Stinging Nettles

Nettles are one of the better-known, world-wide weeds, and prefer rich, moist soil. They are an indicator of soil quality. They have been used as food, medicine, and even fiber for thousands of years: as a textile material, it was considered better than cotton or linen. 

Nowadays, we see again a growing interest regarding it, driven by concerns over the environmental damage caused by the production of fabrics such as cotton. In the hunt for new, ecologically friendly fabrics, stinging nettle fiber has come up smelling of roses.

Nettles: tall, proud and a little bit hostile, the unpleasant stinging sensation they provoke when touched is caused by the formic acid and histamine hosted in their tiny hairs that cover the stems and leaves. The sharp hairs penetrate the skin, break off, and release their chemicals. However, this "first impression" shouldn't keep you away from them: they are beneficent in a multitude of ways.
 
Medicinal weed

Nettle’s nourishing and medicinal action is attributed to its rich vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and chlorophyll content, as well as formic acid. It contains abundant calcium, magnesium, silica, iron and vitamins A, C, E, and K. 

A good way to benefit from nettle's virtues is to drink an infusion made with their leaves: you will be putting into your body a variety of minerals. When I was pregnant (advised by my midwife), I used to drink a lot of it!

Nettles are also one of the richest sources of antioxidants among green leafy vegetables: high contents of chlorophyll, tocopherol and carotenes were identified in nettle leaves and shoots. These are all substances known to be protective and having regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties for the skin, keeping it healthy and glowing.

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