Skip to content
Fast & Free Delivery over $45

Nettle 101

2 Min Read
Nettle (Urtica dioica) in the wild
Updated on March 22, 2015

Don’t let nettle’s feisty sting scare you! Nettle, or Urtica dioica, has been used for over 2,000 years as a powerful spring tonic, to promote joint health and overall wellness. The benefits of this plant might come as a shock to many gardeners, who have spent hours of their lives carefully removing this “weed” from their gardens. We propose looking at this spring green a bit differently. Consider it as a powerful herb, that’s rooted in traditional use. Nettle’s earthy green taste and nurturing qualities remind us that spring has arrived to nourish us and help us blossom.*

We can see why nettles might be misunderstood. Almost every part of the plant is covered with tiny hairs called trichomes that release an irritating substance almost instantly when touched. Even though these chemicals are aggravating, they’re a huge part of this plant’s defense mechanism. In the photo above, taken by our in-house botanical microscopist, you can see the trichome of a stinging nettle. This is the part that’s responsible for the “venom” of the plant.

Homegrown Herbs

Underneath this fierce exterior is a powerful tonic that actually works rather gently and effectively when used consistently over time. Many traditional cultures would forage for this spring green and prepare it as food. When the leaves are blanched, dried or cooked down, the nettles lose their sting. When eaten, this plant is a good source of vitamin A and calcium. Nettle pesto, pasta, soup and bread are just a few of the many nourishing dishes you can create with this multi-faceted herb. This spring ritual brings an even deeper meaning to Hippocrates’ (the man behind the Hippocratic Oath) idea of using food as herbal medicine.

Nettle Leaf 101

If you’re lost in the woods, nettles may become your closest friend. Not only does this nutritious green provide sustenance, its fibers can also be transformed into rope (also referred to as cordage). This rope can be used to tie herb bundles together, create a makeshift fishing line or woven together to make a necklace.

Nettle leaf 101

Whether you need an earthy tonic tea, a hearty pesto or a rope in a desperate situation, nettles are here for you. We love the fact that this herb grows so abundantly throughout North America; it is a great reminder of all the treasures around us that nature provides. Now the next time you see another “weed” or “nuisance” plant, we hope you’ll remember that each plant has a powerful story just waiting to be told.

To learn more about medicinal weeds, be sure to check out our article “A Peek Inside: Roasted Dandelion Root.

You Might Also Enjoy

Shop All
Nettle Leaf Tea Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle Leaf supports joint health and overall wellness
Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger Tea Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger Tea

Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger Tea

This blend supports a healthy response to inflammation associated with an active lifestyle

Related Articles

View All

How Tea can Protect Ecosystems: FairWild collection with the BBC Storyworks Commercial Production

Climate change is altering landscapes. It’s harming global ecosystems and the people who depend on them. Over 40% of medicines found in western pharmacies are derived from plants, many of...

3 Herbal Hacks for Mental Health

Big emotions are often natural reactions to very real challenges. Occasional stress, overwhelm and stretches of melancholy can feel scary. And yet, you’re not alone. We’ve all had seasons of...

Herbalist Tips for Healthy Skin

While clear, dewy skin is often a bit of good luck, long-term health is very much dependent on healthy habits. Herbalists use plants inside and out to nourish the skin,...

4 Ways to Soothe an Anxious Mind and Stomach

Have you ever had an anxious gut feeling about something or felt nervous and experienced butterflies in your stomach? These sensations emanating from your belly remind us that the brain...

4 Ways to Improve Digestion with Herbs

Our gut works hard for us every minute of every day. When it is functioning properly, we hardly think twice about it. But the moment things go awry, it’s nearly...

Vegan Green Tea Matcha Ice Cream

Ice cream is the quintessential summer treat, and is even better when we can make it ourselves at home using whole food ingredients and an easy recipe that doesn’t require...

How to Become an Herbalist

Are you feeling called to explore the herbal path? Whether your intention is to begin a career in herbalism or simply to support the health and well-being of yourself and...

Herbal Podcasts for the Herb Nerd

Whether at home, road tripping, gardening, commuting or lounging at the beach, there’s always time to dive into the world of plant medicine, and herbal podcasts offer a convenient way...

How to Make the Perfect Herbal Sweet Tea

Nothing says summertime in the South like a tall, ice cold glass of sweet tea sipped on the porch during the buzzing heat of the day or enjoyed through warm,...

Hibiscus Iced Tea Spritzers

The beautiful hibiscus flower is the star of this refreshing recipe. Inspired by the ruby red drinks found at roadside stands in the tropics, we’ve created this bubbly Hibiscus Iced...

Stock Your Summer Apothecary

The smell of night-blooming jasmine, the sticky, moist air before an afternoon storm, the energizing midday sun, these are the quintessential signs of summertime. It’s the boldest of the seasons,...

Senna 101

What’s the most underrated herb? Senna. Alright, there are probably many more on our list, but if you’ve ever needed this trusty plant ally, you can’t deny its irreplaceable power....