Grow | Harvest | Make with Nettle
When in doubt, choose nettle.
David Hoffman, herbalist
I D E N T I F I C A T I O N
Grows 5-10 feet tall
Oval, finely serrated leaves in opposite pairs
Fine hairs along stems and leaves contain formic acid that will sting skin upon contact
Small clusters of greenish yellow or white flowers at the base of leaves
Seeds form along the stem at the top of the plant
G R O W / F O R A G E
Rich, moist, well drained soil
Can enrich poor soil
Full to part sun
Edges of streams, meadows, old compost or manure piles
Will spread vigorously, choose low traffic area
H A R V E S T
Spring and fall
Upper third of plant
Use scissors and gloves to avoid being stung
Antidotes for sting: plantain, jewelweed, dock leaf, aloe, baking soda
Cut back after flowering for a second, fall harvest
Collect seeds in early fall once they've turned brown
D R Y
Cool, dark place with good airflow
Leaves can be moved from stems before or after drying
Dry, cook or brew before use to neutralize the formic acid
It's like having herbal health insurance.
Robin Rose Bennet, herbalist
P R O P E R T I E S
Cool | Dry | Salty | Stimulant
Alterative | Astringent | Diuretic | Expectorant
Rubefacient | Tonic
Iron, chlorophyll, protein, vitamin K, vitamin c, silicon and other additional minerals.
M A K E
Tea: nature's multi-vitamin, tonic for kidneys, liver and/or adrenals, blood building, postpartum, allergies, gout, kidney stones, arthritis, anemia, water retention
Oil: skin nutritive
Rinse: hair strengthener and growth stimulator, dandruff
Flower Essence: protection
Culinary: nutritive seasoning, replace spinach or kale in recipes, seeds for energy
For educational purposes only. Not intended for medical advice. Always consult your physician.
📷 Terri Windling's blog
Folklore & Fables of Nettle
Nettles are so well known that they need no description. They may be found, by feeling, in the darkest night.
Its species name is Urtica dioica. In Greek, "uro" means "urine" as nettle helps tone the kidneys and is a diuretic while "di-oikos" means "two houses" as the male and female flowers are separate on this plant.
The name nettle might originally be derived from the Anglo Saxon word "noedl" or needle due to its tiny hairs that sting.
Common names include stinging nettle, burn nettle, devil leaf, devil's apron and devil's plaything.
Ruled by Mars and the sign aries, its element is fire.
In floriography, or Victorian Language of Flowers, nettle signifies cruelty or slander. Another metaphor is "you are spiteful."
The symbolism for nettle is focused on protection, both of health and from danger. It aids in toning and replenishing vitality and helps ward off negative energy and spirits. In olden times, farmers would harvest nettle before dawn and feed it to their cows to protect them from evil and fortify their health.
Known as Stiðe or wergulu, Nettle is one of the nine plants in the Anglo Saxons Nine Herbs Charm. It is a poem written in the Lacnunga, an11th century medical text, which describes an herbal preparation and makes a connection to Woden, the old English name for the Germanic god of healing and wisdom.
Nettle is associated with Thor, the Norse god of thunder. People would hold the plant during a thunderstorm to thwart a lightning strike or toss a bundle into the fire as an offering to him.