Herb Queen of the Spring: Stinging Nettle Benefits

See for yourself why nettle is a powerful herb to have at your disposal.

Reader Contribution by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt
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Adobe Stock/montypeter
Beautiful nettle in nature with sun. (Urtica dioica)

Preserve this healthy wild weed rich in vitamins, minerals, and iron, while also learning about stinging nettle benefits and some recipes on how to cook it!

Here in the Appalachian Mountains, spring creeps across the landscape. Despite a vicious cold spell that swept across our curvy hills, wild edibles are emerging in our valleys, meadows, and forests. One of the most nutritious and energy-rich of these wild edibles is a dark-green weed with a ferocious bite. Stinging nettle is her name, and though she bites with shockingly strong needles, her leaves are well worth harvesting, for they are extremely nutritious and fortifying for the body.

Stinging Nettle Benefits

As herbalist Susun Weed writes in her herbal e-zine, “Nettle is amazingly rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially the critical trace minerals: anti-cancer selenium, immune-enhancing sulphur, memory-enhancing zinc, diabetes-chasing chromium, and bone-building boron. A quart of nettle infusion contains more than 1000 milligrams of calcium, 15000 IU of vitamin A, 760 milligrams of vitamin K, 10% protein, and lavish amounts of most B vitamins.”

Nettles are also high in vitamin C and iron, making them an excellent supplement for pregnancy, bone and blood health. Here at Wild Abundance, a permaculture and primitive skills school just north of Asheville, North Carolina, we harvest nettle in these early months of spring, while the plant is still young, and relish the taste of this health-giving herb. Here in Appalachia, we also gather a native woodland nettle (Laportea Canadensis) as well as the common stinging nettle (Urticaceae), which grows across North America, Europe, through Asia and in northern regions of Africa.

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