For the Love of Nettles!


Nettles in the garden!

Spring is in full flower here at Frog Moon Hollow! The frogs and salamanders are playfully splashing about the pond and the peepers sing us to sleep every evening. Our deeply-loved hummingbird family has returned to us once again, and Peep the chipmunk is busily darting back and forth from his secluded nook beneath the front stone steps to his (not quite) secret cache at the back of the firewood stack.

I’m abundantly overjoyed that I am out there each day rolling in the dandelions and digging in the dirt. But I was ill for pretty much the entire month of April and into May–one thing after another, sapping all of my strength: a stomach virus, followed by a wicked chest and head cold, followed by another (even worse) stomach virus, never giving me a chance to bounce back. And through most of it, I couldn’t turn to my trusted herbal and food-as-medicine-based remedies, as my stomach was in such an uproar that tinctures and most teas were out of the question. I limped into May, deeply wary and worried of how I’d handle the road ahead: some strenuous upcoming travel and running a large work-related event in Manhattan. I could barely manage the usual daily tasks and obligations. Physically speaking, I’d hit rock bottom–devoid of energy, immunity, and any remnant of vim or vigor. My beloved flower essences gave me the inner strength to keep going forward when I felt I could not, and to stay hopeful, positive, and forward-thinking throughout, but I knew instinctively that I needed a physical jolt of some sort to get my body back to a place of health and vitality.

A few days before our trip, I looked out of the solarium over the sadly thus-far neglected garden. The chives were leaping up, the sorrel abundantly bursting (and already well munched by the snail population), and the nettles growing larger by the day. Last year–distracted by a misplaced attention to other people’s priorities–I let them go too long and missed my opportunity, never harvesting any before they went to flower (at which time they become unfit for human consumption, potentially causing irritation to the bladder or kidneys, though they are still good for composting and fertilizing purposes). I was determined that this year would not follow suit. So I forced myself off the couch and into actual clothes (harder than it sounds! I’d literally not had enough oomph for this in a frightening number of days), slipped on my raspberry pink and purple muck boots, and headed out to clip the tops off bowlfuls of beautiful spring greens. After blanching to remove the sting, I made a big ol batch of pesto, with heaps of nettles to spare, planning to freeze it all for later use. But for the first time in weeks, I suddenly found myself actually wanting to eat. I smeared gobs of pesto on kelp noodles and stirred in loads of chopped greens. With every bite, I grew stronger. I drank the blanching broth as tea and used it as a base for kitchari, loaded with nettles greens. In the morning, I whipped up the Learning Herbs nettles-based Earth Shake and drank it by the pint. For three days I ate and drank fresh nettles morning, noon, and night.

By the third day, I was not just back to normal–I was far better than before, with more energy, clarity, and vitality. I’d used nettles tea and tincture in past years to help combat spring allergies, to great success, virtually eradicating my usual spring sinus miseries. So I knew that they were mighty allies, but I never fully appreciated their seemingly magical life-giving properties! With an astounding nutrient profile (amazingly high in iron, vitamin C & A, and much more), they truly are a super food and the mucilaginous quality so soothing to the digestive system. I breezed through my travel and work endeavors with energy to spare. They were my powerful little miracle-workers, replacing the vitamins and minerals I’d lost through weeks of unpleasantly vigorous dehydration, and giving me something more, some additional boost–nutritionally, medicinally, energetically. Bless the nettles and the bounty all around us!

Have you had a similar experience with these powerfully zippy green guardian angels? Share in the comments here or on our Facebook page!