Medicinal Weeds: Nettles!

The Low-Down

Botanical name: Urtica dioica
Other names: English- devil leaf, stinging nettles; French- grande ortie; German- brennesselkraut
Dye uses: various greens from stalks & leaves; yellow from roots
Soil & animal uses: soil enricher (good for compost), farmyard fodder & food supplement
Where it grows: rich, wet soil, often near people, barnyards, streamsides, gardens
Identification: deeply grooved stem; short hairs on stalks and leaf undersides; opposed, serrated leaves (like a giant mint)

What parts for what?

(a brief explanation!)
Nettle Leaf & Stalk

Freshly cut stinging nettles in colander ready for cooking.

Helps with: tonic for kidneys, lungs, intestines, arteries, adrenals; safe diuretic (safe for pregnancy); antiseptic (topical use)
My favorite ways to use:  infusion (strong brewed tea, “medicinal-strength”), topical infusion or fresh juice
Nettle sting: You can actually use the stinging of the nettle leaf to stimulate lymph flow, nerves/meridians, capillaries. This action is called urtication. This is great for chronic rashes, arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, cold feet
Note: Use caution when harvesting nettle. 

Nettle Seed

Helps with: poison antidote, skin & scalp tonic
My favorite use: create infusion as skin tonic & wash

Nettle Root

Helps with: urinary tonic, immune system strengthener
My favorite uses: powdered root (to create lozenges for throat coating); tincture (immunity)

Nettle Insect Repellant

This is for spraying plants to protect them.

Ingredients: 1oz dried or 1/4 lb fresh nettles; 4 cups or 1L water
Preparation: Pour boiling water over nettle in quart or liter jar and let steep overnight. Keep tightly lidded.
Action: For mildew, white flies, aphids, etc dilute 4 oz of the strained infusion with about 1qt (or 1L) of water. Add 1 tsp liquid soap. Use immediately as a spray. You can make it in a large batch.

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