Nettles (Urtica dioica)

In our new Medicinal Woodland area which is still in development, there is a lovely patch of new growth Nettles. These are not a ‘weed’ (unless of course you do not want them in your garden) but an excellent source of nutrients

Nettles have a high Vitamin C content – this was important for our ancestors when they had survived winter with no green vegetables. This vitamin source can be good for us too as it is a green leaf vegetable that is easy to recognise and forage. Nettles are high in iron in a form that is easily absorbed in the human body and aided by the presence of Vitamin C & copper – both of which are needed for the body to absorb the iron. Nettles and its extracts have several reported health benefits and is a good general tonic because of its diuretic properties assisting the kidneys to remove urates from the blood.

Pick the leaves (carefully with gloves) when the plant is young and not in flower. Cooked lightly it has the texture similar to spinach with a neutral flavour.

Tender handed stroke a nettle, It’ll sting you for your pains, Grasp it like a man of mettle, And it soft as silk remains’.

If you do get stung you can try rubbing dock leaves on the inflamed area however it is apparently better and more effective to use the juice from Greater or Ribwort Plantain.