Harvesting Nettle for Medicine and Food

We live in a world of abundance. Nettle is one of those abundant plants available in the spring! Listed as one of the top 50 most powerful foods in “Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods”, nettle leaf is described as life-giving and life-lengthening because of its vast amount of more than 700 undiscovered phytochemicals.

Benefits of Nettle

Nettle has high mineral content is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, chromium, zinc, copper, silicon and cobalt. It’s also full of vitamins A, E, C, D and K, which makes it a powerful support to the immune system. To better understand the power of nettle, 10 grams of raw nettle has 290 mg of calcium compared to an equal amount of spinach with 10 mg of calcium. Herbalists say that drinking nettle tea was more powerful than taking a multivitamin. This is why I add nettle to my regular routine.  

But there’s more…. 

Here is a list of conditions nettle helps:

  • Boosts immune system
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Supports bronchial and respiratory health
  • Lowers blood sugar 
  • Helps digestive issues like acid reflux
  • Endocrine support to spleen, thyroid and pancreas
  • Stimulates hair growth
  • Improves prostate
  • Women’s health: 
  •  -Reproductive support 
  •  -Hormone stabilizer
  •  -Promotes lactation
  • Beneficial to liver and heart
  • Heals urinary tract infection and helps kidneys
  • Reduce gingivitis and plaque buildup on teeth when used as a mouthwash

Does this motivate you to add nettle into your diet? Personally, I take nettle daily to help reduce hair loss, recover from adrenal fatigue, reduce body inflammation, support my immune system and strengthen my bones and teeth. 

If you don’t have the time to harvest your own nettle, here are some recommendations. I use an alcohol-free nettle tincture from Vimergy.  Vimergy makes a potent high-quality product that ensures I will get all the powerful nutrients nettle has to offer. I take this nettle tincture twice a day.  I have also ordered organic dried nettle leaves from Mountain Rose Herbs and Frontier Organic Nettle from Amazon. 

Harvesting Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle grows from early spring through the summer.  It’s best to harvest nettle when it’s small while the leaves are still tender. As the plant grows, harvest the top 4” of the plant. Once the plant starts flowering the leaves become bitter and may be too harsh for the kidneys.

Nettle can be found in moist soil and grows well in partially shaded areas.  I usually find this wild food along wooded paths, by a stream or creek, and in meadows and fields. The easiest way to recognize nettle is by its sting. Most people recognize these hollow hairs (trichomes) on the leaves and stems. When harvesting nettle wear long sleeves and gloves. Use scissors to snip off the top 4” of the nettle top. The nettle tops break off easily, but using scissors provides more protection from the potential sting. 

Treating Nettle Stings

Any of the following options will help to relieve the pain from a nettle sting:

  1. Apply a paste of baking soda and water.
  2. Apply aloe vera gel.
  3. Rub the spore side from the back of a sword fern on the infected area.
  4. Firmly crush a nettle leaf (so not to get stung again) and massage the leaf until it becomes juicy. Rub the juicy nettle leaf on the sting to neutralize it.

Cleaning Nettle

  1. Clean out all the twigs and leaves from all the nettle you have gathered.
  2. Gently rinse with water in a sink.  There are healthy pre-biotics on the nettle leaves so rinse gently. Your focus is to rinse the dirt and air pollution off the plants. 
  3. Place nettle on towels to air dry before using.

Remember to use gloves.

Drying Nettle Leaf

It’s best to dry nettle in a food dehydrator on the low setting or at 100 degrees overnight or for about 12 hours. Check the stems to make sure they are fully dried. In western Washington the air is too moist to air dry nettle leaves inside. The leaves need to be fully dry before storing to prevent mold. In order to preserve the plant nutrients, do not dry in heat above 100 degrees. 

Once your nettle is fully dried, store it in jars and use within a year for optimal potency. You can add dried nettle leaves to soups or spaghetti sauce for added nutrition. Or make nettle tea by adding 1-2 teaspoons of dried nettle leaf to 1 cup of hot water. Add mint, ginger, honey or lemon for extra flavor.

Enjoy my video harvesting, drying and using nettle including making nettle salt.

Nettle Recipes

Add fresh or dried nettle to soups, stews or spaghetti sauce. Once the nettle has been cooked or dried it will no longer sting.  

Nettle Pesto


-1 cup nettle tops
-1 cup basil
-1/4 cup walnuts
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-2 garlic cloves
-2 Tbsp. olive oil
-1/8 tsp. salt


Blend together in a food processor.

Nettle Salt


-1 part nettle tops

-2 parts salt


  1. Process in food processor.
  2. Let Dry on towels for a few hours and pour into jars.
  3. Nettle salt will last indefinitely on the counter.
If you use pink Himalayan salt your finished product will look brown in color. If you use sea salt your finished nettle salt will look green. Use as a direct substitute for salt. The video in this post demonstrates how to make nettle salt.

Nettle Tea

Credit: Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods


-2 Tbsp. nettle leaf

-2 Tbsp. minced fresh mint
-2 tsp. grated fresh ginger


Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Boil 4 cups of water. For each serving of tea, use 1 teaspoon of the tea blend per 1 cup of hot water. Steep for 5 minutes or more. If stronger, more medicinal tea is desired, use 2 teaspoons or up to 1 tablespoon of the tea blend per serving.

Credit to:

Wild Foraging: How To Identify, Harvest, Store and Use Stinging Nettle – The Daring Gourmet

Medical Medium: Nettle Leaf

Medical Medium: Nettle Leaf – Reproductive, Adrenal, & Hormone Helper

6 Benefits of Stinging Nettle (Plus Side Effects) (healthline.com)

Cedar Mountain Herb School

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