As well as longer days and (hopefully) warmer weather, Spring is the time for fresh new plants and flowers to bloom and thrive. Stinging nettles, scientifically known as Urtica dioica, is an example of a plant that is perfect to pick at this time of year and has multiple medicinal uses.
So simple and easy to find also, as everybody has come across them at some point and recognises them, to pick them (using gloves!) pick the tops of the nettles in early spring, around 4 of the leaves pulling from the stalk underneath the leaves and it will easily pop off and can be picked again throughout Spring as they grow back. You can find them pretty much anywhere as they grow as weeds, but steer clear picking them from busy, main roads instead wander down your garden, local parks or woodland and they’ll be there!You then wash them through a sieve and running water, and can then hang in bunches to dry or use fresh in your cooking the same way you would use fresh spinach, or use it fresh as I have and brew your own herbal tea!
You will need:
As nettle isn’t a particularly strong flavour I had some fresh rosemary in so added that as well, but it is perfectly fine on its own or you can experiment with any other fresh herbs you think would complement each other! (E.g. lemon balm or mint would be lovely).
Pour the boiled water over a handful size of fresh herbs (roughly a 3:1 ratio nettles to rosemary as the latter is quite a strong flavour and can be bitter) in the teapot, cover with the lid and leave for 10-15 minutes, then strain and enjoy! A good idea is to pour into a flask (if you’re not sharing!) and then drink throughout the day.
Such a beautiful and delicious tea! And of course very good for you! (Disclaimer: I would always recommend you do please see a professional medical herbalist to have a full consultation before treating yourself.)
Health Benefits –
Nettle (Urtica dioica): the aerial parts of the plant are high in vitamins A, B and C, iron and silica. Contains amines which make nettles anti-allergenic (especially in hay fever). It is anti-inflammatory making nettles very good in acute arthritic conditions such as gout and rheumatism.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): the leaves contain aromatic oils, flavonoids and tannins. It’s a lovely tea to improve digestion, relieve tiredness and headaches. It is well known as a ‘memory tonic’ and so is good for when concentration is needed whilst studying, for example. The smell from the aromatic oils can improve anxious and mild depression states.
Thank you for reading and follow me for lots more herbal medicine and health-related posts!
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.