Many of you have been stung by nettles, while spending time in the nature, yet don’t give in to anger and start weeding them away. The hairs of nettles protect the curative and hair-strengthening power of vitamins.

The nettle is a well-known edible and medicinal herb. Only of young sprouts up to 15 cm, harvested in spring, can be used for food or tea.

Nettle leaves contain 19.7 % protein, 3.6 % fat, 22.3 % (in time of blooming — up to 30 %) cellulose, formic acid, butyric acids, tannins, glycoside urticine, a lot of calcium (2.4-7.9 %), potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, silicon, sulfur, chlorine, many vitamins — C (0.6 %), K, B2, B3, carotene, xanthophyll, xanthophyll epoxide, violaxanthin, 2-5 % chlorophyll (in young plants — up to 7 %), protoporphyrin, coproprotoporphyrin, cytosterine, histamine, enzymes (oxidase, peroxidase, chlorophyllasis), etc.

Dried leaves can be used for a great and very beneficial tea, fresh and young sprouts — for a vitamin-rich soup, while a besom in sauna will relieve pains.

Harvested nettles are immediately transported for drying. Spread out in a thin layer nettles can be dried in a dryer, or a well-ventilated room or shade, occasionally turning them upside-down. The temperature in a heated dryer cannot be higher than 50 °C. The leaves are removed before the stems dry out. Then the raw material is sorted, eliminating brown leaves, stems and other impurities.

Dried leaves should be crisp, hairy, dark green, slightly bitter and have a peculiar scent. Raw material should contain no more than 14 % moist, 5 % unnaturally-coloured leaves, no more than 10 % of crushed particles, falling through of a 3 mm sieve, and no more than 1 % of other organic additives.

Nettles are used for anaemia treatment. Nettle leaf tea is recommended for women after giving birth, since it increases haemoglobin, reduces bleeding (vitamin K increases coagulation) and improves uterine muscle tone.

Folk medicine uses not only nettle tea, but also nettle juice. These preparations eliminate harmful micro-organisms and stimulate wound healing. Infusion or juice can be applied to eczema-damaged skin, trophic ulcers and burns.

Nettles cannot be used in cases of increased coagulation or allergies.

Young leaves can be used for soups and teas. Nettles are especially valuable in spring.

Nettle leaf tea tonic strengthens hair. Add 1 tablespoon of dried and crushed leaves to a glass of boiling water. Wash the hair and rub the tonic into the scalp.

Literature

Butkus, V., et. al. Mažieji miško turtai. Vilnius: Mokslas 1987.

Čekauskaitė,  L. Gamtos vaistinėlė.  Kaunas: Spindulys, 2003.

Kaunienė, V.; Kaunas, E. Vaistingieji augalai. Žinynas.  Kaunas: Varpas, 1991.

Obelevičius, K;  Petkevičiūtė, S;  E. Šeinauskienė, E.  Prieskoninių augalų ir jų vartojimo žinynas.  Kaunas: Lututė, 2011.

Ragažinskienė, O.;  Rimkienė,  S.;  Sasnauskas, V. Vaistinių augalų enciklopedija.  Kaunas: Lututė, 2005.