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Stinging Nettle

Plant Allies

A brief description of medicinal and culinary plants, along with some of their magickal associations and a recipe.


Stinging Nettle

(Urtica Dioica)



Stinging nettle is a perennial plant belonging to the Urticaceae family. The translation for it’s botanical name is (Greek) Uro “urine” (kidney strengthener) and Di-oikos “in two houses” (referring to the plant having both male and female reproductive organs). Native to Europe, but nettles can now be found throughout much of the world; especially in rich, moist soils; such as barnyards, gardens, and along streams. Stinging Nettle can easily be identified by its blue-green, opposed, serrated leaves; short hairs along undersides of leaves and stalks; and deeply grooved stem. It starts to appear in early spring and aerial parts can be collected until flowering occurs in late spring or early summer. Stems and seeds are collected in fall.


Well known for its powerful nourishing properties, nettles are a great kidney and adrenal ally, respiratory strengthener, hair and skin tonic, digestive restorative, prompt hemostatic, and friend to men’s and women’s reproductive health. Young fresh nettles are packed with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. “ Her superb, bio-active nourishment is readily absorbed by all soft tissue and working fluids: blood, lymph, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This results in increased ease and energy in the operation of the circulatory, immune, endocrine, nervous, and urinary systems.” (Weed, 1989, p. 172) Nettle stores well dried for year round use in infusions and tonics, and can also be made into infused oils or tincture. The stalks are dried in fall to use as cordage for baskets, rope, and even cloth. Nettles roots and seeds make an excellent hair and skin tonic.


Stinging Nettle is associated with the planet Mars. Martial herbs help us to manifest magick on the physical plane and learn to be the ‘divine’. When mixed with Sun herbs it can help us accomplish goals and achieve desires. Nettle contains energy necessary for survival, releasing the instinctive quality of self preservation. It can be used to add momentum to one’s life and cure lethargy.


Spring Nettle Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

4 carrots, sliced

4 stalks celery, sliced

2 potatoes, chopped

2 cups stinging nettle tops, julienned

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp rosemary

1 tsp sage

8 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in stock pot and add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Saute on med-low heat until onions become translucent, about 10-15 minutes. Add thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper. Saute another 5 minutes. Add water and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 min, or until potatoes become soft. Add nettle and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for at least 30 min before serving. Better if served the following day.


References

Beyerl, P. (1984). The Master Book of Herbalism. Blaine, WA: Phoenix Publishing Inc.

Gladstar, R. (2001, 2008). Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Hoffman, D. (1983, 1990). Holistic Herbal, A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. Hammersmith, London: Harpercollins Publishers.

Weed. S. (1989). Wise Woman Herbal, Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing.

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