Nettle,the queen of my garden / by Ingvild Flesland

There are some elements out here in the garden that help me keep an awareness of the “here and now”. And God knows I need it,as I rush around the garden as a headless chicken,full of my new ideas that I have to execute immediately! Nettle is one of those elements on my journey through the garden, requiring my attention. It is not bad to be "burnt by nettles," it is more like a small shock and I have actually started to appreciate it. It's a bit like getting acupuncture ... only instead of a needle that goes through the skin, so there is a small dose of uric acid, histamines and acetylcholine entering and stimulating the body through blood vessels / meridians, muscle fibers, lymphatic system and cell metabolism ... which gives this tingling feeling that sits there from a half to several hours after you have burnt your self . Traditionally within herbal medicine ,and still in some cultures, it is common to utilize this power, by 'whipping' skin or joints with nettles to those suffering from rheumatism, chronic headaches, arthritis and paralysis. So when I out there in the garden ,and in my usual little too fast moving around and then stinging my self on a nettle, I thank her for the hint and rejoice in a free healing session!

I have mentioned some of the many systems in our body that nettle affects,in the article of how to make nettle pesto.

But what I consider as Madam Nettle's,most important but little-known feature, is her amazing capacity to strengthen kidneys and adrenals. In Chinese medicine ,the kidneys are considered the battery of the body. They provide the electricity to all internal organs, and if the kidney energy is weak, the tendency is that the other organ energies are weak as well.

It is generally difficult to build kidney energy , partly because parts of this energy is inherited from our parents, as constitutional energy,of which we can not do anything ... but the other part is built up through what we eat and how we live our life. Working too much and without sufficient brakes,is draining the kidneys. Our feelings also affect the kidney energy,and the emotion that are especially hard on the kidneys and therefor draining their energy, is fear, insecurity,and too much use of our will (by that I mean if one driver oneself too hard without taking into account your body's signals of fatigue, and when we are overloading the system as a whole, etc.)

Of course there are some substances, which are helpful in building kidney energy, but none of them are as readily accessible and close to home, as nettles. Susun Weed, an American herbalist, says she has experienced several cases of people who really should have to get kidney dialysis, who with the help of nettle, has healed their kidney and not had to have this surgery,this just as an example of how strong healing capacity nettles can have.

.And we have all nettle in our garden..and it will grow anywhere it gets a change. But it might be wise to establish a small nettle patch from where you can harvest nettle like you harvest other vegetables in the garden.Then it is easier to harvest it and it will feel at home and grow big and strong. As a matter of fact,Susun Weed says one should use the nettle daily in the two first month of its growth, that being spring and early summer, to build up the kidney energy. And then let it grow big,flower and set seeds,so it can finish its own circle,and insects and butterflies can benefit as well from Madame Nettles wonderful food.

It's actually a little "kick" to pick this little ,dreaded plant. Grab a leaf between your thumb and forefinger and with scissors cut off the stem above the ground. You will not burn yourself, for it is along the edge of the leaves the stinging bits sits. But when I harvest a certain amount, either to cook or to dry, then I feel a tingling sensation in my fingertips, for the rest of the day, and maybe even the next day. But it's not bad, it's just a interesting sensation, and actually quite enjoyable as it gives me a little buzz,in a slightly similar way coffee gets my energy to vibrate ... only that this is in the fingertips!