Energize and Enjoy with Nettle
by Susun S Weed
Winter is my season. I love the snow and the cold; I crave the deep and nourishing dark; I delight when the sun makes rainbows in the snow. The holidays grant us all permission to glitter and shine, to be golden and glowing, to twinkle like a star and smile at strangers; and that is nourishing to my soul.
But winter isn't for everyone. For some, winter is a time of sadness and exhaustion. The reduced hours of daylight can bring the doldrums. Too much permission to drink alcohol and eat refined sugars can leave one feeling less than lively, even leaden.
There are numerous remedies for those who wish spring were around the corner, but the two I like best are St. Joan's wort and stinging nettle.
St. Joan's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is also known as St. John's wort. But since it is a plant associated with fire, I figure St. Joan is the better name. No matter what you call it, this yellow-flowered plant is a real sun-lover. It soaks up as much sun as it can all summer, even stretching itself horizontal to catch those rays. And it stores that laughing sunshine in its leaves and flowers, which I harvest in the heat of July and tincture. You don't have to make your own, of course, you can buy it. Just be sure to get a tincture made with fresh plants, not dried ones.
I imbibe St. Joan's wort's sunny disposition by taking a dropperful in a little water or tea as often as every hour, or as needed, to chase the blues. Though the popular press seems confused by the studies, scientific medicine is convinced: St. Joan's wort is as effective in altering mood, even for those severely depressed, as the most commonly-used drugs. And even high doses of the tincture are without side-effects.
Do be careful, as capsules and tablets may increase skin sensitivity and interfere with the effectiveness of drugs you may be taking. For safety's sake, I use only Hypericum tincture, no other form.
Since St. Joan's wort is a powerful antiviral as well, it does double duty. Taking several dropperfuls a day can drastically reduce the number and severity of colds and flu episodes. And that makes everyone happy, as well as healthy.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a common weed throughout much of the world. The dried herb makes a nourishing herbal infusion that packs more energy per cup than any stimulant, and without the downside of caffeine or stimulating herbs like cayenne and ginger. Tired teenagers, sleep-deprived new moms, stressed executives, wakeful menopausal gals, and wise women of all ages depend on stinging nettle to restore mood, replenish energy, and guarantee sound sleep.
Nettle is amazingly rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially the critical trace minerals: anti-cancer selenium, immune-enhancing sulphur, memory-enhancing zinc, diabetes-chasing chromium, and bone-building boron. A quart of nettle infusion contains more than 1000 milligrams of calcium, 15000 IU of vitamin A, 760 milligrams of vitamin K, 10% protein, and lavish amounts of most B vitamins.
There is no denser nutrition found in any plant, not even bluegreen algae; and nettle is much more reasonably priced than any supplement, especially if you buy more than an ounce or two at a time. (Sources of dried herb at good prices are found in my books and at my website.)
But we must consume lots of nettle to get this power-packed nutrition. I infuse a full ounce dried nettle in a quart of water to make a brew that nourishes my ability to think and supports my desire to work. Infusing nettle maximizes its energy-enhancing effects too. Teas, tinctures and capsules of nettle contain too little herb to make a difference in vim and vigor. To experience the miracle of nettle, you'll need to take the time to make a real infusion (directions follow).
A student writes: "After drinking a quart of nettle infusion daily for only four days, I now have more energy then my toddler! Now, when he goes to sleep, I get some time to myself, instead of falling asleep with him. I can't thank you enough for the gift of nettle."
Nettle builds energy from the inside out by nourishing the adrenals, which I think of as "energy central." Nettle smoothly and persistently carries optimum nourishment to every cell in the body, and brings a smile to your face. Because the minerals in nettle infusion are polarized to the blood, they are literally magnetized into the blood stream without needing to be digested. Drinking a glass of cold nettle infusion pumps so much nourishment into the blood; you'll feel invigorated in just a few days.
Regular use of stinging nettle (I drink 2-3 quarts a week) not only increases energy, it brings a shine and swing to the hair, strengthens fingernails, clears and firms skin, restores elasticity to blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, counters incontinence, improves digestion, reduces cancer risk, and strengthens the lungs.
Another student writes: "My doctor is astonished. He insisted that I had to take drugs to deal with my severe osteoporosis. Instead, I drank two quarts of nettle infusion a week for several years. According to my latest bone scan, I now—at the age of 67—have the bone mass of a woman half my age. Ha, ha, ha! With nettle, I get the last laugh on modern medicine."
To make a nettle infusion: Measure out one ounce of the dried herb. Boil a quart of water. Put the dried herb into a quart jar and fill to the top with the boiling water. Stir with a wooden spoon and add water until the jar is full to the top. Lid tightly and set aside to brew for at least four hours, or overnight, whichever is easier for you.
To use: Strain and squeeze the liquid out of the herb. Be sure to refrigerate your infusion, as it will go bad at room temperature once it is done brewing. (If that happens, I use it as plant food. And you should see how my roses adore it!)
Nettle infusion is delicious over ice. Its rich green taste is not at its best when served hot. Adding honey can make it taste quite strange. Some folks like to add a little apple juice to sweeten it. Or stir in some miso, for a salty drink. However you consume it, do drink it up within a few days, as nettle infusion doesn't last.
Green blessings surround us, even in the middle of winter.
2008 © Susun S Weed
Susun Weed recommends Catskill Mountain Herbals, dedicated to crafting the highest quality wildcrafted and organic herbal extracts, vinegars, oils, and salves. Woman owned and operated, White feather’s herbs are harvested in the pristine Catskill Mountains, at the optimum time according to each plant, all herbals are hand prepared in small batches using 100-proof vodka, organic apple cider vinegar, organic cold pressed olive oil, and pure beeswax.
Just found your web site tonight, very nourishing! Yeah, include me too on the email notes, sounds interesting!
PS I love learning about herbs!
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These one-day workshops (10AM-5PM) are taught outside among the plants, with Susun and the goats. Open to men and women, they include a wild-food lunch.
At each workshop we will identify, harvest, and use local plants for food and medicine. Registration Fee: $75.
Women can join us for a moon lodge on the Friday of each of these weekends.
Overnight lodging for Friday and Saturday nights is available nearby.
At-Home Days with Weed 2008
Spring Tonics Saturday/April 12
Hands-on Herbal Medicine /Spring Sunday/April 13
Herbal Medicine Chest Saturday/May 10
Maidenwort, Motherwort, Cronewort Sunday/May 11
Talking with Plants Saturday/June 14
Hands-on Herbal Medicine /Summer Sunday/June 15
Hands-on Herbal Medicine /Autumn Saturday/Sept. 13
Chronic Problems Sunday/Sept 14
Winter Health Saturday/Oct. 4
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humor and approach to life seem so "down-to-earth",
just like your favorite powerful weeds. Thank you for sharing
and nourishing! ~ Diane
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