Until certain vegetables were installed on the list of commonly consumed foods and arrived at the tables of the families, they were used for other purposes. Nettle is one of those plants that had other uses until it was known that it could become a nutritious food.
In ancient times, the main one was due to its medicinal properties. When the Roman soldiers arrived in Britain, they planted stinging nettle because they grow fast and could use it to cool their skin by rubbing with it and also because it protected them from moisture.
The stems of the nettle that has long fibers served as a thread to cook clothes or footwear. The plant was also used mixed with other ingredients to feed the farm animals.
An old Irish proverb, says: “In May, three meals with nettles, away from the discomfort.” It is true that the nettle does not have a delicate and attractive appearance but replaces these virtues with good taste to innumerable health benefits.
The urticating lint that covers it conceals an exceptional richness of minerals and vitamins.
The nettle has vegetable proteins, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and iron. It also adds potassium and flavonoids. Nettle is a source of nutrients and antioxidants that we must add to our dishes.
It also adds vitamin B complex and vitamin K. It contains mineral salts and trace elements such as magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, silicon, and sulfur. Iron that has the nettle triples that of the spinach and at the same time has six times more vitamin C than the orange.
The nettle has antioxidant, diuretic, remineralizing, anti-inflammatory, astringent, hemostatic, antiallergic and galactogenic properties; that is, it stimulates the production of milk in women who are breastfeeding.
The nettle must be harvested early, to avoid that its leaves acquire hardness and thus be able to enjoy them tender because when the leaves mature too much, they become bitter.
Even at this time, the nettle is still stinging so it is essential to manipulate it with gloves to avoid inconveniences.
The nettle must earn a place in our kitchen, where we will prepare it like most green leafy vegetables: boiled, sautéed, in soups, where we will find a flavor similar to spinach, but above all things it is important to learn to consume them for their innumerable virtues and health benefits impossible to ignore.
It’s time to rediscover the pleasures of wild herbs!
Now that we know a little more about the nettle, let’s see specifically what benefits we can get including nettle in our usual diet.
1) Avoid fluid retention: Nettle has a stabilizing effect on blood pressure. Reduces fluid retention, facilitates the evacuation of urine, prevents the formation of kidney stones and in case of infection in the urinary tract, helps cleaning.
This herb is interesting for those who are making diets to lose weight because the diuretic effects not only eliminate retained liquids but also toxins and wastes.
2) Benefits for the prostate: The use of nettle root extract to treat prostate hypertrophy has become widespread in recent years in Europe. More than 20 clinical studies showed that alone or combined with other plants, improves the clinical symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostatitis.
The German Commission of the Scientific Cooperative of European Phytotherapy, recommends its use specifically to relieve urinary disorders associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy.
3) Anti-inflammatory effect: Nettle leaves relieve joint pain and reduce uric acid levels of those who suffer from gout.
Perform nettle cures for a month and repeat the treatment every two months. It is very effective to treat rheumatism and arthritis using poultices that should be applied for 30 minutes.
In the case of oral infections, nettle infusions can relieve canker sores, gingivitis and in the form of gargles; the sore throats
4) Hemostatic properties: Nettle is very useful to relieve blood problems such as nosebleeds, thanks to its hemostatic properties.
Introduce in each nostril a piece of cotton soaked in fresh nettle juice to stop bleeding. It acts as a scar and has antiseptic properties.
5) Prevents anemia: Modern food is poor in dried legumes and oilseeds, that is; lacking iron. Junk food is a determining factor in the lack of iron due to the low content they have, but most worrying is that it reaches a significant part of the population.
Anemia frequently occurs much more in women and in particular between puberty and menopause, due to menses. In fact, iron is one of the main compounds of hemoglobin in the blood.
The iron needs increase in adolescents, pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding and workers who perform force work. Nettle is an ideal complement to replace the lack of iron, because we must not forget that it is a plant particularly rich in chlorophyll whose composition is very similar to that of hemoglobin.
6) Provides energy: The nettle is a general tonic that provides energy and vitality. It stimulates the metabolism, revitalizes the body, lifts the mood and provides energy. A single cup of nettle infusion will make you feel different and if you keep your infusion for a prolonged period you will feel good and strong enough to do your daily tasks.
In case you are convalescing from an operation, suffer from chronic fatigue, have suffered a mononucleosis, are pregnant or breastfeeding or suffer from metabolic disorders, the nettle will be a very good ally to help you recover your strength.
7) Integumentary system: The nettle has an alkalizing effect and in addition to supporting the waste disposal systems of the body, it is a great help in cases of childhood or nervous eczema. It also revitalizes connective tissues as well as nails and hair.
Other uses of nettle: acne, rashes, pruritus, psoriasis, dermatitis.
It can also be used in cases of wounds that bleed and burns.
You can use it as a hair rinse but you should be aware that it darkens the color.
8) Relieves allergies: Nettle contains a substance that acts as an antihistamine and is able to relieve the symptoms of colds and congestions.
If you are suffering from nasal congestion or think you are about to catch a cold, the ideal recipe is the infusion of nettle combined with a teaspoon of honey.
9) Digestive system: The nettle is a bitter plant, purgative, protective hepato, carminative and emollient. It has a positive effect on the digestive system because it helps the absorption of nutrients with slightly astringent properties.
You can use it in cases of gastric and intestinal ulcers, chronic problems of the colon, chronic diarrhea, blood in the stool and bloody hemorrhoids.
In Russia, the leaf of the nettle is used to treat hepatitis and inflammation of the gallbladder.
10) Respiratory system: One of the first uses that were given to the nettle was that of pulmonary protector. The seeds and leaves are used to prevent tuberculosis and by those who are prone to suffer from lung disorders, such as people who have HIV.
It is considered that the nettle is a great ally to help with lung problems, in addition to the seeds tone the capillaries of the respiratory mucosa after bronchitis.
It was also used in case of pneumonia, tuberculosis, bronchial asthma and allergic asthma.
You can drink nettle infusions in case you simply want to protect yourself and prevent respiratory diseases.
What do you think of all the uses we can give to the nettle? I would never have imagined it!
The nettle is rich in minerals and should be avoided by those suffering from kidney failure as well as those who have difficulty falling asleep, especially if they decide to consume it in the afternoon or evening.