levels in the body!
3. It contains Scopoletin – Scopoletin is a powerful phytochemical that has been shown to regulate blood pressure & stop the reproduction of Staphylococcus & Streptococcus, two types of bacteria that can lead to serious health issues when they begin to multiply.
4. It helps reduce anxiety & depression – Scopoletin found in Stinging Nettle is also able to regulate the production of serotonin. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, appetite & sleep patterns.
5. It helps joint pain – Stinging Nettle contains some powerful anti-inflammatory properties & has been shown to help with auto immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, a condition where the joints become inflamed.
6. It provides relief from eczema – Stinging Nettle has been shown to be a natural treatment for eczema due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
7. It provides relief from gout – Gout is a crippling condition that’s caused by a build-up of uric acid in the joints. Stinging Nettle can help the body to excrete excess uric acid, helping to provide relief from gout.
8. It helps with prostate gland issues – Stinging Nettle has been shown to help men with an enlarged prostate & is even able to slow or stop the spread of cancer cells.
9. It provides relief from hay fever & allergies – If you’ve ever experienced the sneezing, coughing, runny nose or itchy eyes of hay fever – you’ll know it ain’t no picnic! Because of Nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties, it can stop a number of reactions & processes that lead to allergies & hay fever.
Want to grow your own? Easy peasy!
Stinging Nettle is a perennial herb, meaning that it will live for many years in your garden. It can grow in most soil conditions (hey, it is a weed after all :p) but it especially loves nutrient rich soils high in nitrogen (think chicken poo!!).
They love full sun but can do part shade if that’s all you have 😉
Nettle pro tip – come harvest time, wear gloves or you will likely be stung!
How to prepare & eat your stinging nettle
Okay so the ‘stinging’ bit freaks people out when it comes to actually eating it… which is probably fair enough.
But after you prep it (which is super easy) they become ‘stingless’ & you can literally add it to any culinary dish just like you would parsley!
So how do you prep it? Cut off the stems so you’re left with only the leaves. Now throw the leaves into boiling water for just a few minutes, take them out with a slotted spoon & place them into a bowl of ice (& the bowl of ice is optional – you can use straight away after you boil if you prefer, but blanching will give you a better flavour). Done. The sting is gone & they are ready to eat.
You can add it to pizzas (healthy of course!!), zoodles, bakes, soups… & anything you can think of really!
You can also dry your nettle instead of boiling it, but you’ll need the stems still attached!
Just bunch it up & tie a long piece of twine around the stems. Then hang it from basically anywhere you fancy. We actually have a few nails on our pantry wall that we hang them on.
After a week or two (depending on temperature/humidity) your nettle will be good to go. Store the dried leaves in glass jars & use them in homemade herbal teas 🙂
Super easy & SUPER nutritious!
And of course, any Q’s just shoot me through an email!