Nettle, a treasure of nature unjustly despised

It’s winter, the perfect season to pick up some nettles, a good opportunity to get out a little, to disconnect from reality, and eat well! Because this plant considered as a weed is extremely good in soup, and its virtues are numerous. For once, it’s cheap bio, it would be a shame to deprive …

It’s a pretty big article on the subject that I’m releasing today, but it’s really worth the detour, and may be useful to you someday, especially since in our society, many people would not even know the difference between nettle and some weed … I’m wrong?

Presentation (Excerpt from Victor Hugo: Les Misérables)

It was thought that he must have lived once in the field, for he had all sorts of useful secrets which he taught to the peasants. He taught them to destroy the ringworm by sprinkling the attic and flooding the slits of the floor with a solution of common salt and chasing the weevils by hanging everywhere, on the walls and roofs, in the lodges and in the houses. the orviot in bloom. He had “recipes” for removing from a field the luzette, the niello, the vetch, the gaverolle, the fox tail, all the parasitic grasses that eat the wheat. He defended a rabbit against the rats just with the smell of a little prickly pig that he put in it.

One day he saw people in the country very busy tearing nettles. He looked at this pile of uprooted plants, already withered, and said:

– It’s dead. It would be good if we knew how to use it. When the nettle is young, the leaf is an excellent vegetable; when she gets older, she has filaments and fibers like hemp and flax. The nettle cloth is worth the hemp cloth. Hatched nettle is good for poultry; crushed, it is good for horned animals. The seed of the nettle mixed with the forage gives glow to the hair of the animals; the root mixed with salt produces a beautiful yellow color. It is also an excellent hay that can be mowed twice a year.

And what does nettle take? Little land, no care, no culture. Only as the seed falls as it matures, it is difficult to harvest. That is all.

With some difficulty, the nettle would be useful; it is neglected, it becomes harmful. So we kill her. How many men look like nettles!

He added, after a silence:

My friends, remember this, there are no weeds or bad men. There are only bad farmers.

An unjustly despised treasure

A common plant in our country and gardens, nettle is one of the richest and most effective medicinal plants in our temperate climates, but most of our contemporaries do not know it.

Known by the Gauls and Romans, it is included in most old pharmacopoeias. Its medicinal virtues and its nutritional qualities were greatly appreciated by our ancestors.

When, in the twelfth century, the King of England William Roux asked the doctors of the University of Salerno to prescribe a hygienic diet for his son, they wrote the famous book entitled The School of Salerno in which the Nettle, Garlic, Thyme and other “simple” appear prominently.

Paracelsus, the famous doctor of the Renaissance reserved for the nettle a place of choice in its preparations while Albert Dürer (1471-1528) painted it on a famous painting, in the hand of an angel flying towards the throne of God.

After more than a century of contempt, the official medicine has now rehabilitated and recognizes its qualities of fortifying, blood regulator and stimulator of digestive functions.

A dominant plant

Common nettle breeds easily and thrives in all terrains. It can reach one meter high. Its leaves are opposite and, like its stem, bristling with stinging hairs.

Considered by gardeners and modern peasants as a weed, nettle is cut, torn, trampled, abused, burned, combated with pesticides, poisoned without any pity.

Yet this great lady does not deserve this unworthy treatment on the part of the man of whom she is the nurturer and protector tutelary. Indeed, not only is it a food of choice, rich in enzymes, trace elements and valuable vitamins, but against many diseases, and more serious, it is the most effective remedies.

Nettle is proliferating in abandoned areas, in landfills or on uncultivated land. As it is a dominant and tenacious plant, it often reappears unexpectedly in the best kept gardens.

Bad reputation

Common nettle owes its bad reputation to the stinging hairs on the underside of its leaf and stem, secreting a pungent liquid containing formic acid and enzymes similar to those of certain snake venoms. Its contact causes a painful and prolonged itching. But it is this irritating liquid that is one of the essential elements of the plant.


To pick the nettle by hand, without pain, it is better if one is cozy, to put on gloves. But a skilled herbalist will firmly grasp the stem between thumb and forefinger, without leaving the rest of the hand in contact with the plant.

The entire plant is consumed in any season, but the active properties of nettle are more active if it is picked in the spring, at sunrise, or, when regrown after it has been mowed. Roots are said to be richer in early spring or late fall.

If the wild nettle, frequent but unwanted host of our gardens and fields has become the nightmare of the gardener and the farmer, it has not always been so. And our elders recognized in her one of the most useful plants for the health of men and animals. For the convinced follower of the virtues of the plants the nettle replaces alone a whole bag of medicines.


Dried, nettle is an excellent fodder and many eco-friendly growers readily allow it to grow in their hay and ripe grasslands.

Formerly, our elders hatched importunate nettles from their vegetable gardens and fed it to poultry, ducks and pigs, which they protected from pests and diseases.

The horse traders who knew his properties, mixed nettle with oats, it made the horses more frisky and gave them a hair brighter. Mixed with chicken mash, it naturally activates egg-laying. (Mulot: Opus cit.)


“My neighbor also uses nettles to destroy pests and pests in his garden. He puts large quantities of nettles in a container containing 300 liters of water (it is obviously possible to use smaller amounts of nettles), where it leaves macerate nettles for a long period of time. With this nettle-based liquid, it then watered its other plants, preventing pests from interfering, without the use of chemicals. Worms are no longer in the carrots! (Maria Treben)


Nettles have been tasted since the earliest times, either in vegetables (same preparation as for spinach), or in soups. Mixed it becomes a delicious and refined soup (add one or two potatoes), cook for ten minutes with the pressure cooker, mix, add milk or cream before serving. The “soup of nettles” of our grandmothers was a real treat. Dried or cooked, nettles are no longer irritating. On the contrary, Meséségué tells us, they are soft as a velvet on the tongue …

In certain regions of France, the young shoots of white nettle (which does not sting) are eaten either in soup or in vinaigrette or even as raw as in the 18th century.

Nettles are indeed very nutritious plants, rich in iron, (essential for the reconstitution of red blood cells, and for the good oxygenation of tissues), magnesium, etc. Nettle is the advantage on spinach to not be too acidic, so favorable to rheumatic, gouty, and arthritic. It also contains secretin, an excellent hormonal stimulant for the digestive glands of the stomach, intestine, liver, pancreas and gall bladder.

Eat nettle, says Messegue, the taste is delicious, when the leaves are chosen very tender, and you will gain health. “

Maurice Mességué

Herbarium of Health

Maurice Mességué, in his Herbarium of Health says of the nettle: “The nettle, this grass which one says cruel because it knows to defend itself, can also take the defense of the others. I formally forbid my farmers from plucking it, along old walls, pools, vacant lots or well-smoked gardens where it grows in thick waves; and I send my grass collectors to pick big bags three times a year … “


The aphrodisiac properties of nettle have been known since antiquity. The Latin poet Petronius advocated, to replenish the deficient virility of men, to whip them with a bouquet of nettles “below the navel, on the kidneys and on the buttocks”. Mességué corroborates this stimulating quality of the plant by telling us the cure adopted by one of his old Gascon friends who, “incorrigible womanizer, to get back from the heart to the book, rolled periodically in a field of nettles … »

Medicinal virtues

Nettle has a therapeutic effect from root to stem, leaves with flowers. The popular wisdom of our elders advocated urtication, that is to say flogging with nettles, as revulsive. It was prescribed for fevers (typhoid), rheumatism, stroke and absence of menstruation in women. The bites of the plant stimulate the organism (they said to the children who came back calves stung nettles, they had gained health for life, and in any case they would never have more rheumatism). (Misuse Opus cit.)

As a medicinal plant, nettle is really amazing. Diuretic (it is effective against rheumatism, gout, urinary stones, enuresis (incontinence) but also against urine retention.It is antidiarrheal: it has been used especially against cholera.

It stops nosebleeds, spitting of blood, haemorrhages of all kinds, as well as the unpleasant flow of colds from the brain and respiratory tract.

It is restorative, brings milk to women who miss it, it regularizes the rules or makes them reappear if they are interrupted abnormally; it is depurative and combats acne and cold sores; she is vermifuge and revulsive.

In popular medicine, nettle tea is recommended for liver and spleen disorders, stomach and intestinal cramps and ulcers or lung diseases.

In external use, it gives the best results against rheumatism (those of men and animals. “It is with nettle, cabbage and celandine that I look after my old dogs,” says Mességué. is sovereign against mouth infections, canker sores, gingivitis and tonsillitis.

In lotions and compresses, it is a beauty herb: it cleans the skin, removes acne and eczema, and fights hair loss.


Mésségué recommends: “Do not cut off all the nettles that grow in your garden; do not treat them with herbicides (which is extremely dangerous for all other plants … and for your health.) Far from being “weeds”, stinging nettles help the growth of fragile species, especially species medicinal plants that you have planted next door, a row of nettles will provide soups, delicious food, medicine against a number of disorders, and … will strengthen the content of your other herbs or medicinal herbs active ingredients. the flowering tops of the stems and the roots, in all seasons, according to your needs, use them only fresh. “

Preparation and employment

Infusion or decoction of leaves: 2 handfuls of fresh leaves in a liter of water. (3 cups a day). Infusion or decoction of leaves and flowers (for external use: gargles in case of angina, bandages, beauty lotions, shampoos against alopecia (hair loss, dandruff, etc.): discard 3 handfuls of leaves and fresh flowers in a liter of water.

Baths of hands and feet against acne, urticaria, painful periods, to promote blood circulation and especially against rheumatism: 2 handfuls of fresh leaves per liter of water.

Special lotion

Against rheumatism: chop three handfuls of nettle leaves, two of leaves and celandine flowers, and two beautiful cabbage leaves; macerate them for 48 hours in two liters of rainwater; filter. (In local applications). Fresh nettle juice: take a big glass a day or use it outside, in compresses, lotions, etc.

Decoction of roots (diuretic, depurative and restorative): throw a handful of fresh roots and carefully cleaned in one liter of water. (3 cups a day).

White nettle or white deadwood (Lamium album)

Family Labiaceae. Its juice is recommended against metrorrhagia (haemorrhage of uterine origin occurring outside the normal rules), leucorrhea (white discharge), and generally against all disorders of the lower abdomen and menstruation. Herbal tea and infusion of white cutworm flowers have a depurative action, they fight insomnia nerve. In siege bath (whole plants) it is generally an effective remedy against the different feminine diseases.

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