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Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) for allergies, prostate health and strong hair.

Updated on February 7, 2014

Gathering and drying

You just can't ignore this herb. It is used since the first days of the human race and grows on many places with moist and rich soil.

It is a perennial plant, 1-5 feet tall with wide spread crawling roots. Dark green lancet leaves with small stinging hairs.

Both roots and leaves are having medicinal use. Young leaves are used for food in some countries (see below).

Leaves are harvested while the nettle plant blooms (between May and September) with a thick glove (plastics won't do) and long scissors. This is needed to avoid accidental burn. Leaves can be cooked in a meal or dried for later use. Dried herb does not burn the skin.

Roots are gathered in the spring, before the plant starts rapid growth (March being ideal month for roots) or later in the fall, when the plant has already dropped its seeds at around November.

Both roots and leaves used for medicine must be dried in temperature less than 50 degrees C and kept in cloth bag.

A pot with fresh Stinging nettle petals.
A pot with fresh Stinging nettle petals. | Source

Health benefits

  • It is found, that nettle leave extracts lower inflammatory compounds in the body and improve general well being in people with joint problems and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Nettle leaf tea also improves blood circulation and helps purify the blood.
  • Nettle leaf shampoos are used to treat dandruff and hair loss.
  • Nettle root extract helps shrink enlarged prostate.
  • Nettle root is also used in body building to increase testosterone levels.
  • Intentional nettle burning applied externally helps calm rheumatoid pain.
  • Oils in the seeds of the plant help reduce blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients.

Treatment for hair loss and dandruff.

There are 2 very easy recipes, provided you have dried ground nettle roots.

Recipe 1:

  1. Boil 2 cups of water in a pot.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of dried roots.
  3. Remove the pot from the hot plate and cover.
  4. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Sift through a cloth or filter.
  6. Get to the bathroom and apply the liquid on your head. Massage your scalp and hair roots with cotton cloth soaked in the liquid.
  7. Cover your head with old hat you don't use anymore.
  8. Let the liquid dry completely and wash with warm water, without using soap or shampoo.

Recipe 2:

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of dried ground roots in a small bottle.
  2. Add 200 ml of organic vinegar.
  3. Let it rest in dry cool place for 1 week (avoid sunlight).
  4. Use it for hair mask the same way as above.
  5. Rinse with water, without soap or shampoo.

Treatment for enlarged prostate (and low libido)

It is already proven, that Saw Palmetto extract does not work for enlarged prostate. However nettle roots work and are quite harmless for your health. Serenoa repens has some mild allergens, while nettle has anti inflammatory and anti allergic properties.

For daily dose,

  • boil 2 table spoons of the dried root in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes.
  • Cover and let it cool.
  • Filter the liquid and keep it in a closed bottle.

It is good for 12 hours if you keep it in cool place.

Take 3 glasses each day. If you can't tolerate the taste, add 1 teaspoon of honey.

If you are lazy like most of us, you may buy pills with nettle root extract and take them as prescribed, but in my opinion - cold tea with honey is a lot better experience than pills.

Nettle as food.

From many years, human beings are using the nettle as a food, simply because it's one of the first plants that grow in the spring.

Nettle leaves are quite rich on minerals and vitamins, so adding them in the menu after the long winter is quite healthy.

I use 3 lazy recipes that take 20-40 minutes to prepare and are quite tasty (see below).

Nutritional value

Calories
per 100 grams
Percent of daily value
Fat
0.1 grams
0%
Carbohydrates
7 grams
2%
Proteins
2.7 grams
5%
Sodium
4 mg
0%
Potassium
334 mg
9%
Vitamin A
 
40%
Vitamin B6
 
5%
Iron
 
8%
Magnesium
 
14%
Calcium
 
48%

Ingredients

  • 300 grams (2 cups) fresh nettle petals
  • 4-5 fresh onions
  • 1 fresh carrot
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tsp mint, black pepper, ground paprika, (or as much as you like)
  • 1 tsp salt

Nettle soup.

  1. Wash the petals very well. Use gloves, because before cooking, they still sting.
  2. Slice and dice the carrots, onions and tomato, then put them in the pot with some oil. Put the hotplate on medium and let them steam until half-ready.
  3. Add the nettle petals, rice and 1.5 liters of water. When it starts to boil, add the spices and reduce the heat to slow simmer. Let it simmer for 15 minutes and remove from the hot plate.
  4. Serve with white cottage cheese.

Ingredients.

  • 1 handful of nettle leaves.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of milk or yogurt.
  • 1 chunk of cheese (about 50 grams)
  • 1 pinch of salt.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive or sunflower oil.

Nettle omelette

  • Wash the nettle petals very well.
  • Chop them finely.
  • Put them in a pan with the oil and put the hotplate on medium.
  • Let them steam a bit.
  • Mix the egg with milk and cheese and pour it over the steaming nettles.
  • Let it cook to dark yellow, turn the hot plate off and either flip the omelette or fold it.

Risotto with nettle and shrimp.
Risotto with nettle and shrimp. | Source

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of nettle petals.
  • 1 cup of white rice.
  • 3 cups of water.
  • 1 onion (medium).
  • 1 garlic glove.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • grated lemon peel.

Rice and Nettle

This is something like Risotto, but not exactly.

  • Clean the Nettle petals with a lot of water.
  • Chop and boil them in water for 10 minutes.
  • Wash again in cold water and sift.
  • Chop the onion and garlic in dices.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep pan and steam the onions a bit on medium.
  • Add the rice and stir until all the rice is well soaked with oil.
  • Add 3 glasses of water and the prepared nettle petals.
  • Cover the pan and let it cook for 25-30 minutes (depending on rice brand, it may take a bit longer)
  • Uncover, add salt and stir again. Cover and turn the hotplate off. Let it stay for another 5 minutes covered.

Serve sprinkled with grated lemon skin.

© 2014 Stoill Barzakov

Comments

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    • Marsei profile image

      Sue Pratt 3 years ago from New Orleans

      This is a well-written, super-informative article and the pictures are excellent. I learned so much just reading this and did some further research on my own. As I approach the big seven-O, my hair is thinning more and more. I have tried Biotin, which seems to do absolutely nothing useful and I'm encouraged that this may help. My husband has arthritis, so we're going to try the recipe for rice and nettles.

      Thanks, Mr. Mordor. I always enjoy your hubs -- and learn from them.

      marsei

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 3 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Thanks for the kind words Marsei :) I always enjoy your hubs too.

    • profile image

      MysticMoonlight 3 years ago

      Very interesting and informative Hub. Voted and shared!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      All I've had was nettle tea. Now I have to try nettle rice & nettle soup & more. Very cool!

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Nettles are wonderful to grow in the garden because they are among the earliest spring greens. They are a perennial, so they send up new leaves every year in earliest spring. I used to sometimes add the chopped leaves to Alfredo sauce for fettuccini Alfredo. The tea is an excellent vegetable broth to use as a stock for just about any soup, and make a nice broth for miso soup. Much better than purchased vegetable broth! I'm trying to get some started from seed. I used to have a nice patch, but two years of heavy rains pretty much drowned them out. Poor drainage in much of my garden.

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 3 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      I am jealous blueheron, I don't have backyard, so I can't domesticate such plant, but there are plenty of small rivers where I go in my spare time, so I can gather a lot of young nettle petals each spring.

      Unfortunately, I need to cook them immediately or they go bad after 2 days.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      M0rd0r, when health problems kept me from gardening much for the past couple of years, I started collecting wild foods. It almost makes you wonder why you bother gardening! My daughter told me that mikweed flowers are edible, and we did a bit of foraging while she was staying with me. If I was any good at fishing or able to shoot some squirrels, I'd be all set. (I don't know how to shoot a gun and don't have one.)

      It turns out that the idea that milkweed is poisonous is a fallacy started by Euell Gibbons, back in the day. He mistook Dogbane for milkweed. So began the myth that you have to cook it in a couple of changes of water. My daughter, who is quite an expert forager, recently told me this.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      If you have rivers, I'll bet you have cattails! I was never able to dig the roots at the right time, but the pollen is easy to collect--and is both food and medicine.

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 3 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      VERY interesting. In fact I have a nearby swamp (just a couple of kilometers away) and there are plenty.

      I need to investigate the plant a bit. (Typha L.)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typha

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      The inner parts of the stalk are pretty good eating. Bet you've got mushrooms too!

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 3 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Plenty when there is enough rain :)

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I got interested in mushroom hunting last fall, after I stumbled on a huge clump. You can hunt them year-round here, and some of the fall mushrooms are pretty choice. Most people only hunt morels in spring--which are the super choice ones. You need a book for your area to recognize the bazillion different kinds. Then you still can't recognize them. It's hard to know quite what you've got. I will probably poison myself one of these days.

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 3 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Actually, we have many sticky buns in the nearby pine forest and some chanterelles and penny buns (Boletus).

      I am afraid to gather them though. I only recognize fully grown parasols and puffballs and still avoid eating them. A friend of mine tells me if I should pick it and If we are not together - I just leave them be :)

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Wish I had someone to teach me!

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 3 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Me too :)

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