NETTLE

Urtica dioica, U.urens, U. gracilis 

Part/s Used:  Leaves + roots
Energetics:  Neutral, sweet, bland, astringent
Actions: Nutritive, homostatic, astringent, anti allergenic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, galactagogue
Constituents:  Histamine, vitamins A and D, Iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, silica

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture: Fresh leaves or roots 1:2 to 1:4  95%              Dry (ratio & % alcohol): 1:5 50% alcohol
Drops: 30-60                                Times a day: 3x
Glycerite: Fresh leaf 1:2.5-1:4     Glycerin: 50%   Water 50%
Drops: 30-60                                Times a day: 3x
Acetum Extract: Fresh leaves 1:2.5-1:4 organic ACV or simplers method

Dosage: 1 tsp                              Times a day: 1-3x before meals

Tea: 8-12 oz of standard or cold infusion of the leaves  Times a day: 3-4
Decoction: 4-8 oz strong decoction or cold infusion of the root     
Times a day: 2-3

Habitat:

Nettle can be found everywhere in the pacific northwest in moist, nitrogen rich areas along streams, open forests, ditches, mountain slopes, woodland clearings, in disturbed areas such as roadsides and old fields. They are connected by an extensive underground network of rhizomes that can spread 5 feet or more in a growing season.

Medicinal Uses:

Nettle is a highly nutritive land plant rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C and iron. This immune boosting herb contains astringent qualities that makes is a gentle decongestant and will decrease excess secretions, such as runny nose, watery eyes, coughing.  
 
Urtica is bladder tonifying and it is a good diuretic for swelling of the hands, feet and breast in PMS. Drink 1 week before menstruation. It contains hemostatic properties as well and could help with excessive bleeding during menstruation, mid cycle spotting, minor bleeding in stools, hemorrhoids.  
Nettle is an excellent tonic for new mothers by promoting milk flow and building blood. Drinking the tea will also nourish the breast milk. 

External:

Regular use of Urtica has been used to improve skin and hair. Using a localized application is most effective for dandruff and hair loss. Can be used as a darkening agent for dark hair. 

Harvesting:

Gather carefully, covering exposed skin. Harvest up to the time it begins to flower. Fresh nettle can be juiced, cooked, steamed. To dry, bundle together by the stem and hang upside down. Strip the leaves when dry. The hairs are inactive when dry but some can remain.  

Contraindications:

Sharp, stinging hairs encompass this entire plant. The sting is more potent when in flower. Leaves should be cooked or blanched before use. Flowers and seeds are mild irritants and better left unused. 

 

Sources:
Northwest School for Botanical Studies by Christa Sinadinos