I think of it as POWER juice…
Dark green refreshing juice which gives me superpowers!
My secret weapon…
It helps to clean the system, provides a myriad of elements my body needs, and I would never even know. On a deeper level connects me to nature and Mother Earth.
When I was a small girl, spending summers in my grandma’s village- I clearly remember spending hours and hours of time on my neighbor’s farm. Beautiful memories. They had lots of stock – sheep, pigs, goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chicken, pigeons, turkeys and we used to watch the energetic old lady barehandedly chop up bunches of fresh juicy nettles into fine bits and mix with grinded grains as an extra treat for her birds (especially egg laying chicken). Her chickens would go crazy for a supper like that. Eating fast and fighting for each last bit left. She would say that their eggs were so much better in seasons when nettles are abundant, their yolks were richer and darker orange-yellow.
She was also convinced that her reumatic pain especially in her hands, was significantly less because of the majestic gift of the nettle plant.
This wisdom stuck with me. I have high regard for stinging nettles. In England where I live one can find beautiful fresh nettles all year long. In spring not far from where I live whole fields of nettles grow, standing tall, looking beautiful, lush green, and really extra big (think Jurassic park) like their conditions under the trees. They are sometimes more than a meter tall. One can tell by the bright fresh green color of its leaves that the power of this plant is at its peak in spring.
This is the time to go for a cleanse. Inside and out. Go for a juice fast for a week or two. That’s also the time to bathe in nettles ( “ nettle bath tea”). One can take advantage of this season and help the quality of hair- rinsing the hair with nettles infusion after a bath. I sometimes gather big bunches of these young fresh nettles (cut upper parts of the plant- most fresh-looking tips of plants with young leaves) dehydrate them and turn into green powder, then store them for winter months to come or for use in times when I travel- as a green powdered protein-rich superfood to add quickly and conveniently to morning juice served in the hotels where I stay. Best kept in airtight glass containers in the fridge or kitchen cupboards.
It is February at the moment and went for a walk yesterday- ran into this beauty.
I felt grateful and made my morning juice, of which sharing a simple recipe with you here.
A generous bunch of fresh NETTLE leaves
Half a peeled GRAPEFRUIT
Fresh GINGER/TURMERIC (as much as you can handle)
Cup of filtered water
Green juice bag
Blender (preferably high powered)
Glass jug, jar or a big glass
Place all ingredients in a blender.
Blend until sufficiently smooth (time of blending will really depend on your blender type/engine and the setting of it).
Place the green juice bag into the spacious glass jug/jar/glass.
Pour in the green-smoothie-like liquid.
Strain naturally (hang the juice bag just above the glass jug using your kitchen cupboard handle) or help it by squeezing with your hands.
Drink immediately but slowly once ready! Feel its healing power…
(to see images of juice straining look up my post about PARSLEY juice)
I have dedicated a whole page to this wonderful plant in my little book.
I have huge respect for its healing power. And I am not the only one. Open any herbal remedies book and you will see what I mean. My experience is firsthand. One can say ‘I am partly made of nettles’ at some point in the year.
People in some places use the nettles as a vegetable in their cooked meals.
You could try to steam nettle on fresh butter with garlic and salt.
There are many recipes online for so called” nettle SOUP” – all different variations of blended soup containing nettle leaves and some of following olive oil/ potato/ carrot /leek/ onion/ lemon juice/ butter/ cream/ spices/salt.
And of course – nettle TEA. Prepare as a simple herbal infusion, either from dry or fresh leaves. In a place I am coming from, it is a very common healing drink. Try to add few mint leaves if nettle has too a “metallic” after taste for you.
I personally prefer to drink fresh nettle juice though, as I feel it is the most potent “medicine” for me.
The history of nettles and their use is also fascinating.
From ancient times it has been used as a source of food, fiber, and medicinal preparations.
As a medicine stinging nettle is ( wait for it : ) an astringent, diuretic, tonic, anodyne, pectoral, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic, nutritive, alterative, hemetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, anti-lithic/lithotriptic, haemostatic, stimulant, decongestant, herpatic, febrifuge, kidney depurative/nephritic, galactagogue, hypoglycemic, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine.
The fibres from stinging nettles throughout human history in a different part of the world were used to make sailcloth, sacking, cordage, fishing nets, burial shrouds and cloths, materials for clothing similar in feel and appearance to silky linen, or cotton used for clothing items.
Stinging nettle is one of the richest sources of chlorophyll in the vegetable kingdom. A decoction of the plant has been used to produce a green dye for clothing for centuries, even as a food colouring agent for canned vegetables.
A standard practice of flogging oneself with the fresh nettle plant, called urtification, was prescribed to treat such illnesses as chronic rheumatism, lethargy, coma, paralysis, and even typhus, and cholera. This practice of URTIFICATION is known to many cultures and has been used for thousands of years.
Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) and his followers reported 61 remedies using nettle. Stinging nettle has always been recognized for its tonic and nutritional value. Nettles have been traditionally used primarily in the springtime to stimulate slow winter blood. It is a traditional remedy for scurvy, anaemia, and lack of energy. This is due to its high level of iron, vitamin C, magnesium, and other nutrients.
The infusion was found to be helpful in increasing milk production, both in humans and in cows. It has been used freely as a gynaecological aid by women of the North American aboriginal nations. The juice is taken by pregnant women who are overdue to promote labour. The tips of the plant were chewed during childbirth, as well as the infusion being drunk to relax the muscles.
Other uses have included the stems and leaves soaked in water and the water used as an organic pesticide, being applied to plants with mites or aphids. The plant enlivens and conditions the soil, speeding decomposition in compost heaps, and improves the health and vigour of plants. The list of amazing (absolutely fascinating to me) facts about the uses of nettles throughout history is very long, and I only mentioned a few. Hope you’re still reading. To explain the medical aspect of effects on nettles on the human body would take a heavy book to describe, not one blogpost. I think in the future I may go into details on it for those who are interested…
Now let’s take a step further- and have your baby benefit too. For breastfeeding mothers, the first thing I always mention (as counted above)- the nettles belong to galactogogue– means it helps stimulate breast milk production.
Once you’re in the stage of introducing solids to your little angel – feel free to enrich your little one’s first fruit or veg blends by adding a fresh YOUNG nettle leave or two.
If you prefer to steam, that is fine also, still you would reap some benefits. Adding it to your baby’s diet you are providing the building blocks for body proteins (single amino acids) helping them to grow and all the minerals. *(am adding a fuller count of vitamins minerals etc at the end of this post, as it is so long)
Start with an easy and more’ palatable’ one as a BANANA-BLUEBERRY-NETTLE.
Build your confidence up and test and try veggies as SWEET POTATO-NETTLE, CARROT-GREEN PEA-NETTLE, PARSNIP-APPLE-NETTLE, AUBERGINE-PUMPKIN-NETTLE...
Dilute your fresh green juice with water and offer at any time of the day to your kids. Add nettle leaves to fruit-based smoothies for the whole family.
PS1: Warnings and contraindications: only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys.
Avoid the fresh plant preparation in unreasonably large doses, except the cooked or steamed greens in pregnancy, as some of the stinging hair constituents can induce uterine excitation and, in rare cases, contractions. Otherwise, nettle helps to nourish the mother and foetus, eases leg cramps and other muscle spasms. (Diminishes pain during and after birth and prevents haemorrhage.)
Other side effects of nettle are rare but include allergic effects such as edema, oliguria (an abnormally small production of urine), and mild gastric irritation. The seeds, when taken in unusually large portions, can induce a lethargic sleep.
PS2: one more tip (maybe uneasy for some people to imagine):
Are you on a fast and do you feel the need to restore your colon bacterial flora balance? Rather than researching and spending money on probiotics, try to do a couple of enemas with fresh green diluted nettle juice. This serves as a natural probiotic…
Stinging nettle is a powerhouse of nutrients. It contains on average 22% protein, 4% fats, 37% non-nitrogen extracts, 9-21% fiber, and 19-29% ash. The leaves contain about 4.8 mg chlorophyll per gram of dry leaves, depending on whether the plant was grown in the sun or shade. Surprisingly, more chlorophyll and carotenoids are found in plants that have been grown in the shade. The dried leaf of nettle contains 40% protein. They are one of the highest known sources of protein in a leafy green, and of superior quality than many other green leafy vegetables, The fresh leaves contain vitamins A, C, D, E, F, K, P, and b-complexes as well as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B-6, all of which were found in high levels, and act as antioxidants. The leaves are also noted for their particularly high content of the metals selenium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. They contain boron, sodium, iodine, chromium, copper, and sulfur. They also contain tannic and gallic acids, gum, and wax. Sixteen free amino acids have been found in the leaves, as well as high silicon levels in the leaves, stems, and roots.
Ready to go forage now?…