Who Would Purposely Plant Stinging Nettle?

Stining Nettle

Stinging Nettle Leaves

Well, lets see….I would! Of course I haven’t always had a love for this plant of nature.  When I was a child I had many experiences of floating or running up and down the irrigation ditches, only to unknowingly brush up against the nasty leaves of nettle and quickly break out into a stinging rash, earning its name. Little did I know of its healing properties when handled with loving care!

Stinging Nettle has been used for many a years for allergy relief, soothing headaches, treating asthma and high blood pressure, dissolve kidney stones, expel toxins from the body, relieve skin inflammations (ironic), anemia and even coughing.  And not to mention all the minerals and protein it packs.

Nettle leaves can be used many ways to get all those benefits, but my favorite is just to make a simple brew of tea.  1/2 cup of leaves steeped in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and touch honey.   Don’t worry!  Once the plant has been simmered the stinging hairs will no longer have an affect.

Take the bite out of harvesting by wearing gloves.  Pick the top, most tender leaves with scissors.  Cutting leaves can be done in the spring or fall.

I started my nettle plant easily from seed, but cuttings can be done as well, but in the fall before winter die back.  My upright nettle plant stands in the very back of the barn, where there is very little worry about anyone coming in contact with its needle-like stinging hairs.  Give it plenty of room.  This guy, if allowed can reach 6′ easily with a spread of 4-6′.  I do keep mine under control to a height of 3′.  Perhaps it’s from cutting it back all the time, drying the leaves for later winter use.

Nettle grown in the wild here in Southern Utah often times is accompanied by mullein growing nearby.  Ahh, I wish I knew that as a kid!  Know your plants and if you happen to tangle with nettle, look around quickly for mullein leaves.  The mullein leaves rubbed on affected area will ease the sting almost instantly!

Stinging Nettle Seed


Filed under Herbs

4 responses to “Who Would Purposely Plant Stinging Nettle?

  1. elvira

    When I was a child (sixty some years ago)
    My Mother every spring picked Nettle only the young and tender tips and made soup out of or sometimes cooked it like spinach.
    By the way I lived in Germany then.

  2. Kathryn Cox

    Thanks, Ali for this interesting article. I bought Nettle seeds, but didn’t dare plant them. I, too, experienced the sting as a child camping in the outdoors. Will you be available to do a organic gardening class this fall? When is a good time for you? k Katie, Southwest Nursery Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 20:51:57 +0000 To: coxkatieb@msn.com

  3. joy

    I often pick wild stinging nettles, with or without gloves on. The trick to picking them without gloves on, is to very carefully hover one finger on top of the leaf, one underneath, and quickly pull the leaf. It’s a foolproof method. Have picked wild nettles more than 60 years that way, and you don’t get ‘stung’. Just stay away from the ‘hairs’, and don’t lightly rub fingers against the leaves…pull fast and drop the leaf in a bag, and pull another. I don’t always have gloves with me when out foraging. I dry nettles, store them in gallon jars, and use them in hot teas with lemon and honey, and in soups.

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