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How to harvest Nettle

Written by Mercedes on Friday, 29 June 2012. Posted in How to, Opas Blog

Wild Nettle Plant (Urtica dioica)

Stinging Nettle, a plant not many are aware of is one of the greatest healing plants out there. What is so special about nettle? Nettle is that plant in the garden that you discovered accidentally when it's prickly little hairs decided to sting you. It grows like a weed in the right soil conditions, preferably where mineral rich and wet ground abounds.

What is nettle used for?

Nettle is a gentle diuretic and can be used to urinate often. With frequent bathroom trips comes automatically cleansing the entire body. Looking for another way to get your daily vitamins and mineral intake, try drinking nettle or rather why not cook up a pot of nettle spinach? Did you know nettle has more iron than spinach? Find our nettle spinach recipe below.

Is your hair thinning? Try drinking or eating nettle weekly for thicker hair growth. In addition, your nails will grow stronger and your skin will glow. Other ways to use nettle include making a tea and use the water as a leave in rinse when washing your hair. Nettle is full of protein and can be a great addition to your hair regimen.

Not so fond of pouring tea in your hair? Need some moisture left behind? How about a hot oil treatment with nettle? Harvest the tops of your nettle plants, use 6-10 leaves, infuse them in 3 tablespoons of oil. Olive oil or jojoba is a great oil for the hair. Use a double boiler method. Take a pyrex or tea cup that can withstand heat, set that in a hot bowl or pot of water and mix the nettle leaves with the oil continuously for about 5 minutes. Set the infusion aside overnight. For more potent oil, transfer the oil and leaves to into a lidded glass jar to store for 2 days to a week. Strain the oil to remove the oil from the leaves and its ready to use. Use the oil on your hair as a hot oil treatment or add oil to the ends of your hair.

Wild Nettle Plant (Urtica dioica)

How to harvest nettle?

How can a plant be so healing and beneficial at the same time sting us with its prickly hairs? Harvesting nettle is not hard and if done correctly many stinging incidents can be avoided.

What you'll need:

- Garden gloves
- Scissors or garden scissors
- A bag or bowl to set your nettle leaves into

Pick what nettle plant you are going to harvest from. Nettle grows like crazy so some of us have more than one nettle plant growing in our yard. You can also harvest nettle in the wild if it doesn't grow in your yard. Cut only the young leaves off of the plant. If the plant is bushy and in its full growth, the younger leaves are located at the top. Information passed on down generation to generation, only harvest from the nettle plant when it is not flowering. This is not by all plants. For example, chives or lemon balm can still be harvested from even when flowering.

Place your freshly cut young leaves into a bowl. When harvesting for nettle spinach, younger leaves are also preferred.

With quality tea, you should be able to make two batches of tea equaling greater or slightly less as the same strength as the first initial batch. This is my way to tell if the herbs and flowers in the tea are grown organically and harvested during its peak cycle.

When to harvest nettle?

Harvesting times depends on where you are located. In California, harvesting is late Winter and early spring from late February - April then again in the month of September . In Europe, as early as April until the end of May and then again in the month of September. The seasons lately have been a little late so there is no clock, just go by instinct of purchase a local Moon Calendar or Almanac.

Nettle benefits into detail

The stinging nettle contains ingredients such as: amine, calcium, magnesium, iron, folic acid, potassium, silica, nitrogen, phosphorus, vitamin C, provitamin A and chlorophyll. Folic acid and iron play a role in blood formation while silica strengthens the connective tissue, nails and hair. Beta-sitosterol, present in nettles root, is used to treat benign prostate.
Properties of stinging nettle are: astringent, diuretic, tonic, anodyne, pectoral, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic, nutritive, alterative, hemetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, anti-lithic/lithotriptic, haemostatic, stimulant, decongestant, herpatic, febrifuge, kidney depurative/nephritic, galactagogue, hypoglycemic, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine.

Nettle has 1.4596 mg of iron compared to Spinach that only has 0.813 mg of Iron per 100g. Nettle is a great source of vitamin K as it contains 443.754 mg. Vitamin K is good for building strong bones. A report from the Nurses' Health Study suggests that women who get at least 110 micrograms of vitamin K a day are 30 percent less likely to break a hip than women who get less than that. A deficiency of vitamin K can manifest as a tendency to bleed excessively as vitamin K is essential for the blood clotting process.

Vitamin C and provitamin A strengthens the immune system. Drink for increased energy, thicker hair and stronger nails. May also increase glow in skin due to varieties of vitamins and minerals.

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