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Nettle: The Blood Builder

Stinging nettle, (Urtica dioica) is a herbal powerhouse. Often considered an annual weed, nettle starts to appear in early spring and then gradually takes over gardens and woodlands in early summer. It contains many compounds that are beneficial for health including chlorophyll (the pigment that makes plants green), quercetin (an antioxidant), serotonin (chemical messenger to support mood), fatty acids, vitamin C and the minerals calcium, potassium, silica and iron. Nettle is an excellent all-round herb that strengthens and supports the whole body.

Nettle Health Benefits

  • A diuretic tonic to flush out the kidneys and reduce the build-up of toxins that accumulate over time, especially toxins linked to arthritis and gout.
  • Exerts an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory effect making it incredibly helpful for allergies, hay fever and asthma where histamine levels are raised.
  • Natural blood cleansing action as its rich in chlorophyll and key minerals that help build healthy blood. Nettle is great for those with mild anaemia, painful periods (where there is blood congestion) fatigue and general wellbeing.
  • Repair and heal damaged tissues due to its astringent quality and silica content, enabling it to tighten and regenerate tissues. Nettle is also known to stem blood flow, particularly for wounds on the skin.
  • Supports bladder and prostate health attributing to the effect nettle has on strengthening the kidneys, regulating urinary flow and decreasing inflammation.

How to use Cleavers

Cleavers can be used in its fresh or dried form, using hot or cold water. Traditionally, herbalists suggest steeping a handful of chopped fresh cleavers overnight and then drinking it throughout the next day. You could also blend cleavers with water and berries to make a refreshing drink.

Nettle Recipe

Ingredients  

  • 1 tbsp of fresh or dried nettle leaf
  • 1 tbsp of fresh or dried elderflower
  • 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp of raw honey (optional)

Elderflower is a great for circulation and rebuilding damaged capillaries.

Method

Fresh herbs

  • Place fresh herbs and ginger in tea pot and fill with boiling water.
  • Allow it to brew for five minutes.
  • Strain and serve. Add honey if desired.

Dried herbs

  • Add the dried herbs to one and half cups of water in a saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Strain and serve. Add honey if desired.

Notes/ Additional Information

Nettle can also be taken as a liquid tincture for a more therapeutic dose. Consult with a qualified herbalist or naturopath who can advise you accordingly.

Dried herbs can be purchased from a reputable herb supplier online. Buy organic where possible.

References

Chevallier, A. (2016). Encyclopaedia of Herbal Medicine

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine

Author

Costas Papantoniou – Herbalist, ANP AMH

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