Stinging nettle or Urtica dioica is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Eurasia. It has spread today to all temperate regions of the globe. This (great) weed boasts many health benefits and therapeutic properties that act upon the entire metabolism.
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Health benefits of nettle
- Nettle is a diuretic and a purgative. Nettle leaves are used to prevent kidney stone formation. It greatly helps dissolve kidney stones naturally and keep them from forming. This is despite containing oxalic acid (one of the compounds that make the plant itchy).
- A great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, nettle is revitalizing and works wonders when ingested as an infusion (1 ½ oz (50 g) leaves for 1 quart (1 liter) hot water) in case of lack of energy or of iron.
- It helps treat moderate acne and certain chronic skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis and dry patches.
- Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial properties of nettle leaf are very effective in treating rheumatism, arthritis and gout and in case of inflammation of the urinary tract.
- Nettle increases urinary volume and flow and reduces post-voiding residual urine. It has beneficial results in case of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Since it is also antianemic, hepatoprotective and antioxidant, nettle helps treat hemorrhage (abundant menstruation, nosebleed, etc…).
- External use: Nettle offers astringent and wound-healing activity.
- Nettle appears as an ingredient in many hair lotions because it induces hair growth! It fortifies the scalp, cleanses it and reduces dandruff.
Growing nettle for its health benefits
- Beware of snails and slugs that gleefully munch on nettles.
- No need to even try growing nettle in pots, it would produce too little.
Cooking nettle for its health benefits
- Nettle can be eaten cooked or raw, much like spinach. Select the youngest leaves. They’ll lose their sting if you soak them in water for about ten minutes. Cooking also deactivates the “stingers”.
- Its nutritional value makes nettle a very tonic food. , even better than spinach because it only has half as many oxalates, with only about 0.57 mg/g on average.
Nutritional content of nettle
Nettle is the leaf vegetable with the highest protein content.
Together with its diuretic and antianemic properties, nettle contains minerals, provitamin A, iron and vitamin C.