Is it time to grasp the hum­ble net­tle?

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

From a di­etary point of view the net­tle also has a place. The Ro­mans used it as a veg­etable, and a Ro­ma­nian friend of mine takes se­ca­teurs to Rich­mond Park, un­der the cu­ri­ous eyes of her neigh­bours, to crop some for supper.

Used in soups, cur­ries or wilted rather like cooking spinach, net­tles are full of iron and vi­ta­min C – help­ful for com­bat­ing anaemia, fa­tigue and colds. So net­tles are free food, healthy to eat and abun­dant – what’s not to like?

Net­tle is used widely as a nat­u­ral medicine; ac­cord­ing to the Nat­u­ral So­ci­ety, the tea is an al­most uni­ver­sal panacea; help­ing asthma suf­fer­ers, sooth­ing os­teoarthri­tis and skin prob­lems, re­duc­ing nau­sea and in­flam­ma­tion, abat­ing uri­nary in­fec­tions and all the painful stuff faced through the life time of women.

In fact, once you start look­ing into this, the hum­ble net­tle has al­most un­lim­ited uses – steep it in hot wa­ter, use the root for this, the stalk for that... the only one that re­ally made me wince was putting the leaves on haem­or­rhoids... hmm, one for the masochists, maybe.

We are of course put off net­tles by their sting­ing hairs, which have a hol­low struc­ture like a hy­po­der­mic nee­dle. When the tips of the hairs are bro­ken by con­tact, the toxin stored in the hair is pumped into our skin.

So we should em­brace the net­tle. We just need to wear thick socks, long sleeves and gar­den­ing gloves.

Net­tles can be used for tea, fab­ric and much more – just make sure you’re prop­erly pro­tected against the sting

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