(This is a stand alone post but it also updates the post Nettle seeds the Superfood on your doorstep)
Have you noticed that right now in early September the nettles are going to seed? These seeds are so nutrient dense that they make an amazing health and energy boost! So it’s really worth grabbing some gloves to go foraging for some, then use them to sprinkle on your meals or drinks.
Important to note about the leaves of nettles at this time of year (after the nettles have flowered) AVOID using the leaves for tea as they change and contain little calcium carbonate crystals that could irritate the kidneys. Only use the fresh spring leaves for teas. So after nettles have flowered focus on collecting their seeds.
Nettle seed health benefits
Nettle Seeds are a great mood lifter and boost energy, so best to eat them in the day.
They have health benefits for the Endocrine system, Kidneys – help boost tired adrenal glands (burn out), help support the Liver function, they help with underactive thyroid, and to improve health of skin and hair! Eating nettle seeds can help kill of parasites in the gut & stomach.
How to collect Nettle Seeds…
The seeds are ready when the little stems holding the seeds hang down towards the ground.
The female nettle stems have the most nettle seeds (pictured on the LEFT below) so you focus on collecting those and not the male ones with less seeds (pictured on the RIGHT). It’s easy to identify them as will be the ones with more abundant seeds, and the seeds are ready when the stems are hanging down not lying laterally to the plant stem.
The best way to harvest them is to cut of the top part of the stem with the seeds off the plant and leave it to dry naturally.
Then when dry remove the leaves and can push the seeds through a sieve that will help to remove their hairy husk and keep out any bit of leaves. The dried leaves and stalks can be ground down and the powder added to water as a nitrogen rich plant fertiliser, discover how to make a fermented plant fertiliser here.
Once you have all the seeds you can put them in an old herb jar or shaker so you can easily add them to your porridge, yoghurt, soup, smoothie or any dish you wish!
FUN FACT – Why do nettles sting?
Nettle leaves and stalks are covered with tiny hairs that pierce the skin, they are called Trichomes – these contain histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin and formic acid. It’s the histamine that causes the first initial sting, then if you rub it the serotonin acts as an irritant and causes the swelling, then the formic acid causes the burn of the sting.
TOP TIP TO REDUCE NETTLE STING – Wash the nettle sting with water and dont touch or rub the sting if you want to reduce the pain.
Do Dock leaves help ease nettle stings?!! Urban myth busted!
So this urban myth does have truth! Dock leaves contain antihistamines in their sap which is why breaking one to release this sap and try squeeze that onto the Nettle Sting can help.
HOWEVER do try to just dab or pat the dock leaf on the nettle sting and avoid rubbing because it can increase the irritation). SO YES your grandparents and parents are correct not crazy!
Basil leaves could also help in this way they are very high in antihistamine.
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This information here is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This information should be used only under supervision of a qualified health practitioner.