Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are forest herbs rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. The young plants are harvested to eat steamed, boiled for their rich broth, or dried for herbal tea.
The “sting” from nettles is not from thorns, but from fine hair-like filaments that when brushed against the skin, inject formic acid, the same chemical also found in the stings and bites of ants and wasps, causing a histamine response in the skin. Interestingly, the juice from the plant contains a natural anti-histamine and helps reverse the effects of the sting. This formic acid is rendered inert when Stinging nettles are washed, cooked and/or dried. (Read more here!)
Historically, Stinging nettles are used for their nutritive and mineral-rich benefits along with support for seasonal allergies. The leaves are mildly diuretic and mild galactagogues, and because of their vitamin and mineral content, are beneficial for third trimester, menstruation, perimenopause and postpartum and breastfeeding support.
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