Monday, 9 November 2009

Nettle as a wild food

The nettle (urtica dioica) is a fantastic healing herb and food. Although most people regard it as a weed, it is possibly one of the most useful plants available to us. I hope, over time, to write a whole lot more about nettle and my experiences of using it.

Young nettle tops are incredibly rich in the minerals which are sadly lacking in a lot of other foods. They have an antihistamine effect and can be used to treat allergies and hayfever. Nettles also enhance natural immunity.

Delicious Nettle Soup

Nettle tea is really simple to make – just grab and handful of fresh nettle tops (wearing suitable gloves of course!) and stuff them into a teapot. Pour on freshly boiled water and leave to infuse for 15 – 20 minutes. Pour the tea and drink it. The tea is reported to be good for the following; spring tonic, anaemia, bleeding, diarrhoea, gout, fluid retention, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, coughs, allergies, regulates breast milk production, skin problems and high blood sugar. Nettle tea can also be used externally for cuts and wounds, and as a hair tonic.

Have a watch of this excellent video about nettles by Frank Cook. Frank says that nettles should become the national food of england!

Frank Cook on Nettle as Wild Food from Robin Harford on Vimeo.

Nettle Nutritional Profile
(calculated on a zero moisture basis per 100gm)
Aluminium: 13.8 mg
Ash (total): 8.4%
Calcium: 2900 mg
Calories: 0.60 /gm
Chromium: 0.39 mg
Cobalt: 1.32 mg
Crude Fibre: 11.0%
Dietary Fibre: 43.0%
Fat: 2.3%
Iron: 4.2 mg
Magnesium: 860 mg
Manganese: 0.78 mg
Niacin: 5.20 mg
Phosphorous: 447 mg
Potassium: 1750 mg
Protein: 25.2%
Riboflavin: 0.43 mg
Selenium: 0.22 mg
Silicon: 1.03 mg
Sodium: 4.90 mg
Thiamine: 0.54 mg
Tin: 2.7 mg
Vitamin A: 15,700 IU
Vitamin C: 83.0 mg
Zinc: 0.47 mg
Source: Nutritional Herbology: Mark Pedersen

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