The humble stinging Nettle is one of the most underrated plants you’ll find growing in your garden. Introduce by the Romans who planted it alongside their long straight roads, the Nettle is actually one of the most healthiest vegetables around. Calling it a weed is to do it an injustice – boil the dried tips of the plant and drink it with a little honey and you’ll introduce a host of beneficial vitamins, minerals and health bearing supplements into your body.
To herbalists the Nettle is renowned because of its astringent, expectorant, tonic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic properties and as an important source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, C and E, iron, calcium, phosphates and minerals. All these qualities recommend it as a powerful remedy against hepatic, arthritic or rheumatic conditions, and as an adjuvant in treating allergies, anemia and kidney diseases.
Other active ingredients include: 5-hydroxytryptamine, histamine, formic acid and gallic acid, plus much readily assimilable iron.
Culpeper said wittily that “they may be found by feeling on the darkest night.” He states that the juice with honey is “a safe and sure medicine to open the pipes and passages of the lungs”.
Traditionally used topically to treat arthritis and dried to combat hay fever, nettles have also had a well deserved reputation as a natural weight loss aid, making them a welcome addition to a healthy diet.
The tea itself has a refreshing ‘green’ taste, if you like the taste of traditional green tea then you’ll find Nettle Tea has a very similar flavour if somewhat stronger when you take your first sip. The leaves should be infused in boiling water and left for 5 to 7 minutes before drinking.