We're a large group, and as we wander along the forest paths, Jonathon points out plants that are good to eat or can be used as medicine, like chickweed, elderberries and the like. I'm at the back, chatting to herbalist Lucinda Warner who tells me that nettle seeds are good for adrenal stress.
I'm keen to hear more, as I've been feeling pretty stressed out lately...
[Click the Read More link to see more]
Henriette's Herbal (www.henriettes-herb.com) says this about them:
Back in the 1800s dishonest horse peddlers in Germany, Hungary and Ireland (and probably other places) used to give 1-2 handsful of nettle seed a day to horses for about 2 weeks before they took them to market. This gave the horses shiny pelts and a youthful appearance, and brought a handsome price. The youthfulness of course disappeared once the animals got to their new homes - no nettle seed.
A German doc, working at a home for the aged, heard about this in the mid-1900's, and thought, hmmm, interesting, "Nurse! 1-2 tablespoons of dried nettle seed a day to all our inmates please." And his patients got interested in life again, got the energy to do things, and some of them even got some fire back into their libido.
Ever since I read about that German doc I've use nettle seeds for run-down, overly tired, burned-out, or just bone-weary people -- folks who would do things if they just had the energy for it.
Lucinda explains how to use them:
- Pick the green seeds directly off the nettle plant
- If eating on the hoof, remove any sting by rubbing the seeds gently between your fingers into the palm of your hand, then eat.
- If you're gathering them, dry them first and gently rub through a sieve to remove the stalks.
- A teaspoonful a day is a good dose, working up to a tablespoonful when you know you can handle that much.
- Fresh seeds are okay, but it's best to dry them as "they have a gentler effect," she says.
- Nettles are free and grow all over the place, but if you're picking a lot, please be respectful to the plants, only take what you need and leave enough for them to re-seed. (Forager's guide: only take about 10% to 20%.)
(Whilst it's more satisfying and connected to pick your own, nettle seeds only grow in the wild in summer and autumn, at other times you can buy them on Amazon or eBay.)