Updated: May 27
When thinking about healing, you'd probably find your imagination filling with images of soft fluffy clouds, maybe some angels, maybe some calming music... You would probably not think of prickly plants that you are used to associating with pain and annoyance. BUT, nettles are, maybe to your surprise, quite magical, and oh so healing.
Why Nettles from all things?
The first thing that attracted me to these deep green gems was simply the fact that I actually knew what they were, and could definitely tell them apart from other plants. Not the most mind blowing reason, but there you go. I was fascinated by the idea that such wild plants that grow so abundantly are actually edible. I've been wanting to pick them for such a long time, who knew that Covid-19 would turn out to be the perfect time for this exploration.
As I started delving into the world of nettle information I found out they are actually packed with so many nutrients. They are packed with:
Vitamins A, C, K and B
As impressive as their nutrient profile is, there is so much more to them that exceeds it. Especially in these testing times, where time outside is so valuable and limited (especially for city dwellers), nettles started to provide a purpose for me. Not only was the act of walking around in nature meditative, but there was an extra layer of preparation. I had to make sure I had gloves to protect my hands from the stings, scissors and a basket or container to put them in (if in doubt, always choose a basket - because how cute is that!).
I would carefully pick the top 4-6 leaves and make sure not to pick too much from each section. I would take my time to check the under parts of the leaves for little bugs or dirt, before adding them to my basket.
The act of collecting them woke up a new sense of respect. The idea that "nature will give to you as long as you take mindfully" became quite strong. I started to think of all the little critters that get killed mindlessly with every mass salad or greens harvest. The little care we can afford in mass production, when everything just gets pulled out of the ground without a second thought of who's house or source of food it might also have been.
Respect the magic
This beautiful plant has now become one of my staples. Every time I go out, I get reminded of this sense of respect, care and connection. Then stress seems to overtake me, when I feel like nothing is enough, when life feels too complex, I remember I can always take a break and pick some nettles.
From pasta dishes, to tea, to puree, to chips, all is possible with nettles! One of my first, and favourite dishes is the most simple form of stir-frying them in a bit of olive oil, with onions, garlic (A LOT of garlic) and seasoned with salt and pepper. I cannot stop myself from eating a third of them out of the pan with a fork as I'm cooking. I am also working on a little list of recipes I will link below for you.
And please, if you have any magical nettle use suggestions let me know in the comments below!