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Don't let the name scare you away! Stinging Nettle, or Nettle, has been well regarded throughout the ages for both its culinary and medicinal uses.
A cold tolerant perennial herb, native to North America and Eurasia, is so named for the burning sensation one gets from brushing up against its coarsely toothed oval leaves, armed with stinging hairs. We recommend using gloves when harvesting. Grows best in moist and nitrogen rich soil.
As a culinary herb, Nettle is a favorite spring green. Cooking destroys the sting, and use as a spinach substitute. Perfect when steamed, sauteed or stir fried. The young leaves are rich in both minerals (calcium, iron and potassium) as well as vitamin A and C. Harvest leaves when the plants are between 4 and 6", as older leaves tend to be tough. Italians use Nettle for their delicious Risotto Alle Ortiche, and there is also a famous Russian Nettle Soup that brings out the nutty, mild and 'green' flavor of Nettles.
Known for it's medicinal properties, Nettles have been used for centuries. Properties include antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, astringent and diuretic. A traditional 'blood purifier', and gentle diuretic, this medicinal herb removes toxins from the body, relieves the pain of arthritis, and clears up skin disorders, helps with poor circulation, anemia and seasonal allergies. A word of caution: use only with the advice of a physician, and take caution if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Briscoe's Tips For Nettle, Urtica dioica
Characteristics: An easy to grow cold tolerant herb that grows tall.
Light: Can be planted in either full or part sun.
Water: Prefers moist, loamy soils with nitrogen
Soil: Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained, nitrogen rich soil
Use: Make sure to wear gloves when harvesting to avoid the 'sting'~