I was first introduced to nettles at my husband's family cabin north of Santa Fe. I grew up in Las Cruces, in the southern part of New Mexico, and had never come across this plant. I was told that everyone avoided the nettles patches because they would sting you. After I began my herbalism studies, I learned that nettles are an amazing plant, full of nutrition and medicinal benefits.
Many herbalists, if they could only choose one plant, would choose nettles. The great herbalist and teacher, David Hoffman, has said: "When in doubt, choose nettles."
Yes, nettles do sting. They have tiny hairs, full of histamines and other constituents, along the stem and underneath the leaves. These constituents do cause some pain, but it is short-lived. In fact, some people willingly step through nettle patches or slap it against stiff joints in order to bring inflammation to that area. It supposedly can ease arthritic or joint pain by doing so. It is also said that if nettles didn't sting, it would be eaten by wildlife because it is so nutritious. Perhaps this is nettles' way of surviving.
Nettles are rich in a variety of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, silica, potassium, manganese, sulfur, chlorophyll, Vit A (beta carotene), Vit C and K, glucosamine and more.
Although the uses of nettles is legion, nettles have an affinity for the kidneys and adrenal glands. Nettle is known to perform better than the prescription drug Furosemide in reducing blood pressure via its diuretic activity, increasing using output and salt excretion, yet it replaces more minerals than are lost in the urine.
Nettle is a good source of iron and helps with fatigue, anemia and malnourishment. Nettle root helps with prostate complaints and pelvic stagnation. Nettle seeds are particularly helpful for burnout and exhaustion and help with kidney problems.
Spring is a great time to use nettle. It helps seasonal allergies and is considered an all-around tonic. Spring is the time we pick nettles to make our leaf tincture. Later on in the season we gather the seeds and late in the fall we harvest the root.
High Mesa Botanicals offers three nettle products.
Nettle Leaf Tincture
Nettle Seed Tincture
Nettle Root Extract