stinging nettleUrtica dioica, better known as stinging nettle, is a perennial plant that grows wild all over the world and has a long medicinal and culinary history.  One of many nettle varieties,  the stinging nettle is so named  because its leaves contain tiny,  sharp hairs that can cause pain if  handled without gloves or eaten  raw. Once the leaves have been cooked or dried, the sting goes away, and they are safe to touch and eat.

Valued by native tribes in  places such as Asia and the  Americas for its astringent,  anti-inflammatory, diuretic and  tonic properties, stinging nettle  has been used medicinally to  treat arthritis, eczema and allergies and to promote lactation,  boost the immune system and  nourish the blood. It is high in vitamins A, C and K—an oftenoverlooked but vital nutrient that helps your blood coagulate.  In fact, a cup of freshly boiled,  steeped or dried stinging nettles  supplies nearly 600 percent of  the recommended daily value of  vitamin K. Nettles also supply  B vitamins, which help your  body use and make energy, and  the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron;  although, they also contain tannins and other iron inhibitors.

Nettle leaf can be harvested in the wild from forested areas and even along roadways or you can purchase it dried in bulk  or packaged in capsules or tea.

Try it! Our Stinging Nettle Soup recipe.