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Stinging nettle for arthritis and allergies: neopeasant medicine food series

Patrick speaks to some of the virtues of Urtica dioica – the common stinging nettle – and how we use this generous and powerful medicinal plant as both food and medicine.

The more we interact with the living earth – the gifts, tonics and salves that come from intimate, walked-for and cultivated biomes, which we are participants of – the more we merge with Grandmother Gaia and Mother Country. This is the gift of true medicine.

How do you use nettle? What common complaints does nettle heal for you? What do you bring to nettle? We’d love to hear your experiences with this oldtimer medicine plant.

33 comments

  1. Sara says:

    Uncapitalised medicine <3 Im in love with this phrase, thank you for sharing this video.

    In Sweden where I live we have so much stinging nettle, never thought to make other than tea from it. We are going towards winter here now, I think there is still some left since we've had such a warm autumn but if not Im going to try some of this in spring/summer next year. And when the nettle brush my skin and it burns I will think happy healing thoughts instead of just noticing the stinging…

    Much love
    /sara

    1. Thanks Sara, we hope you receive the gifts of the dark that winter often brings. Allowing the nettle onto the skin is a kind of underworlding too.

  2. Gina Samuels says:

    I use stinging nettle by blanching it and mixing it with spinach to make spanikopita. Delicious!

      1. Jacquie says:

        Hello beautiful folk, I love a nettle tea, but my nature path said that it can be heavy on yr kidneys if u drink more than a couple of cups a day so make sure to keep yr system fl7shed with water as well xx

        1. Thanks Jacquie, that’s sound advice. Everything in moderation, eh. Luckily there are so many teas to drink from the garden. xx

    1. Lydia says:

      I adore Nettle! So many gifts. Stephanie Alexander gives a recipe for stinging nettle risotto in one of her books that is absolutely delicious. I can also vouch for Nettle as a magnificent hair tonic/ rinse… great for the scalp and really brings out natural highlights

      1. Thanks Lydia, great tips to explore!

  3. Christiane Rostek says:

    Dear artist’s! I also love nettle tea, fortunately we have lots on our land! Now, after the summer heat, nettle season starts again here and often at that time of the year I suffer I little bit of hair loss. Normally I rince it with apple cider vinegar but I heard, that a rince with nettle tea should also be very helpful… I will try after next hair washing! Always so nice to hear something from you! Greetings 🌿

    1. Thanks for this addition to nettle’s uses, Christiane. We’ll try it out.

  4. Tara says:

    This is great. I never thought of using nettles for cordage, I’m going to try that. Do you dry the fibres then soak between twisting? Or twist before drying? I would watch a video on this if you ever put one together 😉
    Mostly our nettles get cooked up with eggs or made into a herbal tea, the kids love both options. As we tend to have an abundance of this lovely herb, more than we can ingest, we use some to make a garden tea for our veggie patch, the plants seem to like nettle tea as much as we do 🙂

    1. Hello Tara, lovely to hear from you. We ordinarily use flax for cordage, both green and dried (then soaked to twist). The same should go for stinging nettle, although it’s been a while since we used it for cordage bc we have such abundance of NZ flax in our foraging commons.

      Nettle and eggs! Yum! And yes, nettle ‘manure’ tea, excellent soil conditioner.

  5. Lesley Wills says:

    We use stinging nettle preparation on our biodynamic garden it’s is the most magical plant trees really benefit from having it grow by them this is From the Steiner’s Agriculture Lectures The stinging nettle is a regular “Jack-of-all-trades.” It can do very, very much. It, too, carries within it the element which incorporates the Spiritual and assimilates it everywhere, namely, sulphur, the significance of which I have explained already. Moreover, the stinging nettle carries potassium and calcium in its currents and radiations, and in addition it has a kind of iron radiation. These iron radiations of the nettle are almost as beneficial to the whole course of Nature as our own iron radiations in our blood. Truly, the stinging nettle is such a good fellow and does not deserve the contempt with which we often Look down on it where it grows wild in Nature. It should really grow around man’s heart, for in the world outside — in its marvelous inner working and inner organisation — it is wonderfully similar to what the heart is in the human organism. The stinging nettle is the greatest boon. https://rsarchive.org/Lectures/19240613p01.html

    1. Thanks Lesley, we appreciate you posting this. Singing nettle is “such a good fellow”.

      1. Lesley Wills says:

        And stinging nettle helps alleviate the build up of iron in the soil if using steel tools, if using copper not so but they are expensive so stinging nettle placed around the garden will alleviate iron build up and less snails as they have copper blood and they tend to prefer the iron in the soil hence copper tools, less slugs and snails.

        1. Lesley, this is gold! Many thanks.

  6. Penny says:

    Loved this, thank you!

    You mentioned to gather the seeds when the seed heads are forming – not sure what this looks like?

    Would love to see videos on cord making and applications!

    Thanks again for sharing this wonderful information.

    1. Thanks Penny. We collect the seed heads before they start falling off the plant so as they ripen and fall into the paper bag. We’ll certainly put a cord making video onto the list.

  7. Micaela says:

    for a more decadent option, we love to make tempura which also works great with wild garlic – yummy!

    btw, loving that “man bun” hairstyle!!

    keep rocking, guys
    love from asturias

    1. Love a bit of decadence, thanks Micaela. Glad the man bun is rocking your day.

    2. Lydia says:

      I think it was Victor Hugo in “Les Misérables” who first blew my mind with some of Nettle’s gifts!

      Book 5, Chapter 3:

      “…’When the nettle is young, the leaves make excellent greens; when it grows old it has filaments and fibres like help and flax. Cloth made from the nettle is worth as much as that made from hemp.

      Chopped up, the nettle is good for poultry; pounded, it is good for horned cattle.

      The seed of the nettle mixed with the fodder of animals gives a lustre to their skin; the root, mixed with salt, produces a beautiful yellow dye.

      It makes, however, excellent hay, as it can be cut twice in a season.

      And what does nettle need? Very little soil, no care, no culture; except that the seeds fall as fast a they ripen, and it is very difficult to gather them; that is all.

      If we would take a few pains, the nettle would be useful; we neglect it, and it becomes harmful. Then we kill it.

      How much man are like nettle!’

      …”My friends, remember this, that there are no bad herbs, and no bad men; there are only bad cultivators”

      1. Glad to have this reference, thanks Lydia!

  8. Frida Maree says:

    You guys are just the bestest! Your covid videos saved my sanity and now your neopeasant how to’s are helping me create a new sense of myself in the world. A million blessings on your ancestors.

    1. Oh thanks for naming the ancestors, Frida. Much gratitude for your kindness and awareness.

  9. katrina says:

    Love the other uses for nettles. I’ll out what you suggest as we have HEAPS here.

    Yes I have more uses for this wonder-full plant 🙂 I use it in pelvic steaming. It helps as a blood tonic and is absorbed really easily as it goes to our most absorbent body part 😉

    1. Excellent add, Katrina. Nettle is such a soil-body conditioner.

  10. Colby says:

    I love the health benefits of nettle, but not the green bean water taste. I always blend it with a bit of mint, creeping charlie or other herbs.
    Have you heard about the film The Nettle Dress by Dylan Howitt? I think you’d like it.

    1. Thanks so much Colby. We have seen the trailer to the film and loved it too. Here is is for those who have not seen it. We know other people who don’t like the taste of nettle tea, but we love it. It’s like drinking the blood of plants 🙂

  11. Jac says:

    That cordage looks really nice to me. Really liked this information. The poem, too, brought it home the sounds of names of plants… Dock sounding soothing. I found this unusual book the other day called “The Secret Powers of Plants”. From looking at a few pages I thought that maybe this may be the Nettle letting me know its tea time. This video has really brightened up my day

    1. Thanks Jac, glad this video has been useful and thanks for dropping in a reference to a book that’s inspiring you atm. We’ll take a look.

  12. Rachel says:

    Thank you for this delightful, informative presentation. I am inspired to get hold of stinging nettles to plant in my garden. Where I grew up, they were everywhere and we learned how to avoid them! Of course we got stung lots as well and I remember the stinging feeling under the skin and the subsequent ‘refreshed’ state of the leg or arm that got covered in the stingers.