I love herbs. I'm surrounded by them from morning until night -- from culinary herbs & spices to tinctures, capsules and teas, herbs are a part of my daily life. One of my all time favorite herbs is Stinging Nettles. Nettle is a common weed and an excellent medicinal plant. It's a very nourishing tonic and it's neutral, meaning it's appropriate for just about everyone - it's not too heating or cooling and it's safe and for little Jimmy and Grandma too. In fact, the only significant risk with nettles is bumping into them while harvesting - those little needles contain formic acid (think bees and red ants) and are made for injecting.
Nettles are deeply nourishing and strengthening. Russian herbalists recommend nettle soup to nourish the blood. Nettles truly support the entire body including the liver, skin, kidneys, urinary tract, reproductive system and general metabolic function. Highly regarded as a restorative tonic, nettles feeds the adrenals and helps prevent, or re-building from, the damaging effects of chronic stress. Do you recognize that feeling of nervous energy coupled with fatigue? That's because our stress hormones are often running the show.
Nettles can help. They are loaded with nutrients. And, fresh nettles are delicious.
I prefer fresh nettles when possible, preferably as greens, but fresh tincture and dried or fresh leaf tea also offer significant benefits. Nettle root is often used to support the prostate and the seeds for burnout, but, for now, I am only talking about the leaf. As a tea, I recommend infusing nettle leaf overnight and drinking throughout the next day.
My all time favorite way to enjoy nettle is cooked in a fresh soup. I don't always get out in time to harvest, but when I do, I am reminded that I really ought to fill my freezer full of fresh nettle and consume it throughout the year. This summer I spent a few days in the Alps and made a fabulous nettle soup. It was so delicious and nourishing that I want to share this simple NETTLE SOUP recipe with you:
3-4 garlic cloves
~1-2 lbs potatoes
As many nettles as you can collect! I filled ~1.5 supermarket produce sized plastic bags
Salt & Pepper
Chop onions & garlic and saute in oil (I used butter because I was in France) - I recommend butter, ghee or another oil that is stable at high heat. Chop the potatoes and saute in the oil or butter. Add some salt & pepper. Add washed nettle greens. Be careful! They will sting you until they are cooked. Saute for a few minutes until everything is well coated. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Gently boil until potatoes are well cooked. Puree and eat. If you're in France, grate some delicious cheese on top :) It's incredibly delicious and nourishing. Bon appetit!