Where does the name come from? “The word comes from the old English word noedl, which means needle and refers to the needle sharp burning of this famous plant. Its Latin name Urtica comes from uro, which means to burn- those bristly hairs contain formic acid and causes the skin to burn.”
It is an ancient herb that has its place in myth and magic, in history and in the pharmacopoeias of the world. The coarse fibres in the stems were used to make the first fabrics known to humanity. Nettle sprigs were placed in milk buckets to protect the milk from witchcraft and nettle bundles were used to ‘flail’ the limbs in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes.
Stinging nettle is rich in the following nutrients: Calcium, copper, essential fatty acids, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulphur, zinc, vitamins B1,B2,B, B5 B6 and E.
Rich in iron, a rinse made with nettles can help combat hair loss and promote hair growth. Drinking nettle tea may also help battle hair loss, as iron can help with circulation to the scalp, in turn fuelling hair growth. Nettles will also help with an imbalance of sebum (the oil that your pores produce) which can make a difference if you suffer from dandruff or dry scalp.
This wonderful herb can be used in many different ways, and here are a few recipes which you will find useful:
Chicken and Nettle Broth
A little sea salt
2 large onions roughly chopped
4 large carrots grated or thinly sliced
4 celery stalks and leaves chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
I cup nettles, roughly chopped
Boil the chicken, in 2 litres of water with a little sea salt and the onions, carrots, celery and parsley and nettles until the meat falls off the bone. Then chop up the chicken and the vegetables. The soup should simmer gently for the whole day to get all the goodness into the water.
Nettle Hair Treatment
Boil 3 cups nettle leaves in 2 litres of water for 10 minutes. Cool and strain. Use to comb into the hair, massage into the scalp and rink a cup of nettle tea 4 times a week.
or as a hair tonic:
-1 large (gloved) handful of fresh nettle leaves or 5 tablespoons of dried nettle
-2 cups of fresh water
-A few drops of your favourite essential oil
-A bottle for storing
If using fresh nettle, place in a pot and cover with 2 cups of water and bring to boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes. Cool, then strain the liquid, add in a few drops essential oil and store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
If using dried nettle, bring water to a boil and then pour over the herb, letting it steep for 20 minutes before cooling, straining, and adding your essential oil.
To use, pour over your hair in the shower and massage or comb in, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse.
Chris and Sue