Nettle and its many uses.

by Hananja Brice-Ytsma (MNIMH, MSc).

Nettle seems to be an annoyance to many gardeners, however, it is an incredible useful herb to the herbalist. A few Centuries ago an herbalist might have suggested patients suffering from Rheumatoid Athritis, to role in a patch of nettles, to clear the pain, and swellings. The sting has been shown to be of help in Osteo arthritis, this had been research in an randomised, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial, where the nettle leaf, or an placebo was stroked over the painful area. Nowadays, as a herbalist, I find patients not so keen on this practice. However it also has a use by taking it internally, the herb able to excrete uric acid, and being a diuretic, helps with reducing inflammations. Inflammations flourish in an acidic environment, and hence the increase of uric acid output is one of the reasons nettle can be of use. There are more reasons why it can be used in inflammatory conditions, it has a cytokine inhibitory activity, in a dose dependent manner. It has been found to inhibit clycoocygenase and 5-lipoxygenase derived reactions in vitro, possibly explaining the anti inflammatory effects.

so its uses are wide and varied


Arthritis, osteo- and rheumatoid.

chronic skin problems, such as eczema, psoriasis

allergic reactions such as hayfever, allergic rhinitis.

how to take nettle;

there are many ways to take the nettle, just as a tea; one uses two heaped teaspoons per cup of the dried herb.

Or make it into a juice, although it is quite stringy and hard for the juicer.

Or herbalist might use it in a tincture, one can use the fresh herb, to make ones own tincture, try and pack as much fresh leaves into a container and cover with vodka, leave to stand for ten days, shake daily. after ten days, strain, and press the liquid out of the leaves.

But it can also be make into a soup

Recipe for nettle soup:

25g butter

one onion

450g potatoes

500g nettles tops

1 lt vegable stock

150ml cream

some nutmeg

fry the onion in the butter for about 2 minutes, and add the nettles and potatoes, add stock, boild for 15 minutes.

use blender to puree the contents, and serve.


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