The Incredible Nettle

“In Scotland, I have eaten nettles, I have slept in nettle sheets, and I have dined off a nettle tablecloth. I have heard my mother say that she thought nettle cloth more durable than any other linen.”

18th c. poet Thomas Campbell

“Nettle oil preceded paraffin; the juice curdled milk and helped to make Cheshire cheese; nettle juice seals leaky barrels; nettles drives frogs from beehives and flies from larders; nettle compost encourages ailing plants, and fruits packed in nettle leaves retain their bloom and freshness.”

Margaret Baker from Discovering the Folklore of Plants

“Tibetans believe that their sage and poet Milarepa (AD 1052-1135) lived solely on nettle soup for many years until he turned himself green: a literal green man.”

Julie Bruton-Seal & Matthew Seal from Hedgerow Medicine

“Nettle magic is steeped in dualities: both fierce and soft, painful and restorative, common as weeds and priceless as jewels. Potent. Tenacious. Humble and often overlooked. Resilient.”

Terri Windling

 How do I love thee, nettles? Oh, let me count the ways!

You have fed my body and my soul, all the hundreds of hours I have spent with you over the last decades of my life. Harvesting you, singing to you, cooking with you on my woodstoves, both indoors and in my outdoor kitchen, boiling giant pots of you over a live fire in my firepit, with my now not-so little girl. Gazing at your beautiful hairs shining in the sunlight. Crawling under oak trees, cottonwoods and willows to get to your most abundant patches of sprawling life, my hair catching on branches, my bare ankles stinging, singing me awake to step more mindfully. You have been such a mentor to me. Teaching me, over and over again, how to pay attention to, and celebrate the abundances of each and every moment. How to seize the blessings of the day, and how to give back in return. How to nurture, value, and protect my own energy. Read more

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