Being caught by a nettle is not exactly pleasant. This is probably one of the main reasons why most people tend to avoid this plant or regard it as a weed. Yet the stinging nettle not only contains an extremely large number of nutrients, it seems to be a veritable miracle herb.
Hardly any wild plant is as robust as the nettle. And there is hardly a meadow, path or forest edge where it cannot be found. Only very few people take the opportunity to pick it and use it in salads, smoothies or soups. Yet the nettle has far more to offer in terms of vitamin and nutrient content than any cultivated vegetable from the supermarket and is extremely healthy. Yes, even expensive imported superfoods look downright old against the healthy nettle, which was voted medicinal plant 2022.
Stinging nettle, the healthy nutrient bomb
First things first: careful picking of the healthy medicinal plant with a glove ensures that the fine nettle hairs of the nettle are disarmed and thus can no longer burn. “Nettles contain a lot of iron, and in a form that our bodies can absorb relatively well,” explains Dr. Ursula Stumpf, pharmacist, alternative practitioner and author. According to the Federal Center for Nutrition, 100 grams contain about 4 milligrams of iron. That covers about half of the daily requirement of men and one-third of the daily requirement of women. By comparison, 100 grams of spelt contain just as much iron, but 200 grams of nettles are eaten faster than the same amount of the grain. And there are even more good things in it: calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, all B vitamins (except B12) and vitamin K.
Another plus is that nettle can grow entirely without pesticides and “free to grow”, which makes it particularly healthy. And because it is such a strong, independent and assertive plant, it is in a way obvious that these properties also have to do with its ingredients, which are said to be able to “transfer” to the human organism, so to speak, when consumed. “This makes the stinging nettle a real powerhouse,” says Stumpf.
Stinging nettles are said to make you smart and beautiful
The healthy nettle is not only said to be a nutritional bomb in disguise, the medicinal plant apparently also delivers a little beauty package. “The carotenoids it contains ensure healthy skin and shiny, full hair. In addition, it also has a lot of vitamin E to offer, which is known as ‘rejuvenation vitamin’,” adds the herbal expert. The plant’s diuretic and blood-cleansing properties work down to the tiniest cells, banishing fatigue and boosting memory to boot. “Nettle can actually help rusty brains get back on track – as long as it’s included in the daily diet.”
And that’s not all, another positive property is said to be inherent in the plant: “Nettles are allies of women, because on the one hand they stabilize the hormonal and reproductive system, on the other hand they make menstruation-related water retention disappear and compensate for blood loss by boosting blood formation.”
The aphrodisiac effect of nettle seeds
Although it has not been sufficiently scientifically proven, people have nevertheless always sworn by the aphrodisiac effect of nettle seeds. Ursula Stumpf knows about it: “The Greek poet Ovid told about the erotic effect 2000 years ago in his ‘Ars amandi’, the ‘art of love’: the seeds were the ‘best aphrodisiac in the world’. Ovid mixed the seeds 1:1 with black pepper at that time and added 1 egg yolk, some onion and garlic.” An interesting story.
What is considered certain, however, is that the plant hormones in nettle have a positive effect on our system. Whether they end up just getting the circulation going, or otherwise providing a bit of extra fire, is best left for everyone to figure out for themselves.
Traditional remedy for rheumatism and aching joints
Even if it sounds curious: Certain substances in the stinging hairs (neurotransmitters and “biogenic amines”) have a pain-relieving effect – as well as warming and promoting blood circulation. “In the past, people suffering from rheumatism therefore rubbed their joints with very fresh leaves,” says Stumpf. She therefore advises patients with osteoarthritis or rheumatism to get over themselves and try the old method for themselves. “They will find that they need much less pain medication.”
There is no need to be afraid of the versatile plant anyway, the herbal expert emphasizes: “Nettle teaches us mindfulness. And it is very invigorating. Anyone who has burned themselves on it is immediately wide awake and in the present.”
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