Stinging Nettle Diary – Part 1 (March)

I have a real passion for the humble stinging nettle(Urtica dioicra), for me it seems to represent everything that is wrong with modern attitudes towards the natural world. Being common it is unloved by the traditional gardener, who’s familiarity fuelled contempt has led them to brand this wonderful plant a ‘weed’ – a term of abuse which tells us more about the vanity of man than it does about the plant in question.

But the nettle has everything that a good plant has to offer. It is a breeding ground for some of our most beautiful insects, it is a wonderful source of vitamin C, it has medicinal qualities, it can be used to make rope, cloth & paper and, last but definitely not least,  it makes good beer!

With this in mind I have decided to keep a ‘Nettle Diary’ which talks about the plant and it’s uses as the year progresses. Spring is a good time to start, because spring is when the nettle is at it’s most delicious!

The young plants, which are only a few inches high during spring, are very succulent. With long sleeves and a pair of gardener’s gloves trim the top most leaves from the plant.  These can be used in many ways including…

As A Vegetable – boil for 4 minutes and use like spinach

Nettle Soup – boil leaves for 10 minutes, strain leaves and make into a purée. Add chopped onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, swede, parsnip, vegetable bouillon (or veg stock cube), ground black pepper and mixed herbs to a pot of water and boil ’em up.

Nettle Tea – take a handful of leaves and rub them gently to bruise them. Add to boiling water and wait 5 or 10 minutes depending on taste. Strain and drink hot, yum.

There are many more ways to consume nettles and we shall discus further recipes and other uses throughout the year. If you’d like to know more then contact Warren via greenjacker[at]

Until next time,



Part 2 now online here


13 thoughts on “Stinging Nettle Diary – Part 1 (March)

  1. It really helps me with cronic joint pain but I have to slap myself with it and its pretty radical but it takes away my horrible back and joint pain! It is called urtication – from nettles botanical name, Utrica dioica- and dates back to the biblical times. Quiet simply the plant is grasped in a gloved hand and the stiff, swollen joint is swatted, thrashed with the sting. Urtication often provides considerable relief. The tiny stingers of the nettle plant actually provide microinjections of several chemicals, one of which is histamine. The BBC ran an article on it back in 2000.

  2. It doesnt look like weed at all, get a clue, I smoke the stuff, marijuana grows flowering tops and buds, coccooned by 7 fingered leaves, within a bush of larger seven fingered leaves, it also grows with crystals covering it, and in most cases, furs which grow white, and become orange upon maturing. The buds also grow upwards, or across, like any other flower.

    I rest my case. Dont try to argue, thats a description of my personal plant

  3. I was hiking in Alaska today and got bit by this plant. First it jumped out and latched onto my leg (through my pants mind you), and then it angrily lashed out at my arm. I was not the only one in our group to get man-handled by this vicious plant, and I am also not the only one wishing the trail was lined only with daisies and tulips (like it was in What Dreams May Come).

    I also am not certain, without involuntarily applying uritication, how one would pick the ferocious beast for a gentle tea or salad. I’d much rather shop at good ol’ Walmart for my iceberg lettuce and raspberry vinegarette.

    Your buddy o pal,

    Stung by the nettle

  4. Ha! No, it is much different than Marijuana…I live in Humboldt County and we have plenty of both! I love Nettle, pick it when it’s young with gloves and scissors. I like to make a tea of it and let it sit overnight, I then strain it and use it in a base for Miso soup…yum! And yes, for pain relief, flogging myself is the best of course, but when it is down for the season, I make and sell a pain relief spray made of mostly Nettle. I use it on all my new and old pains, actually, I don’t go anywhere without it. It truly is an amazing plant!

  5. Pingback: Yes, you can eat Raw Stinging Nettles ! « Troō Food Liberation

  6. The nettle plant is a spiritual herb. If one uses it according to his/her spiritual beliefs it woud heal almost all chronic diseases including any stds. In fact I have been treeating an HIV/Aids person with nettle and he has shown remarkable results to the extent that he has stopped taking the medicaltion he was prescribed and his doctors are asking him what is happening. I have asked him not to disclose as yet.
    I have also explained to a higly diabetic person hoe to use the herb combined witha non meat diet add to raw vegetables for nine months and he is now experiencing for the firas time low blood sugar count.
    Nettel is good as food and as a brew. try it and tel your friends not to kill it. tc

  7. no, is not marijuana. this is just a weed. i know a several different types of the plant. in Europe it growing every were, on sidewalks, around the houses, on gardens or farms. i remember from my childhood, my grandmother always threaten me to try to behave me. also she used that for her arthritis and back pain. personally i used nettle plant to make a fresh, very tasty soup in spring. nettle plant is very rich of vitamin c.

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