If you take walks in parkland and country lanes you may be noticing nettles starting to Spring up!
So what? You might say I can take them and even prefer to leave them because brushing too close can leave me with a nasty rash that may or may not be relieved by rubbing the juice of an adjacent dandelion or dock leaf into the offending area.
Okay then nettles can be unpleasant if not handled properly but if handled with care they can bring us a raft of possible health benefits.
Many people don’t realize that nettle if nothing else can brew an excellent herbal tea that compares well with green tea and other herbal brews and at this time of year when there is an abundance of fresh nettle about it tastes much better than the dried tea bag version.
So what other health benefits has nettle to offer.?
Like a number of other green herbs nettle acts as a diuretic but it has also been associated with expectorant qualities and pain relief as well as a tonic.
It has been known to help with anaemia and arthritis and rheumatism, hey fever and other allergic disorders.
Nettle has been used in hair care products as it is said to stimulate the follicles and regulate excessive scalp oil.
If none of these impresses you then drinking nettle tea, eating nettle soup or nettle spinach can supplement your mineral intake if you are short as the nettle contains up to ten minerals including: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulphur and zinc.
If that’s not enough it also contains fatty acids and a number of B vitamins.
Remember, while nettle is not guaranteed to solve health problems it may help with some ailments and as we have said at the very leats makes an excellent tea!
Some nettle tips. When gathering nettle use gloves and plastic bag to protect you from stinging .
Wash thoroughly in running water to clear off any dirt and bugs.
If making tea pouring boiling water over some leaves will neutralize the stinging effect as will cooking if you are making soup or spinach.
Barry Todd (Nutritional Therapist)