Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bower Boys Survival Tips: Stinging Nettles.

Another installment of Bower Boys Survival Tips. Jackson and Artie Bower are brothers in The Unmoving Sky and they're lost in the woods. This post is about what they might find for nourishment in the wild. Jackson knows of some things they could eat, being early April in the book it may be too soon for this super nutrient-dense plant.

Spring is here. Allergies and Nettles go hand-in-hand in my experience. 

This week I bought a hefty bunch of nettles (Urtica Dioica), squealing with delight when I spotted the last bundle on the farmer’s market table. 

It’s a short season for nettles. I felt lucky.

I use nettles tinctures quite often and have for years. It’s my go-to herb after years of study (reminder: I have a certificate in herb medicine from Peeka Trenkle).

I’m going to take you through the steps. It’s so simple!

1.    Buy organic, or pull from the earth where you’re sure there's no pesticide run off. You can use the herb fresh or dry.
2.    If using fresh leaves, chop into small pieces. 
3.    Stuff a clean mason jar with the leaves.
4.    Make sure to completely cover the leaves with 80/100 proof vodka, brandy, gin, or even apple cider. Do not allow uncovered leaves, or else mold. Add more alcohol if needed.
5.    Seal. Shake every day and let sit, anywhere from three weeks to six.
6.    When time is up, pour everything through cheesecloth and squeeze the excess.
7.    At this point, you can divide the liquid into smaller, preferably amber or blue bottles to protect from light damage. Store in a dark cool place.
8.    Don’t forget to label the jar with the date and what type of liquid was used for extracting.

My “Green Medicine” teacher (Peeka Trenkle) told us Nettles was practically a one-stop shop for people suffering from allergies, with its natural antihistamine.

This from Herb WisdomNettle has been studied extensively and has shown promise in treating Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, bronchitis, bursitis, gingivitis, gout, hives, kidney stones, laryngitis, multiple sclerosis, PMS, prostate enlargement, sciatica, and tendonitis. Externally it has been used to improve the appearance of the hair and is said to be a remedy against oily hair and dandruff.

If using fresh nettles, make sure that the nettles leaves are young. Older nettles have the possibility of irritating the kidneys.  For this reason, many herbalists recommend tincture made from dried nettle tea leaves produced each spring and early summer.  Nettles should be organic and pesticide free.

Always speak with your doctor first. This post is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice.