I am a lover of traditional remedies from the garden & my go-to spring tonic is always some kind of stinging nettle infusion.
Irish hedgerows are brimming this time of year with succulent wild herbs and roots. So, while I’m still waiting for the herb garden to flourish, it’s time to savour our natural Irish wild hedgerow superfoods.
Nettles are literally everywhere. They are one of our most resourceful, resilient wild herbs. And, they are free! Why order online for superfoods that are made in far off places, when all you need to do is take a walk along an Irish hedgerow (or meadow) to find one of our planets most nutrient rich foods.
Make sure you harvest your nettles away from roads with heavy traffic, and don’t forget the gloves, as these little beauties will give you quite a sting until they are crushed or made into tea.
In a few weeks I will have enough fresh mint grown to add to this healing concoction (to lighten the flavour) and, you can add fresh summer clover to make a really soothing, nourishing tonic.
I’m not sure if it’s the rich phyto-nutrients or minerals in nettles, but this time of year I actually find my body craving their healing potency. Packed full of vitamins they are also a great source of deep-green chlorophyll and carotenoids.
This earthy flavoured herb has been used for centuries by herbalists to treat inflammation, allergies, anemia, acne, congestion – and more (even as a hair conditioner). I find it is particularly good for restoring my vitality and energy after a long, dark winter; especially if I have experienced viral or bacterial infections.
If you find that you are not the foraging type, then don’t despair… just pop along to your local apothecary, such as Dr. Dilis Clare in Searoad, Galway, to pick up your pack of dried nettles.
Place 1 cup of torn fresh stinging nettles, (or ½ cup dried nettles) into a teapot. Pour on boiled water and leave to steep.
The infusion should be covered and left for a minimum of 3 to 12 hrs. I usually leave mine overnight. For a light tea - just leave for ten minutes.
Leaving overnight creates a really nutrient-dense tea that can be sipped throughout the following couple of days. It can be stored in the fridge.
I never add sweeteners to my herbal concoctions, but if you do - add a wee bit of honey from local sources, such as Sliabh Aughty Honey.
Nettles can also be eaten in omelettes (similar to spinach) or made into soups… please share your recipes in the comment box below. :)
Check out next week’s post for some Wild Garlic Recipes.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are experiencing health problems, contact your local qualified herbalist before using any kind of plants and herbs for medicinal purposes. This is a personal blog. Not medical advice.