Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tasty Tea 8: Nettle

Me surrounded by my nettle friends, in pure heaven!
Nettles are more than just a tasty tea.  Nettles are amazing!  The stuff is like liquid gold, rich in iron and calcium.  When I drink nettle tea, I just feel darned good, and so will you!  In previous blog posts, I talked about stinging yourself with nettles but I didn't go too much into the benefits of regular consumption of nettles.  This wonder herb has called to me since my first pregnancy with Serafin.  My mom had recommended them to help keep my iron levels up and the water retention down.    The stuff is amazing, yes, that's the second time I've said that.  Now, I drink them, I eat them and I even sting myself with them.

Whenever I'm feeling bloated I drink nettle tea.  Whenever I need energy or feel a bit down in the digs, I drink nettle tea.   It's a dieretic, anti-inflammatory and filled with anti-oxidents.  It is said to cleanse the body, flush the kidneys and help promote strong blood vessels.  There are periods of time when I drink this tea every day in large quart size jars.  I brew it in the morning, a couple of Tbs fulls of the herb and let it sit on the counter for a few hours till the tea is a rich dark green, then I carry the jar around with me till I've slurped it all up.  Yum.  Simply thinking about it is making me want to go and make myself a "cuppa".  You can also throw freshly picked nettles in some soup or, as I've recently learned, make pesto with them!

There is a large nettle field growing near our house, when I take my dogs out to walk I've been admiring its beauty.  It has been calling to me.  Nettles are best picked in early spring, when the young shoots are fresh from the ground.  Nettles should not be harvested and consumed after they have flowered, the old leaves contain irritants to your kidneys and digestive track.  If you are lucky, you can find it growing in your garden, I see them everywhere!

I was coming down the hill with a bowl full of nettles and tripped, a few leaves landed on my wrist and ouch!  It sure did sting for a bit, but yes, it was kind of a good pain!

If you haven't felt a nettle sting before, don't be shocked, they do have a bit of a bite!  Nothing too bad, but if you aren't ready for it, it can surprise you.  The hairs under the leaf and on the stem will prick you and you will get a few bumps, it can ache, but in some strange way I actually like it.  They say the prick is good for arthritis and other joint pain, perhaps that's why I don't mind so much, the nettles are just kissing me to help my achy joints!

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