If you are my Facebook "friend" you may be right tired of hearing the word nettles. I have become an absolute fanatic about them, considering that they are growing wild all over our back property and in full season right now. There has been many a lively discussion about what to do with them and how to endure their prickly, welty stings in order to come to know the one known as the little Grandmother with a broom who comes in and gets to work moving things along.
Today I collected her leaves three times for three cups of tea, for the sinus infection I'm suffering. I just picked the leaves and some of the tops and stuffed them into a mug about half-way to the top, and then poured boiling water over them. I picked them fresh each time to make sure that the life and energy of the plant was at it's peak. The first cup was very clearing and satisfying, and I used a neti pot afterward with great success. I chomped her wilty leaves from the bottom of my cup. The sting leaves the plant after about 3 minutes after being picked when the acid in the needles loses it's mojo.
Nettles contain more protein than any other native green, her claim to fame being breaking down uric acid lickity split, having a curative effect on kidney conditions, mucus in the intestines, and gout. She attacks mucus like a crimefighting ninja superhero and I've had better luck with her than with any other herb. She loves to grow around junk heaps, where the soil is unfavorable, making gold out of the worst conditions. I consider her an alchemist. The possibilities of her use are endless. Matthew Wood tells a story of a man with no feeling in his legs flogging them with nettles and regaining feeling, allowing him to walk again. Isn't that wild?
When I harvested tonite, under the starlit sky, I was alone and in no hurry, so I took my time talking to her, listening, I sang her a native song, peed nearby as an offering, and thanked her, promising to bury some crystals and medicine near her roots with the children tomorrow.
I love how the kids are learning to respect her, though her sinister needles have impaled them mercilessly. They seem to be appreciative of the gifts that plants give us, and Miles has noticed that she springs up for free, with no effort at all, every Spring. As he prepares to plant his vegetable garden, I see him lingering near the wild dandelions, lying in the flowering clover, inspecting the weeds. I wonder if he is curious about cultivated plants versus wild ones. I hope he asks me why they're both important. I think he'll figure it out on his own...