Nettle is full of vitamins and minerals. For medicinal purposes, the plant needs to be collected between May and October. Then, they need to be dried in a thin layer in an airy location, protected from direct sunrays. Nettle is rich in active substances such as pro-vitamin A, vitamins B, C and A, calcium, amino acids, essential oil, sterols, amines, phosphates, bivalent iron and folic acid, all these ingredients making this plant into an extremely beneficial cure for the organism, especially at springtime.
For consumption, either the stalks, leaves and flowers of young plants are used, or the leaves collected before the flowers appear. Some of the benefits of this plant include:
• It has a detoxifying effect;
• It stimulates the metabolism and the biliary, pancreatic, gastric and intestinal secretion;
• It stimulates the intestinal peristalsis and the digestion, thus having a beneficial effect on persons’ health who suffer from constipation;
• It acts against intestinal worms;
• It dissolves blood clots and it has a slight hypoglycemic effect;
• It benefits the elimination of excess uric acid via the kidneys;
• It helps restore damaged tissues;
• It loosens up bronchia secretion, and helps eliminating it by expectoration;
• It stimulates the immune system;
• It stops the multiplication of bacteria in the colon;
• It has a diuretic effect.
Excessive nettle consumption
Among secondary effects of excessive nettle consumption the most significant one is increased blood coagulation; therefore, in persons suffering from arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis and hemorrhages caused by fibroma, as well as in elderly people, consuming too much nettle may aggravate circulatory problems.
A few delicious recipes containing nettle
Sautéed nettle with garlic in a white sauce, sprinkled with a few drops of lemon juice makes a great side dish for roast meat.
Nettle cream soup with croutons
1 kg nettle
4 medium onions
1 green pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup vegetable sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Clean the carrots, the parsley, the celeriac, the potatoes and 2 onions, and boil them in salty water with 1 tablespoon oil added. When the water boils, add the green pepper with the seeds removed. When the vegetables are fully cooked, remove the pot from the heat and allow the contents to cool. Strain the vegetables, but keep the clear cooking water as well.
Wash nettle under a jet of cold water. Throw them in boiling water and cook them for about 20-25 minutes. Strain them well. Chop up the remaining 2 onions and sauté them in oil. When they are done, add the water you cooked the vegetables in and boil it up with the onions.
Puree the nettle and the vegetables and thin the puree with the hot soup. Put everything in a large pot, add the butter and the sour cream; add salt and pepper to taste.
Nettle cream soup is served hot, with sour cream and croutons on the side. You can also serve it with grilled cheese on toast.
Some other specialties with nettle include cannelloni filled with nettle and ricotta, tarts filled with nettle and cheese, rice with mushrooms and nettle, nettle and mushroom pastries and nettles in a white sauce with onions and tomato juice.