By Jacki May, Contributing writer
When I started creating tea blends for myself as a nursing mother, I knew without a doubt that I would be adding Nettle (Urtica dioica). It is a tonic herb and generally considered safe.
Many of us may know nettle from its characteristic “sting” when touching of the plant. My children are quite familiar with this plant and know to keep their distance. In some cases, that “sting” is used therapeutically to help with inflammation (1). While you may not see me using Nettle in this fashion, you most certainly will find it in my herb cabinet.
When steamed, Nettles lose their “sting” and are a great addition to smoothies or salads.
Nettle is Classified as:
- Nutritive – high in protein, vitamins, and minerals
- Trophorestorative – specifically to the adrenals and kidneys
Besides Being Used as a Tonic Herb, Nettle is Also Indicated for:
- Allergies – freeze dried capsules are the preferred method
- Anemia – during pregnancy and menstruation
- Pelvic congestion
David Hoffman, in his book Medical Herbalism, mentions that Nettle contains both hypoglycemic AND hyperglycemic constituents.
Hoffman also mentions that Nettle root is being used (successfully) treat early stages of benign prostatic hyperplasia.(2) Searching on PubMed also led to an noteworthy study on Nettle and its effects on cell apoptosis (cell death) and gene expression in human breast cancer cell line.(3)
It is also interesting to note that Matthew Wood quoted David Hoffman saying “when in doubt, give nettles.” (4)I wholeheartedly agree!
Recommended doses for Nettle (from Hoffman’s Medical Herbalism)
Tincture: 2.5 to 5 ml, 3 times a day
Tea: 1-3 teaspoon dried herb in 1 cup boiling water, 3 times a day
I like use Nettle in my Well Mama tea. To make this tea, mix together the following herbs:
- 2 parts Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
- 1 part Red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus)
- 1 part Nettle (Urtica dioica)
- ½ part Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale)
When making this tea, use 1-2 teaspoons in 1 cup hot water. Steep for 10-15 minutes then sweeten with honey as desired. Drink 2-3 cups a day.
Add or subtract herbs as desired. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is a wonderful herb to add as well, especially when using the tea to help with anemia.
For those interested in harvesting Nettle, now is a great time to get out there and harvest the spring leaves!
How Have You Used Nettle to Support Your Pregnancy?
- Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. pg 591.Rochester VT. Healing Arts Press
- Wood, M. (2008). The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants. pg 498. Berkeley, CA. North Atlantic Books.