Nettles, an Ayurvedic Perspective

Nettle Urtica Urens grows in many climates sprouting in the spring and spreading widely in the summer. Its called stinging nettles because the leaves sting at the lightest touch, but if you can bear the tickling pain, it is great to increase circulation; traditional Mexican medicine uses nettle in a handful and pounds the body with it to promote healthy circulation.

Nettle is considered a superfood, because it's a great source of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and sulphur. Its has sedative and nervine properties, aiming in the good functioning and strengthening of the nervous system.  Use a compress of nettles to relieve arthritis and muscular pain, as well as sciatica.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, nettles are an excellent nourishing tonic and rejuvenative/rasayana particularly for the kidneys & adrenals. They increases ojas, and are particularly good when run down from stress or illness or needing extra nourishment as in convalescence, old age, pregnancy & breastfeeding. Nettle tops have been used throughout history in food and drinks as a nourishing and detoxifying spring tonic. They stimulate the action of the liver and the kidneys, thereby helping to clear toxins/ama and wastes from the body via the bowels and the urinary tract/ mutravahasrotas.

Nettle's mild astringency and general nourishing action tightens and strengthens blood vessels, helps maintain arterial elasticity and improves venous resilience. They are used to clear inflammatory skin problems and restore vitality to the whole system while cooling skin conditions due to high pitta like eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc. by clearing excess pitta & kapha from rasa & rakta dhatus. Its carminative qualities relieve intestinal gas and promotes peristalsis, in which case is good to alleviate some of the common vata intestinal problems; but it can increase vata when taken in excess. It is also used to stop diarrhea.

Energetics

  • Taste: astringent  
  • Energy: cooling
  • Post Digestive Effect: pungent
  • Dosha: Pitta and Kapha - Vata +

Nettle Infusion

  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 ounce of dried herb (2 ounces fresh)
  • Pour nettles into a 1 liter glass jar. Boil the water and pour into the jar, cover and let steep for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drink the herbal infusion during the next 36 hours. You can use any left overs to pour over your hair after washing it, it’s a great hair tonic!

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.