Stinging nettles have a flavor similar to spinach when cooked. They are rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Young plants were harvested by Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce. In some areas, they appear as early as January.
Soaking nettles in water or cooking will remove the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without incidence of stinging. After Stinging Nettles enter its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles, which can irritate the urinary tract. At its peak season, stinging nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable. The young leaves are edible and make a very good potherb. The leaves can also be dried and may then be used to make an herbal tea. The dried herbs can also be used in stews and soups. Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, in parts of Europe.
- Blood purifier and diuretic.
- Primary use has been for allergies (usually taken in capsule form).
- Used for urinary problems and rheumatic problems.
- Used for anemia, arthritis, food or pollen allergies, head and chest colds, relief of asthma and bronchial cough, hay fever, and prostratitis.
- The tea with honey and lemon is used as a stimulant.
- Increases flow of milk in nursing mothers.
- Makes an astringent gargle for sore throats and mouthwash for bleeding gums.
- Tea used as a rinse for dandruff.
The following information is from WEB MD it shows the interaction with prescription medicines.
- Lithium interacts with STINGING NETTLE
Stinging nettle might have an effect like a water pill or “diuretic.” Taking stinging nettle might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with STINGING NETTLE
Stinging nettle above ground parts might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking stinging nettle along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
- Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with STINGING NETTLE
Stinging nettle above ground parts seem to decrease blood pressure. Taking stinging nettle along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
- Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with STINGING NETTLE
Large amounts of stinging nettle above ground parts might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking stinging nettle along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
- Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with STINGING NETTLE
Stinging nettle above ground parts contain large amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, stinging nettle might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
As with any plant be sure of its identity before you use it.