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Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are often regarded with apprehension due to their painful sting, but they are a plant with a rich history and a multitude of beneficial properties. These perennials, commonly found in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, have been utilized for centuries for their medicinal, culinary, and practical uses. In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating world of stinging nettles, highlighting their properties, benefits, and various applications.

Identification and Habitat

Stinging nettles are easily recognizable by their serrated, heart-shaped leaves and tiny, inconspicuous green flowers. The leaves and stems are covered in tiny, hair-like structures called trichomes, which release a mix of chemicals, including histamine and formic acid, causing a stinging sensation upon contact with skin. Nettles thrive in moist, nutrient-rich soils and are commonly found in woodlands, along riverbanks, and in disturbed areas like roadsides and gardens.

Historical and Traditional Uses

Historically, stinging nettles have been used across various cultures for their medicinal properties. Ancient Egyptians used them to treat arthritis and lower back pain, while Roman soldiers rubbed nettles on their skin to help stay warm in cold climates. Traditional European medicine has long utilized nettles to treat ailments ranging from joint pain to seasonal allergies.

Nutritional Profile

Stinging nettles are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some key nutrients found in nettles:

  • Vitamins: Rich in vitamins A, C, K, and several B vitamins.
  • Minerals: High in iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and silica.
  • Protein: Contain a surprising amount of protein, making them a valuable plant-based protein source.
  • Antioxidants: Loaded with polyphenols and flavonoids, which help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation.

Health Benefits

The diverse array of nutrients in stinging nettles contributes to their numerous health benefits:

  1. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Nettle extracts can reduce inflammation, making them beneficial for conditions like arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
  2. Allergy Relief: Nettle has natural antihistamine properties that can alleviate symptoms of hay fever and other allergies.
  3. Joint Pain Relief: Topical applications of nettle preparations can reduce pain and improve mobility in patients with osteoarthritis.
  4. Support for Urinary Health: Nettle is often used to treat urinary tract infections and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) due to its diuretic properties.
  5. Blood Sugar Control: Some studies suggest that nettle can help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially benefiting those with diabetes.

Culinary Uses

Despite their sting, nettles are a versatile and nutritious addition to the kitchen once they are properly prepared. Cooking or drying neutralizes the stinging chemicals, making them safe to eat. Here are some ways to enjoy nettles:

  • Nettle Soup: A classic dish in many cultures, nettle soup is both nutritious and delicious.
  • Nettle Tea: Dried nettle leaves can be steeped to make a refreshing and health-boosting tea.
  • Pesto: Nettles can be used as a substitute for basil in pesto, providing a unique flavor and added nutrition.
  • Sautéed Greens: Similar to spinach, nettles can be sautéed with garlic and olive oil for a simple side dish.
  • Smoothies: Adding a handful of blanched nettles to smoothies can boost their nutrient content.

Practical Uses

Beyond their medicinal and culinary uses, stinging nettles have several practical applications:

  • Natural Dye: Nettle leaves produce a green dye, while the roots can produce yellow or brown dyes.
  • Fiber: Historically, nettles were used to make fabric and ropes due to their strong fibers. Nettle fabric is durable and eco-friendly.
  • Compost and Fertilizer: Nettles can be added to compost heaps or used to make liquid fertilizer, enriching the soil with valuable nutrients.

Growing and Harvesting

Stinging nettles are relatively easy to grow and can be cultivated in a home garden. They prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial shade. When harvesting nettles, it is crucial to wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid being stung. Young leaves are best for culinary use, while older leaves and stems are better suited for making teas and extracts.

Conclusion

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are much more than a bothersome weed. They are a nutritional powerhouse, a versatile culinary ingredient, and a valuable medicinal plant. By understanding and appreciating the numerous benefits and uses of nettles, we can transform our perception of this misunderstood plant and harness its full potential for our health and well-being.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies or supplements.

Image by Alexander Fox | PlaNet Fox from Pixabay

Who notes the difference?

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Quotes by Dr. Joe Dispenza

Instead of dwelling on your problems, start to focus on your dreams.
Instead of complaining about what’s wrong in your life, start to express gratitude for what’s right.
Instead of seeking validation and support from others, start to cultivate a deep sense of self love and self acceptance,
and most importantly, start to take action, start to do something every day that brings you closer to your dreams, your highest aspiration.

Image by Enrique from Pixabay

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Sock Pattern #1

Usually, when knitting Socks, I keep things simple, because then I can, for example, listen to a podcast. In this case I had some single-coloured wool and knitting just along would have looked a bit too boring. Hence I wrote down my pattern (I am linking a short on how I do this). I am mostly too lazy to look around the net, since it really takes a lot of time only to end up using a very simple one or making my own. But yes, over time, I will also publish some more difficult ones. It’s just me loving simple stuff.

Sock knitting basics:
1) https://youtu.be/d5ysV8BwUyk?si=wC7FBHhgM-U6sqTi
2) https://youtu.be/3tPVUUiRQYE?si=Upaqosqmu3DkXiOa
3) https://youtu.be/2rrHj36An8w?si=JBgMPqNF12SKMepv
4) https://youtu.be/2rrHj36An8w?si=at1SWAK2r22RLAcn

Knitting basics:
1) https://youtu.be/Wd-0PZYPqyM?si=hR5s3cZQRPoB9Bcm
2) https://youtu.be/3ZcO3laLAUs?si=Wto20PCWtEcaqkQp

How to create your own pattern:
https://youtube.com/shorts/WKXanK-7dUQ?si=tVZa2HRAi1IqMLQV

Materials used:
Wool: 6-ply yarn for example:
https://amzn.to/4bwwmuJ or
https://amzn.to/4dWgFPa
Needles (I love wooden needles):
https://amzn.to/3KgUq92 or
https://amzn.to/3wNBQlT

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Quotes by Dr. Vandana Shiva

For me, food sovereignty is sovereignty over your life, livelihood and health. We are interconnected, therefore food sovereignty is an ecological process of co-creation with other lifeforms. It begins with seed sovereignty: saving and using living seeds. It involves care for the land and soil. We cannot have food sovereignty if we do not feed the soil organisms. Food sovereignty is based on organic farming and avoiding chemicals and poisons. Food sovereignty includes knowledge sovereignty, economic sovereignty and political sovereignty.

I found this on the net without a reference to a book or interview etc.

We have to shift the organic movement into a movement of the people.

Vandana Shiva in an interview for Real Organic Project

You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember, that the planet is carrying you.

Created: 2021-01-27
Latest update: 2024-02-16

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Paper vs. Digital in only a few words

When something is available only digitally and not printed on paper, it is already lost.

Me 😀

I participated in many projects over truly MANY years. And bit by bit these projects vanished in the dark. So make sure one thing: that you have a paper copy. Publish digitally, but ALWAYS keep a paper copy.

This is the moment that one of the projects of my past, OmegaWiki, is not there anymore, and it is not going to be up again. What remains is my handwritten list of terminology for the Main Franconian language (ISO 639-6: vmf).

Image by Kerttu from Pixabay

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46 – Rose Hips in Sugar

The rose hips must be nice and ripe, but still firm. They are dried and then cleaned with a cloth, a slice is cut off at the top where the flower was, and the rose hips are then freed from all seeds using a small, appropriately sized piece of wood. For 1 pound of fruit, you cook 1 pound of sugar in 200 grams of white wine vinegar, skim it well, cook the fruit until soft, remove them with a slotted spoon, place them in jars, cook the juice into a thin syrup, and then pour it lukewarm over the fruit.

(David Brocke, Ducal Cook in Ballenstedt – The Preserving and Canning of Fruits and Vegetables)

Image by Peggychoucair from Pixabay

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Which carb creates less hunger?

This is the answer to a question in the Beck’s Basics group on Telegram. The actual question was about rice vs. pasta.

Did you ever try millet instead of rice? It is a whole grain and lasts much longer. Polished rice is pure carbs and creates sugar spikes in the blood which leads to loads of insulin to be created which leads to a sharp fall of blood sugars and that leads to hunger. So you need types of carbohydrates that need longer to be digested. Millet, amaranth, quinoa, chia seeds (this one has loads of protein and fewer carbs, which is even better). Look for fewer carbohydrates and more protein in food. Our body deals well with proteins, but has problems with too many carbohydrates (due to sugar spikes). Modern wheat is heavily changed. Take a look at spelt, einkorn and other old grain varieties. These keep you full for a longer time.

Let me add fenugreek to this list 🙂

Image by Pictavio from Pixabay