Stinging Nettles/Ortie - Urtica dioica
Nettles are an incredibly nourishing and supportive plant. Mineral and vitamin dense, high in Vitamin A, B complex and C, flavonoids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, silica, iodine and iron. Used medicinally or as a food, the sting disappears when the leaves are cooked or dried.
Anti-histamine, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and vulnerary, nettles can treat many complaints such as allergies, arthritis, oedema, chronic fatigue, bleeding, worms and eczema. Nettle helps build healthy blood cells due to it’s high chlorophyll levels, cleansing the blood and provides a supporting tonic for the kidneys, lymphatic system, gall bladder and liver. They reduce high cholesterol, speed the healing of broken bones, broken capillaries, bruises and weak joints, and nettles are very safe to use, even to treat children and animals.
Nettles are also a great green manure. with the ability to mine nutrients (such as N, K, P, Ca) from deep in the soil. These nutrients are concentrated in their leaves and then released into the soil when the plants die or lose their leaves. Nettles can be added to compost or used as mulch. French gardeners have traditionally made a rich fertilising purin out of nettles by soaking the leaves in a bucket for at least two weeks, strain and use it to water plants.
The most nutritious nettle shoots emerge in the earliest spring and spread prolifically. They aren’t fussy whether they are in shade or full sun and you can continually harvest the tender new growth throughout the growing season.