Power of Nettle

Категория: 

nettle in natureAre you tired of spending a lot of money on food. Why don't you try free and delicious food which mother nature provides for you. It is so simple to just go to the park, garden or countryside and pick up free food, which will heal and nourish your body in the same time as feeding you.

There is no food like this in supermarket. This food provides you not only, nutrients but energy as well. Food which grows close to you is the food you should eat. That is the way mother nature created this world. Only the energy from food which grows around you will have the healing and boosting power. Or do you think that the food you are buying in the shops, which needs to be transported long distances, spending long days by ship or car, plane can do the same. The food which goes through radiation, which is picked up not ripe and by is sprayed with a lot of chemicals. That this food can make your body full of life and supply you with a lot of vitality till later age. I don't think so. If mother nature wanted us to eat oranges and bananas, they would grow everywhere. Each food has energy and properties which are needed for the weather and conditions in place where they grow. Is it not simple? You may think it is too simple to be true.

We are spending so much money on super foods which are overpriced and are not better then the one you can find for free in the parks close to you, or grow them in your garden for little cost. But it would not make profit for companies who supply them and the shops that sell them. We are lacking in basic information which our grand parents handed down from generation to generation. They were slowly lost in the last generations. What a pity!

I will introduce to you one of the free source of food. You definitely know it, but may not realise how beneficial it is and have not known how to use it in daily cooking and preparation of your food. Have you ever been eaten nettle? Have you ever think how nutritious nettle is? When you hear of nettle most people think of about the stinging power of it, but hardly any know the taste.

The nettle is native to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa, and North America . It has been used since ancient times as a source of food, fibre, and medicinal preparations. The nettle is a fibrous plant and was used in cloth manufacture from the Bronze Age to the early 20th century.

nettle in nature 2The nettle is one of the most common herbs growing in Ireland. It grows everywhere and it is mostly regarded as weed. Our ancestors were aware of the beneficial effects to our body, which is endowed nettle. In Ireland, nettle soup used to be very popular and still is used by the older generation. It is a free and delicious food with a great taste. Its flavour is similar to spinach and cucumber when cooked. Nettles have unlimited use in cooking. It can be used in recipes instead of spinach, added to soups, stews, salads, etc... Including nettles in your diet gives you a huge boost in Vitamin A. A 1-cup serving contains 1,790 IU of Vitamin A, nearly three times the amount you need in a single day. It serves as an excellent source of vitamin K, a vitamin your body requires for blood clotting. Each 1-cup portion contains 369 to 493 percent of the daily recommended intake. Nettles supply iron, in each 1-cup portion contains 7.7 percent to 17.5 percent of the daily recommended intake, depending on your nutritional requirements.The calcium content of stinging nettles is also significant; 1 cup provides 32.9 to 42.8 percent of daily requirement. It also contains amines ( mainly histamine and serotonin), plant sterols, and large amounts of chlorophyll. 

How to use nettle as food? Young leaves are cooked as a spinach-like vegetable, made into soup, added to meat, egg, and vegetable dishes. It is also an ingredient of herbal beer, and as a wrapping for cheese (notably Cornish yarg). It is adviced to wear gloves when collecting nettles because of the stinging effect. The best way is to cut it with scissors or clippers. Dried nettles will not cause stinging. The most important part is the medical uses of nettles. The nettle has a large variety of applications.

It can be used internally in form of infusion, tincture, elixir, food and honey. Internally it is benefitial for:

  • Osteoarthritis of hip, knee and hand

A few clinical trials studies suggest that nettle’s benefits in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hip, knee and hand. According to the study from 2000 participants using nettle leaves reported less pain and disability compared to those who used the placebo leaves. The difference in pain reduction remained significant during the first week following treatment and then disappeared gradually thereafter.

  • Benign prostatic syndrome (BPS):

Nettle is effective in ameliorating symptoms associated with BPS.

  • Gout:

In Germany, the nettle is used as herbal remedy for treating of gout.  Nettle for it’s painful sting upon touching it helps lower uric acid. It contains vitamin C, which is known to reduce uric acid level. Nettle juice and infusion may help relieve the pain of gout as well. The effect is not very powerful, but long–term use may give definite clinical results.

  • Anaemia

Iron content in leaves.

  • Digestion:

Astringent tannins protect the gut lining from irritation and infection. Nettle stimulates liver and kidney function and clears toxins; relieves diarrhoea and flatulence.Seeds improve thyroid function and reduce goitre.

  • Respiratory system:

Nettle clears catarrh in coughs, bronchitis, hay fever and asthma. Seeds and fresh juice are used for fevers and lung disorders.

  • Immune system:

Antihistamine properties in Nettle help with allergies such as asthma and hay fever. Nettle has also detoxifying properties. Flavonoids content in nettle have immunostimulatory effects. Antibacterial activity in nettle works against Staphylococcus aureus and S. albus. 

  • Reproductive system:

Nettle tea stimulates milk production in nursing mothers. It also regulates periods and reduces heavy bleeding.

  • Urinary system:

As a diuretic; relieves fluid retention, cystitis and urethritis. Helps prevent bed-wetting and incontinence.

  • Skin:

Depurative and anti-inflammatory actions help to clear skin in eczema, urticarial and other chronic skin problems.

  • Seasonal allergies:

A nettle extract shows in vitro study inhibition of several key inflammatory events that cause the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

  • Diabetes type 2:

Extracts of Nettle leaves may help with glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes patients that need to use insulin.

  • Finger Nails

Drinking a cup of nettle tea every day may promote healthy nail growth as nettles contain silica and other minerals necessary for nail formation.

It can be used externaly in form of ointment, cream, salve, balm, foot soak, bath herb, infused oil, and liniment. Externaly it is benefitial for:

  • Arthritic and rheumatic problem:

Fresh nettles are brushed over painful areas to reduce local pains.  Rubbed the juice of nettles on a wart for 10 to 12 days to eliminate them. 

  • Cuts,  wounds, haemorrhoids, burns and scalds, bites

Use fresh juice/tea  and rubbed it on the affected area.

  • Circulation:

Fresh nettles used to sting skin to stimulate the circulation.

                                                            

Here are some general information about nettle:

Common names:

Nettle, stinging nettle, common nettle, greater nettle

Family:

Urticaceae

History and folklore: 

Before the nettle became popular in herbal healing, it was used in weaving. At Bronze Age sites in Denmark nettle-fabric was used for burial shrouds. During World War I, when cotton was in short supply in Germany, nettle cloth was substituted. Around the 3rd century B.C., Hippocrates’s Greek contemporaries used nettle juice externally to treat snakebites and scorpion stings and internally as an antidote to such plant poisons as hemlock and henbane. Nettle was also used by Roman soldiers in cold climates. They flailed themselves with nettles, because the herb’s sting warmed their skin. Early European herbalist used nettle tea to treat cough, tuberculosis, scurvy and stop nosebleeds. The herb was also smoked to treat asthma. In the 17th century, herbalist Nicholas Culpeper used the decoction of the leaves in wine to provoke women’s menstruation. In the 19th century, nettle juice gained a reputation as a hair-growth nostrum. American Indian women believed drinking nettle tea during pregnancy strengthened the foetus and eased delivery. It was also used to stop uterine bleeding after childbirth. Nursing mothers also used nettle to increase their milk production.

Botany:

Nettle is native to Eurasia. It is a coarse perennial with creeping yellow roots and ovate, pointed, deeply toothed leaves, to 8cm long, which are covered with bristly stinging hairs. Minute green flowers, with males and females on separate plants, are born in pendulous clusters, to 10cm long in summer.

Part used: 

Whole plant leaves, root, seed.

Harvest:

The aerial parts harvest at any time during the growing season. Nettles are the best when harvested prior to flowering. They can also harvest several times a year once the plant is established. The whole plants for medicinal use are cut as flowering begins in summers and dried for use in infusions, liquid extracts, ointments, powers, and tinctures. For culinary use are pick young leaf tips from plants less than 10cm high, before they develop oxalate crystals.

Energy: 

Cool, slightly bitter, bland.

Chemistry: 

Amines – histamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine and serotonin. Minerals (including potassium, iron and calcium), rutin, quercetin, malic acid, formic acid, and chlorophyll. Silicon, tannin, glucoquinines and vitamin A and C, K. 

Actions:

Alterative, astringent, haemostatic, diuretic, galactagogue, blood building, antihistamine, expectorant, tonic, depurative and anti-inflammatory.

 

Dosage:

  • Tincture – use ¼ to 1 teaspoon up to twice a day.

  • Infusion – use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to 2 cups a day. Used for high blood pressure, congestive heart fatigue, and hay fever.

  • Cool tea – drink  1 cup two to three times a day. It is used as a diuretic for such urinary problems as strangury  (stopped urine), gravel, and inflammatory conditions, including nephritis and cystitits.

  • Warm tea – use 2 to 3 cups a day. It is used for asthma, mucous conditions of the lungs, diarrhea, dysentery, haemorrhoids, various hemorrhages, scobutid affection and summer dysentery (especially for children). It is also very helpful in treating mucus in the colon in adults.

  • 120mg of Stinging Nettle (root) taken three times a day (totalling 360mg) is associated with benefit in Benign Prostate Hyperplasia.                                                                                                      

  • For children over 2 years of age and people over 65 of age – start with low-strength preparations and increase strength if necessary. Nettle should not be given to children under age 2.

Safety:

  • Avoid in oedema from impaired cardiac or renal function.

  • Avoid with diuretics and antihypertensives.

  • High blood pressure: There is some evidence that stinging nettle above ground parts might lower blood pressure. If you are taking blood pressure medications along with stinging nettle, your blood pressure might drop too low.

  • Avoid with Warfarin. Nettle parts contain large amounts of vitamin K.

  • Diuretics deplete the body of potassium, an essential nutrient. If nettle is used frequently, food high in potassium need to be eaten, such as bananas and fresh vegetables.

Ecological & Conservation issues: 

Stinging or common nettles are widespread. They can be found in woodlands, hedgerows, gardens and disturbed ground. They tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions, though they seem to like moisture and soils rich in nitrate and phosphate. Given these conditions, nettles can grow to a height of a metre or more. In addition to their prolific capacity for seed production, stinging nettles can reproduce or spread vegetatively by means of their underground stems – rhizomes. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for nettles. Nettle germination rates of about 50% are to be expected. It is propagate by root division in early spring.  The individual plants will spread into large clumps in years 2 and 3.

 

Referencing:

Bown, D. (1995). Encyclopedia of Herbs. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, pp. 398.

Beyazit,Y. Kurt, M. Kekilli, M. et al. (2010). ‘Evaluation of Hemostatic Effects of Ankaferd as an Alternative Medicine’, Alternative Medicine Review, 15, pp. 329-336 [Online]. Available at: http://altmedrev.com/publications/15/4/329.pdf (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

 Castleman, M. (1995). The Healing Herbs : The ultimate guide to the Curative Power of Nature's Medicines. New York: Bantam Book, pp. 393-398.

 Dar, S.A. Ganai, F.A. Yousuf, A.R. et al. (2013). ‘Pharmacological and toxicological evaluation of Urtica dioica’, Pharm Biol, 51, pp.170-80.

 Frawley, D. D. (2001). The Yoga of Herbs. Twin Lakes: Lotus Press, pp. 208.

 Hoffmann, D. (1996). Holistic Hetbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. New York: Harper Collins .

 Jacquet, A. Girodet, P.O. Pariente, A. et al. (2009).  ‘Phytalgic , a food supplement, vs placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial’, Arthritis Res Ther, 11(6), pp. 192 [Online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20015358 (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

 Janke, R. DeArmond, J. Coltrain D. (2014). Kansas Herbs. Available at: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/ksherbs/stinging_nettle.htm (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

 Kianbakht, S. et al. (2013). ‘Improved glycemic control in patients with advanced type 2 diabetes mellitus taking Urtica dioica leaf extract: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial’, Clinical Laboratory, 59 (9-10), pp. 1071–6 [Online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24273930 (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

Koch, E. (2001). 'Extracts from fruits of saw palmetto (Sabal serrulata) and roots of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica): viable alternatives in the medical treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and associated lower urinary tracts symptoms', Planta Med, 67(6), pp. 489-c500 [Online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11509966 (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

Lopatkin, N. Sivkov, A. Schläfke, S. et al. (2007). ‘Efficacy and safety of a combination of Sabal and Urtica extract in lower urinary tract symptoms—long-term follow-up of a placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial’, Int Urol Nephrol, 39(4), pp. 1137-46 [Online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18038253 (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

 McIntyre, A. (2010). The Complete Herbal Tutor. London: Gaia, pp. 167.

 Randall, C. Randall, H. Dobbs, F. et al. (2000). ‘Randomized controlled trial of nettle sting for treatment of base-of-thumb pain’, J R Soc Med, 93(6), pp. 305-9 [Online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10911825 (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

 Roschek, B. Fink, R.C. McMichael, M. et al. (2009). ‘Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis’, Phytother Res, 23(7), pp.920-6.

 Safarinejad, M.R. (2005). ‘Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study’, J Herb Pharmacother, 5(4), pp. 1-11 [Online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16635963 (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

 Schneider, T. Rubben, H. (2004). ‘Stinging nettle root extract (Bazoton-uno) in long term treatment of benign prostatic syndrome (BPS). Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled multicenter study after 12 months’ , Urologe A, 43(3), pp. 302-6 [Online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15045190 (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

 Tierra, M. (1992). Planetary Herbology. Twin Lakes: Lotus Press, pp. 333-334.

 

 Wikipedia! (2014). Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brennnessel_1.JPG (Accessed: 13 March 2014).

 Wikipedia! (2014). Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_dioica (Accessed: 14 March 2014).

 Wilmont, S. Bilanow, T. (1999). The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs: The A-Z Guide to Enhancing your Health and Treating Illness with Nutritional Supplements. Pleasantville: The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.

 Woodlands.co.uk! (2014). Available at: http://www.woodlands.co.uk/blog/woodland-flowers/white-flowers/stinging-... (Accessed: 14 March 2014).