Known for its urticating powers and for leaving the little blisters on your calves after a ride in the forest or on your hands after a little bit of spring weeding, this plant possesses numerous benefits. So what are we talking about ? Nettles, of course! And even nettles on YOUR plate!
“Yuck? But let me explain how much good they can do for you, and let me show you some recipes we have put together!
What is a nettle?
Belonging to the Urticaceae family, the nettle is a plant that at some stage almost everyone has encountered. Because of the histamine, acetylcholine and serotonin found in its hairs, it causes irritation when it comes into contact with human skin. Feared by gardeners and walkers alike, it grows everywhere from common gardens to wild forests and mountains.
There are several varieties, but the best known is the stinging nettle, recognised as a useful and effective medicinal plant with anti-polluting qualities.
They are mainly seen in spring and summer.
But where can we find nettles?
They are mainly found as either loose nettles or with herbalists. If not, you can always put on those very thick gloves hanging in the garage and pick some from nearby fields (be careful, as fields are often treated with pesticides). Look out for the youngest leaves which are more tender and less bitter than the older ones.
What are its benefits?
Ok, are you ready to be convinced of the benefits of this little spicy plant? Here we go, here is a list of its multiple health qualities!
- Nourishes through its richness in vegetable proteins
- Remineralises thanks to its wealth of vitamins
- Soothes allergies with an antihistamine molecule that decreases inflammatory reactions related to the symptoms of seasonal allergies
- Soothes muscle and pains in joints.
- Strengthens bone density thanks to its richness in calcium, magnesium, iron (3 times more than spinach), vitamins D and K
- Prevents anaemia through its high density of vitamin C (6 times more than an orange) which helps the assimilation of iron.
- Can soothe skin irritations (acne, eczema) by applying it as a poultice to the skin
- Protects the urinary tract by aiding diuretic activity
- Stimulates the immune system thanks to its content of immune-stimulants such as flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins A and C
- Facilitates transit and helps maintain a good balance in the gut microbiota
- Presents galactogenic properties by increasing milk production, and enriching the quality of milk
How can you incorporate nettles into your daily routines?
So, convinced? Not yet? Okay, here are some different and ingenious ways to seamlessly eat and use nettles. After this, no more excuses!
Nettle tea: Infuse the nettle leaves, stems or flowers in water between 60 and 85 ° C for 2 to 5 minutes. You can use fresh or dried nettle.
Nettle juice: Add some nettle to your favourite smoothie to make it even richer in nutrients (a recipe will soon appear in our recipes!).
Nettle soup: Soon a little recipe for Nettle Soup with Curry … ☺
Nettle Cataplasm: Chop fresh leaves and mix them with green clay. Then apply the paste on your joints for about 30 minutes to soothe your pains.
In powder: You’ll find nettle powder on the shelves of organic spice stores which you can add to all sorts of dishes (fish, meats, salads …).
You can also use nettle as a substitute for other vegetables such as spinach, and therefore add it to your mashed potatoes, your flans …
With all these benefits, nettles should still be used with a certain degree of caution. Avoid using them if you are on treatment for high blood pressure, for diabetes, on diuretics, anti-coagulants, or anti-inflammatories and if in any doubt, consult your doctor.