Stinging nettles are from the family Urticaceae. Recognize that? It sounds similar to what the dermatologist says you have when you go to see him, urticaria or hives. Well, either that, eczema or atopic dermatitis, right? Interestingly, stinging nettle leaf is an anti-inflammatory, especially suited for allergic reactions of the skin, according to Prescription for Herbal Healing, by Phyllis Balch.
It’s a case of like treats like, as is the case with homeopathy. Although stinging nettle will give you quite the case of hives that sting and itch when encountered in nature, when prepared correctly, they have tremendous medicinal and nutritional value.
A preparation of the leaves can take the sting out of hives and skin rashes through it’s content of caffeic malic acid. The root extract can increase the availability of testosterone in the body known as free or available testosterone, giving your libido a boost. Extracts of the root and leaf are very effective at helping the immune system to modulate it’s production of inflammatory cytokines, very helpful in addressing allergic rhinitis and food sensitivities.
There have been studies showing that the root extract can be useful in treating the symptoms of arthritis and lupus, and perhaps we can extrapolate that to other autoimmune conditions. Nettles are high in Vit C, iron and chlorophyll, great for anemia, and can have a diuretic effect that can be useful for urinary infections.
There are certain warnings associated with the use of nettles as an herbal supplement, but in general, there are many delicious ways to use them in the kitchen. Mariquita Farm has a fabulous selection of recipes for this sublime spring and summer delight that you can explore and add to your kitchen’s menu!