Payne Mountain Farms
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Using nettle in herbal medicine

Nettle (Urtica Dioica), also called stinging nettles or wild spinach, is a rich medicinal herb that drives toxins and metabolic waste products out of the body. Nettle stimulates the kidneys to excrete more water and can help expel kidney stones. Nettle is also a tasty and nourishing vegetable if gathered when the leaves are young.

Nettle tea makes an excellent gargle for sore throat. Nettle is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and hemorrhoids. Nettle tea is a diuretic and astringent. It can stop nosebleeds, bleeding from wounds, and heavy menstrual flow. (To stop a nosebleed, inhale powdered leaves into the nose.)

Nettle also helps sinus problems, allergies, and hay fever. An extract of nettle leaves can help an enlarged prostate; for benign prostate problems combine nettle with saw palmetto. Nettle is also used to lower blood sugar and is often prescribed for edema and heart conditions.

Nettle is rich in iron which makes it a good herb for treating anemia. It is also rich in vitamin C which prevents scurvy and helps the body to absorb iron. Nettle plants take up large amounts of minerals from the soil.
 
When applied externally, nettle sooths insect bites, stings, and burns. Nettle leaf infusions, creams, and ointments are used in the treatment of eczema and other skin conditions.

A decoction of nettle root makes a good hair rinse. Use for falling hair, dandruff, and as a general conditioner.

Nettle leaves are anti-inflammatory. Nettle compresses are used for painful joints, gout, neuralgia, sprains, tendonitis, and arthritis.

Indians used nettle for many things including coughs, colds, epilepsy, gout, stomach ache, insanity, and hair loss. It was also used to promote milk flow in nursing mothers.

The nettle plant has stinging hairs. When cooked, the hairs disappear. When nettle comes in contact with the skin it causes an uncomfortable burning sensation. Always use gloves when handling fresh nettle. Nettle stings can be relieved by rubbing with dock, rosemary, mint, or sage leaves.

Nettle has a long history of use. The Romans used nettle plants to flail themselves as a form of self-punishment and sometimes to keep warm. Many cultures used the tough fibers to make rough cloth similar to flax and hemp.

Nettle has many uses on the farm. Dried and powdered, the leaves make a good chicken feed that increases egg-production and is healthy and fattening. Nettle seeds give horses a sleek, shiny coat.

Harvest nettle leaves while flowering and gather the roots in the fall. Gather young shoots in spring for making a revitalizing tonic that cleans the lymphatic system.

Nettle grows wild and can be found in pastures, meadows, and other sunny places. The plant flowers from June to September. Nettle plants usually grow to a height of 2 to 3 feet. Its perennial roots are creeping, so it multiplies quickly. Wild nettle patches usually indicate that the soil is rich in nitrogen.

* Nettle may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals so take a small dose the first day. Always consult a physician before using any herbal remedy.