nettle | urtica dioica

Botanical / Latin Name: Urtica Dioica | Other Names: Stinging Nettle, European Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle, Burn Nettle, Burn Weed, Burn Hazel | Plant Family: Urticaceae

history + folklore

When I officially started on my herbal journey, one of the first plants I was introduced to and still have a proclivity for is Urtica dioica also known as Stinging Nettle Leaf. This nutritive powerhouse is a detoxifying, pain relieving diuretic that also works as an antihistamine and breast milk producer. It’s pure magick!

A member of the mint family, it’s known for its stinging hairs that will surprise you with a formic acid bite, causing inflammation and itching. Be sure to wear gloves when handling this protective plant! Once Nettle is dried, the formic acid subsides, making it easier to work with the herbal ally. Nettle Leaf has been an herbal staple for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used nettle leaf as an analgesic while the Romans would rub the leaf on themselves to stimulate heat and keep warm.

tender, love & care

Be careful with this plant as Nettle can be very invasive. The beautiful thing about Nettle is how they developed stinging hairs to discourage animals from feeding on them. Start seeds inside about four to six weeks before the last frost free day. Plant one to three seeds in pots filled with soil. Germination should span about 2 weeks. Transplant your nettle to a garden bed, spaced 12 inches apart.


nettle as a nutritive powerhouse

Nettle Leaf is insanely packed with vitamins and minerals to help promote and maintain optimal health.

  • Vitamins: Vitamins A, C and K, as well as a few B vitamins

  • Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sodium

  • Fats: Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic acid and Oleic Acid

  • Amino acids: All of the essential amino acids

  • Polyphenols: Kaempferol, Quercetin, Caffeic Acid, Coumarins and other Flavonoids

  • Pigments: Beta-carotene, Lutein, Luteoxanthin and other Carotenoids

Most of these nutrients have secondary properties and act as antioxidants inside your body, fighting off free radicals. Free radical damage has been linked to aging and cancer, among other things. If you or a loved have a vitamin deficiency, have issues absorbing nutrients or have unbearable allergies, Nettle is an herb you want in your life at all times. The support from this herbal ally goes directly effects your nervous and immune system, as well as your bone stability and skin health.  

fights oxidative stress

The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis conducted a study in 2003 that suggested Nettle, with its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, was also rich in carotenoids and high in vitamin C, making it more than effective for the immune system, freeing your body of oxidative stress.

pregnancy & fertility

As soon as Mom-to-be is in her second trimester, Nettle leaf can be used to support them and their growing fetus. With all the vitamins and minerals contained in Nettle, it’s a wonderful tea to keep Momma bear healthy and keep Baby Bear thriving in the womb until their journey earth-side.

Nettle also helps to tone and nourish the uterus while strengthening the adrenal glands and kidneys, giving support to women experiencing fertility issues. If you’re looking to add support in your journey, drinking at least 2-3 cups a day during conception can really help prepare your body for baby.

*This tea is also traditionally used as a galactagogue, stimulating milk supply for breastfeeding mommas.

allergy relief 

Suffer from hay fever and seasonal allergies? As someone who suffers from a rare skin allergy and hives, Nettle has saved my life, time and time again. Taking a Nettle Tincture every day for 6-8 weeks before and during allergy season can help build up your immune system and fight off those pesky allergies. A study published by Planta Medica in 1990 reported close to 60% of participants stating Nettle was effective in remediating their allergies.

garlic nettle pesto

The benefits of nettle leaf are endless! It’s definitely an herb worth adding to your herb collection. Next time your at Whole Foods or better yet, your local Farmers Market, cop some Nettle and make your friends and family a delicious pasta dish using this garlicky pesto recipe down below.
  • 1/2 pound nettles

  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 1/4 cups EVOO

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a simmer and add Nettles. Stir continuously for 2 minutes. (This removes their sting)

  2. Drain water and let the Nettles sit until cool enough to work with. Wrap them in paper towels and wring out as much water as possible. You should have about 1 cup of cooked Nettles to work with now.

  3. In a food processor or blender, mix the garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper until finely chopped.

  4. Add Nettles, breaking them into small batches before dropping them in. Add lemon juice and mix.

  5. With the blender still going, steadily add your EVOO until your mixture is smooth.

  6. Add your cheese and pulse briefly. Season to taste and add to your pasta!