Stinging Nettles

A weed that will ease arthritis, gout, eczema, hay-fever, and is an excellent tonic.

Love is a garden full of flowers and marriage is a field of stinging nettles’ Finnish proverb

Stinging nettles Barefoot LifeI do find this a bit harsh! The stinging nettle is such a useful herb once you get past the sting……but I guess that could apply to marriage too!

It is very easy to grow provided it is given enough water. The biggest problem is where to plant it.  To avoid accidental stings, it needs to be away from areas where people and animals walk.  I wouldn’t plant it in a very small garden or if I had small children around.

As the plant gets very big quite quickly, but would be a perfect ‘security’ hedge, especially if you have planted other ‘security’ plants but still waiting for them to get to their full size.

Making fabric with nettles goes back to the Danes in the Bronze Age who wrapped their dead in nettle fabric shrouds.  In fact, the name ‘Nettle’ derives from words meaning textile plant.  In World War 2 it was used to make a dull green dye for uniforms.

Roman soldiers, suffering from cold, flailed themselves with nettles as the sting warmed their skins. This practice, called urtication, is sometimes still used to treat the pain of arthritis and agony of gout.

Stinging nettle soup Barefoot HerbsNettle Soup tastes a lot better than it sounds, in fact it is delicious. Don’t tell anyone what they are eating and wait for the compliments.

Not keen on soup? What about some Nettle Beer? I tasted some years ago  and it was really nice, but have never got around to making it.  If you are a home brewer this could be a recipe for you.

Nettles are very rich in minerals, including iron, and Vitamins A, B and C, making them an effective tonic.


To treat anemia, liquidise the whole plant with a little water or add them to a smoothie.

Nettles clear the body of uric acid which makes them an excellent treatment for gout and arthritis. An infusion can be taken daily and, as they taste fairly bland, it is easier to take than some of the other arthritis remedies which tend to taste dreadful.  Nettles increase milk flow for breast-feeding mothers and can relieve the symptoms of hay-fever and help to clear eczema.

A compress or poultice helps painful joints including those of arthritis, gout, sprains and sciatica. For eczema and other skin problems, the infusion can be applied to the skin after washing.

The root reduces prostate enlargement and can be used for hair loss after an illness.

Please remember to always wear gloves when you harvest it!

Stinging Nettle – Urtica dioica


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