Do you remember the days when we were all young and innocent?
Running aimlessly through parks and fields bare legged and may be even bare footed – we cared very little about the remains we returned home with that soiled our feet or hands.We weer far more concerned with the mini-beasts that we had chosen to adopt.
The shrieks of laughter that filled the air as we tumbled down hills. The sheer abundance of freedom until……….the dreaded stinging nettle, lurking amongst the dandelions reared its ugly head and caused pain unbeknown to man, woman and child………..
Oh the howls of distress that ricocheted around and the world breaking sprints we created – we would have easily out run any Olympian sprinter and outmanoeuvred any professional on Strictly - until we arrived at our destination of comfort – the open arms of an adult alongside a familiar soothing lotion.
Once picked however this woodland fiend becomes a well-behaved comrade with numerous health benefits.
Urtica dioica AKA the Stinging Nettle our old adversarial friend has a history that is embedded in the development of complementary medicine.
In ancient Greece, nettles were used as a diuretic and a laxative by physicians Galen and Dioscorides whilst in Medieval Europe, they were used to treat and reduce joint inflammation and discomfort. Stinging nettles were also used to treat certain diseases by urtication, which is the process of beating the skin with nettles to stimulate blood circulation. Double ouch! The mere thought of that brings us out in a rash!
Yet for many the concept of consuming stinging nettles is nothing short of alarming!
However, this fiendish weed can be dried and steeped to make a refreshing tea, used as a garnish and can also be cooked and used similarly to spinach!
When cooked it is a great source of vitamins A, C, calcium, magnesium, protein and iron. Nettles can also be used ground in polenta, pesto and pasta and is commonly used as the base ingredient in soups in many parts of Europe.
It of course has the added bonus that it can be a nutritional delight when added to a smoothie – did you see what we did there!
If you are fatigued and in need of an energy boost try adding a cupful of nettles to Kale Kick – dry or fresh is a personal preference- but you will be boosting the properties of the 2 of your 5 a day.
At its best it is a phenomenally powerful detoxifier, which when used as a diuretic eliminates toxins through the urinary tract. This is known to be beneficial to sufferers of kidney related diseases and problems.
Grab your garden gloves, go forth and forage…..oh I forgot we are based in London………go forth and weed!