Hated by gardeners but loved by herbalists, the humble stinging nettle is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K, and in iron, potassium, manganese and calcium. The leaves are surprisingly tasty to eat, and can be cooked in the same way as spinach. If you are feeling brave, now is the time to pick them, while the leaves are still tender and before the flowers start appearing. But you can also get the benefit of these amazing nutrients without braving the stings.
At Sunlight Apothecary, we sell Floradix and Kindervital supplements, which contain nettle as a key ingredient.
We also stock Indigo Herbs dried nettle leaf for making into infusions and drinking as tea.
Hayfever sufferers might want to try a cup of nettle tea to help alleviate their symptoms. The leaves are anti-inflammatory and contain a variety of flavonoids which can have an antihistamine effect.
Both the leaf and the root of the nettle have a diuretic effect when taken as an infusion, helping to remedy water retention and prevent kidney problems (though please do make sure you also visit your GP). The root is also traditionally used to treat prostrate problems and complements Saw Palmetto as a tonic for men’s health.
Nettle is also a wonderful herb for natural beauty. The leaves contain silica, which promotes the growth of healthy hair and nails. Rinsing your hair with nettle tea is a traditional remedy to prevent dandruff and oiliness, and its high silica content leaves your hair feeling silky smooth.
The rich nutrients of the nettle leaf also benefit the skin when applied topically – one of the reasons why nettle is an ingredient in Sukin Hydrating Body Lotion, along with silica-rich horsetail and soothing aloe.
Even your garden can benefit from the nutrients of nettle leaves. The nitrogenous compounds in the leaves make nettle a great compost activator, and the high mineral content helps to enrich the soil. So once you have finished drinking your nettle tea, add the leaves to your compost.