Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Everyone is familiar with Stinging Nettle, which grows in hedgerows, fields and gardens and basically anywhere that is undisturbed. Many people overlook the fact that Nettle is a powerful food and medicine. Nettle leaves, seeds and roots are widely used by herbalists, to treat a wide range of ailments including arthritis, anaemia, asthma, kidney stones, prostate enlargement and urinary problems. Nettle is high in Calcium, vitamins and minerals. Nettles have antihistamine properties which make it a valuable herb for treating hay fever and allergies. Nettles also reduce blood sugar levels and stimulate circulation and since they are high in iron and chlorophyll, they are a super blood tonic.

It was common in Ireland to make Nettle soup with the new leaves in spring time. Nettle is a great spring tonic and can be juiced with other fresh leaves like Dandelion and Cleavers or simply make a Nettle infusion (tea). This is an effective way of treating gout and arthritis. A pesto can be made with the leaves too. The stem fibres of the Nettle are very strong and can be used to make rope, cloth and paper. It is also used as a green manure in gardens.