Walking through the woods, one of the indicators that the spring has returned is the abundance of stinging nettles. Smelling their subtle fragrance is a sure sign that the days are getting longer and the summer is near.
The stinging nettle (latin: Urtica diotica) is one of the true wonders of the plant world. It can be drank in a tea infusion or eaten cooked like spinach. A wonderful spring tonic, it nourishes the body through it’s high concentration of beta-carotene, vitamin A, C and E, iron, calcium, phosphates and minerals. It cleanses the body by acting as a diuretic and helps with allergies by acting as an anti-inflammatory.
The spirit of nettle is both graceful and incredibly powerful. She teaches us how to protect ourselves, holding boundaries and being clear when one encroaches too closely on our space. Nettles also teach of forgiveness and compassion, showing us to hold close to our hearts that which we cherish most dearly. If you listen closely in the woods surrounded by nettle, you may hear her beautiful songs moving on the wind and nourishing the soul.
Where to find nettles:
Nettles are widely distributed around North America and Europe. They grow in abundance in the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest and other areas where there’s high annual rainfall. If you live in a place where nettles grow, go to your local forest, bring gloves and have fun! If you’re unable to collect nettles on your own, it is sold in most health food stores. You can find it in capsule, tincture, or tea form.
Pour 1 quart of boiled water over 1 oz of nettles. Let steep for about 4 hours. Strain and keep in a closed jar in fridge. Enjoy!