Stinging Nettle used to be a weed I hated with a passion. I say used to; because now I harvest it.
I had no idea this “weed” could be so helpful until my friend, Sara, told me she was purchasing some dried nettle. To be honest, I thought she was nuts. I had always avoided this plant like the plague and here she was paying money to buy it!
To have to buy nettle also amazed me as it grows very prolifically around our farm. Pretty much any shady area has a great quantity of it.
My husband and I have always called it Fireweed. Mainly because when you brush against it with your bare skin it makes your skin feel like it’s on fire. A person can get red raised bumps and sometimes even blisters from it.
Then Sara sent me a link to a university study –Stinging Nettle. After reading the article I figured maybe I should give it a try. I could see we had a bumper crop of it around our place, just waiting to be utilized. If nothing else I could harvest, dry and bag it for Sara.
When I pick the nettle I make sure to wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt and gloves. I, then head out to the patch that Lar leaves for me. This is my organic, non-sprayed area of nettle. I am also armed with an ice cream pail and a pair of scissors.
The scissor work great for snipping off the top few leaves of the plants. I make sure to choose plants that are not yet budding or flowering and have no bug holes in them.
Once I get my pail full of leaves I put them on my dryer trays and get the dehydrator going. If it is a nice day out I sometimes let the trays stand outside on the deck so they air dry most of the way and then finish them in the dryer.
It is really crazy, but once these leaves are dry and papery you can handle them without any fear of reacting and welting up. I did not trust that at first but after drying numerous trays of nettle I no longer wear gloves when handling the dried leaves.
I like to use a few of them in my tea in the morning, especially during allergy season. If I wake up with a plugged head it doesn’t take long to open it back up. I am now a firm believer in the wonders of nettle.
When you find yourself questioning a friend on one of their “different” ideas maybe you should take a step back and check it out. You may be surprised, like I was, that it actually works. It is always good to stay curious……and it can be a lot of fun!
I wonder what other “weeds” God put out there that I can use for something……..
If you are fortunate, like I am, to have a friend like Sara; you will find yourself learning many, many new things!
“Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
5 thoughts on “Stinging Nettle”
Is it only used for tea or are there other uses for it as well? I watched a show on TV where young boys would dare each other to fall into a patch of it without a shirt on and they would put a video of it on the Internet, goofy boys, they knew exactly what would happen.
You sometimes wonder what possesses boys to do stuff? I have only used the nettle for tea. I know in some places they actually boil the leaves and eat it like spinach. That kind of make my throat feel scratchy thinking about it. Here is a link: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/Stinging-Nettle-Benefits-zmaz81mazkin.aspx
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Yeah I don’t know if I trust it that much to eat it. But thanks for the link I’ll check it out.
When we were kids on our farm in WI – my sister accidentally fell off her horse into some of that. She was taken to the doctor immediately with nasty blisters (some looked more like boils – ouch)! I took dad back to where she fell off and he burned out the whole patch (he was a real dad when it came to his girls – hee hee -and we knew it – story for another day). Nasty stuff! I feel a slight burn, but it doesn’t bother me much…my sister is such a girl!?!
My dad would have done the same!!! I used to hate the stuff. Now I just harvest with great respect. I am looking forward to reading more your adventures on the farm.
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