The sight of the downy “cotton”, swirling on the breeze used to make me groan. The innocent looking bits of fluff shed from Cottonwood trees equaled misery. Everything was itchy — eyes, scalp skin — plus sneezing, and congestion. Allergy meds just barely took the edge off.
Then I discovered Stinging Nettle! Voila! Allergy season? What allergy season?
Now, rarely a day passes when I don’t have some of this wonder in my cup.
Medicine for both body and spirit, Nettle, sometimes called ditch weed, is fascinating and magical!
When fresh, it has tiny little barbs that leave your skin stinging if it comes in contact with them. This sensation can sometimes last hours.
For those that suffer with joint inflammation, those barbs can be miraculous. After the sting, nettle medicine goes to work reducing stiffness, inflammation and often times pain.
As time passes and harvested nettle dries, the medicine evolves. It is a deeply nourishing, nutrient-dense herb and one of the most well-loved adaptogens— helping the body to cope with the effects of stress. Nettle helps many people (like me) with seasonal allergies as it seems to naturally quiet the body’s inflammatory reactions to the allergens so prevalent in spring and summer.
One of the easiest ways I find to incorporate Nettle is by making Nettle Pops— a deep infusion of Nettle, frozen in ice cube trays, that I can easily pop into just about anything. I add one to my mug before pouring in the hot water for tea. I’ve popped them into soups, stews and sauces. I also add them to smoothies. As general rule I use 1 per every 12 to 16 oz of liquid.
Nettle has a grassy, green flavor that is easily masked by stronger tastes and blends nicely with floral or green teas.
The proportions in this recipe make for a very concentrated infusion, packing one nettle pop with a lot of nutritive goodness.
3 cups dried nettle leaf
5 cups water
Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and then add nettle, reduce heat again to low and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Leave sitting on the counter for 4 to 5 hours then place in the refrigerator over night.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the nettle infusion into a container with a pour spout. Make sure to use a spoon and press the nettle against the strainer so you can squeeze as much of the infusion out as possible. Pour the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze. Store cubes in an airtight container in the freezer.
*This may stain ice cube trays depending on which kind you have.
Keep in mind. Nettle is an herb and thus contains constituents (think active ingredients like a constituent in oranges in vitamin c) and should be treated as such. Be sure to do your research before using and make sure you have researched contraindications before ingesting!
Spiritual Healing with Nettle
The spiritual medicine of nettle mirrors it’s potent physical aspects.
In life we have received barbs that sting. Sometimes the irritation and hurt can last for hours, days, months or even years. Nettle helps transmute those barbs to become medicine. Soothing hearts, cooling anger, nettle instructs us on how to transmute the sting into powerful medicine. The medicine of standing in our power, naturally quieting inflammatory reactions to outside opinions that trigger our emotions. Deeply yet quietly nourishing us with energetic fortification.
There are many ways, from the simple to the complex, that you can invite Nettle in as a Spiritual Ally.
The simplest way is to consciously interact with the Nettle before you bring it into your body. Before you sip your Nettle tea, or consume the sauce you enriched with a nettle pop, think about a situation of hurt or irritation that is weighing you down. Invite Nettle in, asking to transmute the sting into powerful medicine. Notice what happens in the days that follow.
If you want to take it deeper, before you place the Nettle leaves in your cup or pot, blow on them softly. Breath is one of the most intimate things we can share. The act of gently blowing on the nettle creates a conduit between your spirit and the spirit of the plant. Then speak to what you desire — healing, relief, new insight, nourishment. Ask Nettle to partner with you in your desire.
There are two other plants that combine with Nettle to create an amazing, spiritual healing trifecta for old wounds. I explore those herbs as well as some beautiful, potent ceremonies over on my Patreon Page. You can find me under Scarlett Maebh, Medicine Woman. Consider becoming a Patron for even more recipes, rituals and fun giveaways.