The Hedge Craft – NETTLE (Urtica Dioica)

NETTLE (Urtica Dioica); Plant Family: (Hamamelids)
Parts Used: Leaves, buds, rhizomes and roots.
Collection season: early spring for leaves and buds until they flower,
seeds and roots in autumn.
Soil and Environment: Universal throughout British Isles and most of
temperate world, found in forests, woods, river banks, under shrubs and
bushes, wasteland – pretty much anywhere. Thrives in nitrogen-rich soil.
Propagation: Wind-pollinated perennial.
Description: Up to 5ft tall, with long jagged edge to shieldshape leaf
that comes to point at tip. Stinging hairs along leaves and square stalks.
Small, creamy-green flowers in long strands, seeds not long after
flowering.
History: A sacred herb to the Anglo-Saxons (wergulu) and used in
medieval times as beer to treat rheumatism. Tibetans believe their sage
and poet, Milarep (CE 1052-1135) lived on nettle soup until he turned
green. Nettle tops were used as a rennet substitute in cheese-making as
they turned milk sour. There are around 500 species of nettle.
Chemical constituents: Chlorophyll, vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E
and K, folic acid, minerals, bioflavinoids, seretonin precursor.
Actions and Medicinal Uses: Reduces fatigue, improves stamina,
nourishes kidneys, adrenal glands, nourishes immune, digestive,
endocrine and respiratory system, increases metabolism, normalises
weight, eases/prevents rheumatism and arthritis, good for skin and hair,
eases lung complaints such as asthma. Galactagogue. Eases leg cramps
and muscle spasms. Reduces haemorrhoids. Anti-inflammatory,
alterative, astringent, haemostatic, circulatory tonic, diurectic.
Combinations: Can be used to “boost” many other herb actions,
especially when dealing with immune system.
Usage: Tea – 2 tsps steeped (dried) or 3 tsps (fresh) in 1 cup of boiled
water for 5 to 10 mins three times a day. Tincture is 1 tsp twice a day.
Contraindications: None.
Spiritual Aspects: Protection, self-respect, resiliency and flexibility.
Teaches healthy boundaries while providing deep nourishment. Good
meditational tea and also cleansing/purifying bath before ritual.
Nettle is a wonderful herb for the Hedge Druid’s Craft. Its prickly
leaves and stem teach us of boundaries and respect. It grows abundantly
almost anywhere, and it is brilliant for our health. A common “weed”
found in hedges and roadsides, this understated plant was a staple for
our ancestors. In the spring months, when food was scarce, it was nettle
that was the first of the green to be seen, and it’s nutrient-rich properties
kept many a person alive until other food became available. Drink nettle
tea to become stronger physically, mentally and spiritually.