I have decided to write a monthly herb column focusing on plants that grow wild on Lasqueti or can be easily grown in our gardens. If you have any questions about these plants or how to prepare them you can contact me at email@example.com. I have chosen nettles for this month as they are very abundant in some parts of the island right now and are an amazing food
Nettle leaves, seeds and roots can all be used, for different purposes.
The leaves are best picked in spring to early summer, before the seeds develop, as they become harder on the kidneys later in the year. To pick you may want to wear some gloves, and just pick the top few leaves. They are extremely high in nutrients, I consider them a super food, great for this time of year when we don’t have abundant greens in our gardens yet. They contain more protein than any other land plant, as well as lots of iron, calcium and chromium to name a few. Nettle leaves are diuretic, stimulating urination and alkalizing the body. They help flush excess uric acid out of the system and so are effective in gout. Drinking the tea over an extended period can help chronic allergies and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. As a food, the sting becomes nullified by light cooking, steaming or blending. The dried powdered leaves can be used as a green supplement, sprinkling them on foods, putting them in smoothies, etc. Try substituting nettle for basil to make a great pesto. To get the full nutritional benefit from
nettle leaves they are best taken as a tea, food or infused vinegar rather than in tincture form, although a tincture can be useful for allergies.
Nettle root is a great medicine for decreasing prostate inflammation as well as other pelvic inflammation, or just inflammation in general. Used along with Saw Palmetto (a plant found in the southern U.S.) it can be just as effective for Benign Prostate Hyperplasia as the common pharmaceuticals used for this condition. It can help lower nighttime urination and also help build testosterone levels in older men. It is best dug up in early spring or fall and can be make into a tincture or dried and simmered for a while as tea, or powdered and put into capsules.
Nettle seeds are very high in proteins and essential fatty acids and are a powerful tonic for the kidneys. They are a good supplement to take in kidney disease or when on dialysis. They are also a slight mental stimulant. They can be tinctured, eaten, or made into tea.