What do you think of Stinging Nettle? I am always amazed at how much this plant can do for you. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is chock full of medicinal and nutritional benefits. It is called “stinging” for a reason – fine, stinging hairs filled with formic acid, just like fire ant bites, cover the entire plant. So you thinking, why in the heck do I want this plant if it is going to hurt me? Trust me, you will love this plant once you hear about all the good stuff!

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Let’s start with the medicinal benefits:

Herbal Actions – Blood Tonic, astringent, diuretic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, mild styptic, UT tonic.

Those stinging hairs also contain histamine and when the leaves and stems are freeze dried, the histamines are contained  and capsulized. The nettle then acts like an anti-histamine in your body. These capsules may help your allergy symptoms when taken daily.

A tincture or tea of nettle helps chronic skin and hair dryness, blood deficiency, hair loss and the immune system. I frequently add nettle to just about every client’s formula because it works well with many symptoms and boosts the immune system, which all of us could use a little boosting!

The root is used for Benign Prostate Hyperplasia(BPH), poor urinary output and urinary incontinence.

Contraindications: Avoid using with hemochromotosis(excess iron levels) or hyperkalemia(elevated potassium in the blood).

Nutritional Benefits: Iron, High Protein, Chlorophyll, Vitamins A, B, C, Calcium, Magnesium, Serotonin, Amino Acids.

Just plain good stuff!!

Here is a tonic recipe that is used by many and I believe the original recipe goes to Susun Weed.

1 ounce by weight of dried nettle leaf

32 ounces by volume of water(I use cold)

Pour water over herb in a quart canning jar. Cover and let steep 4 hours or overnight. Strain and drink within 2 days.

OH and while I was cleaning the thick stems away from the leaves and thin stems, I didn’t want to just compost them so I made an infusion of he stems! While it did not become as rich as using the leaves too, it still was quite good and I am sure, beneficial.

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I LOVE Spanakopita but have never made it before. I found a recipe using the nettles instead of the traditional spinach. Well I gave it a try and holy, moly, totally, freaking amazing!!! Here is my recipe and don’t be afraid of the phyllo dough – you will just curse the first few sheets. 😀

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Stinging Nettle Spanakopita

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

12 cups of fresh nettles(I think I only had 10)

3 eggs

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 cups feta cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tsp. fresh dill

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1/4- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

12 sheets phyllo dough. (TAKE 1 roll out of freezer 1 hour before using to thaw or as per instructions on the box.)

1/3 cup melted butter.

First – rinse your nettles in a colander. Don’t dry. I used the leaves and the thin stems. Be careful working with them until they are cooked! Heat a large pan on medium and add the rinsed nettles. Cook until wilted like spinach, you may have to add a couple spoons of water just to keep the nettles from sticking. Once wilted and cooked the nettle will no longer sting you.

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Remove from pan, drain if needed. Cook onion and garlic in a tablespoon of butter until tender.

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In a large bowl: add cheeses, eggs and spices. Add the nettles, garlic and onion mixture.

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Mix well. Have butter melted. Lay everything you need out next to each other including a wet paper towel to cover the phyllo dough.

Preheat oven to 350o.

Butter the bottom of a 9×13 pan, I only had a larger sheet pan. Carefully, butter one sheet of phyllo and place it on the pan. The first few are trick so you can practice on a couple until you get the hang of it without tearing them. Continue doing this to a total of 6 sheets, laying them on top of the previous one.

By the way – I do not have pics of this step because I was so afraid I would let the dough dry out!!!

Then spread your nettle mixture across the dough. Butter 6 more sheets of phyllo laying each one over the top. LIGHTLY score the top of the pastry with a knife into portions. Doing this makes it easier to cut when they come out of the oven without having a crumbly mess. 😀

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Bake for about 30-35 minutes until lightly brown. Eat as many as you want!!!

I found a whole bunch of other nettle recipes here.

Also visit Herbal Living at Mother Earth Living – I contributed part of this post there.

Enjoy your day today!

Anne-Marie

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