It’s taking time for me to make friends with nettles.
This seems contrary to the experience of other herbalists who consider it a darling. Nettles ranks among the most useful herbs. First, it’s leaves, roots, and seeds are all powerful but different medicines. Second, it is a nutrient dense, mineral rich green vegetable. Third, it can benefit almost every part of our bodies in some way: skin, digestive system, immunity, kidneys and urinary tract, respiratory system, allergies and colds, reproductive system especially prostate gland, musculoskeletal pain relief, and nervous system. Way before I ever thought of studying herbalism, I was prescribed nettles in capsule form by a naturopathic doctor I saw for a chronic cough and fatigue I was struggling with after having my three children in less than three years. This was a shaky introduction, but it was after planting nettles in my back yard that our friendship troubles began.
The actual stinging experience is a bit of a shock. You think, whoa, nettle leaves really do sting. It goes away pretty quickly, but it does hurt. You can see the little spiky hairs all along the stems and back of the leaves. But even more aggressive is the way nettles send out runners and take over a garden.
Nettles bullies me, perhaps not on purpose, it’s just her way. And I am learning to accept her and making peace. I think I am even beginning to love her a bit. I have learned that good gardening gloves that extend past your wrist, long sleeves, and kitchen tongs help immensely. I have not yet figured out what to do about the garden takeover.
Recently, I couldn’t find kale in my small local supermarket for an egg muffin recipe my daughter had asked for. Quickly it dawned on me that the huge amount of nettles in my backyard would work as a replacement. It was a moment of bonding for me. Baking these rolls was another.