It’s that special time of year when you can spot nettle leaves shooting up in the places that get the first rays of spring sunshine.
One of the first wild, green plants to herald the return of spring, the stinging nettle (Urtica dioca) is a fantastic superfood that grows on your doorstep. It loves the moist, shadier boundaries in gardens, hedges and woodlands, and in a couple of weeks, when the leaves look larger, wholesome and green, you can start picking them and enjoying the cleansing and tonifying benefits. Fresh, free, and with zero food miles, they can be picked in small batches for immediate use or dried for later.
Nettle leaves are bursting with flavonoids, including high levels of antioxidants which is why they are recognised for their effective anti inflammatory actions. They also contain a natural anti-histamine, which is why they can help reduce the inflammation and irritation of many skin conditions and are fantastic for when the hay fever season kicks in. They have a gentle diuretic effect which helps the body flush away toxins and invigorates the system after the sluggishness of winter. Nutritionally, they are particularly high in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium.
Want to add extra biodynamic potency to your nettle leaves? Harvest on a dry, ideally sunny, "leaf day", preferably between midday to 2pm.
Ideal days are:
February: 26, 27
March: 7, 8, 9, 17, 25, 26