I'm in love with nettles. Nettle, Urtica dioica, from the Latin uro, "I burn." Like love, nettle stings. Like love, nettle nourishes. I've begun to eye the things I eat and drink differently. My morning cup of green tea is an opportunity to not just have a nice little zen wake-up, it's a chance to gently feed myself the vitamins and minerals that nettle so richly packs into its long, dark leaves. I make a women's tea with nettle and raspberry, oatstraw, and peppermint. If I had some alfalfa I'd add that, too. I throw some rose petals into the mix just because. I add nettle to soup broths. If I had fresh nettle, I'd steam it like spinach. We were watching Ridley Scott's Robin Hood a few nights ago. At one point, bemoaning the lack of seed grain, Cate Blanchett as Lady Marian cries "another year of nettle soup!" Maybe the nettle soup is what made Marian so lovely. Nettle is good for the hair and skin, as an energizer, for wounds and burns, for asthma, diarrhea and dysentery, and among many other things, as a woman's tonic. Steve Brill writes here:

Many of the benefits are due to the plant's very high levels of minerals, especially, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silica, iodine, silicon, sodium, and sulfur. They also provide chlorophyll and tannin, and they're a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and B complex vitamins. Nettles also have high levels of easily absorbable amino acids. They're ten percent protein, more than any other vegetable.

A pound of nettle costs only $8.50 at Mountain Rose Herbs. But where to begin? Here's one idea. Try making make a nettle hair rinse, for shinier, thicker hair (also good for treating itchy scalps). Place 3-4 Tbsp Dried Nettle in a nice big jar, and steep in 3 cups of boiling water for half an hour. Add 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar, optionally. After shampooing, pour a bit of the rinse over your hair. It doesn't need to be washed out. Store the extra rinse in the fridge or freezer.

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