Some Stinging Nettles History
Since before the days of Rome, people have been using Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica or Urtica urens) for treating gout (also known as “gouty arthritis”), arthritis, and rheumatism. The method they used was called flagellation or urtification. They would take a handful of the plant by the stems and “slap” the painful area repeatedly.
The first time I heard Nettles used as a treatment for gout was by this method.
This method decreases the original pain by reducing the level of inflammatory chemicals in the body and interfers with how the body sends pain signals to the brain.
What are Stinging Nettles?
The Stinging Nettle is a herbaceous shrub that grows worldwide. You may have had a tenacious patch of it in your yard at one time or another!
Each Spring, it is one of the earliest plants to appear. It grows well in nitrogen-rich soil, blooms between June and September, and can grow up to five feet in height. The stems are upright and rigid, it has heart shaped leaves which are finely toothed and tapered. The flowers are yellow or pink and the entire plant is covered with tiny stiff hairs which release formic acid when touched, which is a skin irritant. The best time to harvest the young leaves, which are rich in iron, calcium and the Vitamins A and C, is in May or June.
How Stinging Nettles Help With Gout Pain Relief
- Used in a COMPRESS or CREAM it’s good for treating joint pain;
- Chopped leaves can be applied topically to the painful area;
- INFUSIONS made with fresh nettle leaves stimulate circulation and cleanse the system;
- TINCTURES are used in combination with other herbs for joint pain;
Compresses soaked in diluted tincture can be applied to painful joints;
The TEA has many uses, such as:
- Kidney and urinary system ailments;
- It aids in the discharge of metabolic wastes, such as uric acid crystals, which are a by-product of protein metabolism and, as they build up in the blood, they turn into monosodium urate crystals that lodge in the joints, causing extreme pain and inflammation. Actually, the inflammation is caused by the body’s own white blood cells that head for the area to “fight” off the crystals.
- It’s a diuretic and flushes the toxins from your body;
- The tea has been used for centuries as a “Spring Tonic” to cleanse the blood, tone and purify the body, and replenish the body with nutrients.
Different Ways to Use Stinging Nettles
- Tea made with nettle tops can be used as a blood cleansing diuretic that also stimulates the formation of red blood cells;
- To prepare the tea,pour 2/3 cup of boiling water over 3 – 4 teaspoons of the dried leaves and steep for 3 – 5 minutes. Drink 3 – 4 cups a day
- It’s great cooked up like spinach or other leafy greens. It’s flavor is pleasant and earthy flavor;
- An infusion can be made as follows: take 1/2 ounce of fresh nettle leaves to a pint of water. Pour boiling water over leaves a let stand for a short time.
- To make a tincture, add 4 ounces of water and 12 ounces of alcohol to 1-4 ounces of the powdered leaf or root. Let stand for 2 weeks. You may add a teaspoon of glycerin. After two weeks, drain off the liquid and put it in a bottle to use as needed.
- After harvesting, wash and cover with hot water for 20 minutes. This reduces their stinging power. Then used the “soak” water as a tea or a base for soup.
Available as. . .
Stinging nettle is available as dried leaf, freeze-dried leaf, extract, capsules, tinctures, infusions, and powder.
You can also find the different Stinging Nettles products at good online sources for the such as GNC, WalMart, and Amazon is always a good source and usually has the best prices.
In the Spring, you can harvest the fresh, tender leaves and dry them for use throughout the year. Watch the video below for pointers on how to harvest the leaves.
Besides being used by the Romans, the ancient Greeks used nettles to treat arthritis. 1st Century Greek physician, Dioscorides listed many uses for the plant, from the fresh, chopped leaves, to the juice, and cooked leaves.
The Aztecs used it medicinally in Mexico. The Aztec Herbal of 1552 recommended using crushed nettles boiled in water to be used as a poultice for arthritis.
Native Americans have long used it for urinary tract disorders.