Saturday, January 29, 2011
Herbal Ally Challenge #3 Complete
There are several species of nettles that can be used medicinally. Urtica dioica gets most of the attention but there's U. urens, U. gracilis, U. procera, U. canadensis, U. pilulifera and U. holosericea. I have no idea how to tell the difference between them but I plan to find out this summer.
Nettle is in his own family, Urticaceae and is native to Europe, Asia, Northern Aftrica and North America. He has naturalized all over, including Australia and New Zealand.
Nettles is very nourishing and is great taken long term as a tonic. He has an affinity for the liver, kidneys and muscles.
He can be used to treat hives, low blood pressure, kidney problems, asthma, diabetes, promotes milk production, anemia in pregnancy, diarrhea, arthritis and gout, hypothyroid and his roots have been used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy.
He is great for all constitutions and will play his part accordingly. According to Matthew Wood, he feeds and builds up the thin and undernourished; counteracts the protein-sensitivity (allergies) of the medium pitta constitution and helps remove excess stagnation of water and mucus in the thick kapha types. Funny, because I suffer from all three of those problems: I'm abnormally thin, have allergies and problems with excess dampness and moisture in my body (think candida although I haven't suffered from that in a few years now but also mucus, sinus, lung congestion).
As a nourishing herb, Nettles is best taken as a food although he works great in infusions, teas, powders, elixirs, tinctures and cordials too. And don't forget Nettles BEER!! (although if you are using Nettles to de-tox your liver, I'd stick to the infusions, teas and food).
All parts of Nettle are useful, the roots, stalks, leaves, flowers and seeds. Although the leaves/tops are most often used, each has it's own place medicinally.
Nettles has also been used as a fiber. His stalks are processed very similarly to flax, stalks are allowed to soak and rot, the outer fiber is removed and then the strands are set aside to dry. Then they are separated and spun into yarn. Something I've wanted to try for years, I'll be doing this for sure this year!
How did everyone else do on their research challenge?