Spring Picking: nettle leaves

Sometimes a very simple gesture has great effects. Formerly “the simple” was the name given to medicinal plants….

How and when to pick them?

The leaves are harvested when they are still young and tender, before the plant blooms. This allows the harvesting of leaves that are more concentrated in active ingredients.
In March April, depending on the altitude, leave your home in the morning not too late, equipped with thin gloves and a large paper bag.
Look for a corner of the forest, a side of a path with little traffic – avoid dog walks and since the nettle fixes heavy metals, pesticides and nitrates, forget the side of roads, landfills or even recently treated land.

When you have found a nettle spot, collect the tips of the young shoots – the stem breaks easily.

How to dry them?

When you get home, wash them quickly with a glove and without letting them soak, then spread your harvest on one or more clean kitchen towels, preferably in a warm, ventilated and not very bright place From time to time turn them a little.
Darkness or semi-darkness is essential for preserving vitamins, in particular, vitamins C, E, K and B9 which are very sensitive to light. The leaf dries in a few hours, whereas it takes several days to properly dehydrate the stems. If you have a dehydrator, then use it!

How to keep them?

In clean jam jars or paper or cloth bags, protected from light.

How to use them?

  1. Dried leaves and flowers: infuse about 2 g to 5 g for 10 to 15 minutes, in 150 ml of boiling water. Take three times a day.
  2. Crumble the leaves in the salt shaker – give the salt a twist!
  3. Put them in your bath

For what indications?

  1. Relieves inflammatory pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatic conditions
  2. Promotes the proper functioning of the urinary tract through its diuretic action
  3. Protects against renal lithiasis
  4. Has antioxidant action.

For those who want to know EVERYTHING about nettle: A thesis from a pharmacist will provide you with information: https://dumas.ccsd.cnrs.fr/dumas-01232406/document

By Beatrice Paternò Castello

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