Stalking the Wild Nettle

Nettles are my favorite healing herb. This fact about me is something I do not hide. Now I have plenty of other herb friends, both cultivated and wild, that run a semi-close second in my favorite herb department. Nettles are #1!

Nettle seeds

Nettle seeds

In the above picture you are looking at the beautiful tiny seeds that dangle in strands from the nettle plant. These seeds are powerhouses of nutrition for nourishing thyroid health.  The dose is 1/4 teaspoon daily. I would take this as 1/8 teaspoon, twice daily.

To dry nettle seeds I cut the entire stalk at the base and hang them upside down in a warm and dry space. Make certain you have a screen or something similar underneath the hanging plants to catch any falling seeds. When they start to dry, I carefully cut each strand from the stalks. I put them in a paper bag, poked with a knife to make many air holes, and hang the bag to completely dry the seeds. Leave the top of the bag wide open for better air flow. You can also use a very fine mesh bag to hang and dry the seeds.

The remaining stalks can be left to dry out the leaves. Again, trim the completely dried leaves off the stalks and store them in an air tight container. You now have dried nettle leaves for adding to soups, stews, sauces, and for making healing tea.

The beautiful nettle plant displaying her seed strands.

The beautiful nettle plant displaying her seed strands.

Looking straight down at the nettle plant. The seeds strands form a whorled pattern about this beautiful, healing plant.

Looking straight down at the nettle plant. The seeds strands form a whorled pattern about this beautiful, healing plant.

Nettle's many healing gifts to your body:

  • strengthens the kidneys and adrenal glands
  • builds natural energy from the inside of the body (which is the opposite of coffee's effects in the body, coffee wears out the adrenal glands, nettles builds and heals the adrenals
  • nourishes the hair and skin making you shine with vibrant health
  • is an adaptogenic herb, helps a living organism adapt to stress (adrenal health!)
  • rebuilds and restores the body cells as nettles is a powerhouse of nutrition
  • great for reducing allergies on its own or make an herb honey with raw, local honey and nettle puree, take 1/4 teaspoon twice daily (This is basically making a tincture using honey as the base.)
  • great for nourishing the male and female reproductive tracts
  • nourishes thyroid health and contributes to body weight balancing

This is but a partial list of all the benefits nettles has in the human body. I suggest you become friends with nettles and learn all you can about her healing ways.

What you are observing, below, is a chicken nettle salad sitting on top of a romaine lettuce, carrot, and cucumber salad. In the upper left corner is a big dose of my late spring, wild leek infused sauerkraut. I got carried away and made 8 quarts! 5 quarts down, 3 quarts left to enjoy!

Chicken Nettle Herb Salad

  • left over chicken breast from dinner at the ADK Cafe in Keene, NY. If you are ever passing through here, stop and eat. The food is divine, the meat is local and pasture raised!
  • sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • fresh chives
  • nettle top leaves
  • homemade mayonnaise made with 3 tablespoons whipped heavy cream, 1 small egg's yolk, and a dash of yellow mustard. I whipped the cream well, added in yolk and whipped some more, then added mustard. The cream and eggs were both from local, pasture raised animals cared for with love.

The chicken was chopped up, mayo blended in, added in the chopped herbs and nettles, and stirred all together. I plopped this decadent chicken salad on top of my veggie salad (all local veggies from Martin's Farm Stand) that was dressed with my homemade herb vinegar dressing. The finishing touch: wild leek sauerkraut!

Eat healthy, eat whole... your body cells with thrive with vibrant, radiant health!

Burdock Root

burdock 2 Ah, burdock, that annoying plant that sticks those prickly balls on clothing after a romp in the woods and fields.  This plant, that creates burr seeds, is a healing blessing, despite those barbed 'lil balls!

As a kid, I fell into a large clump of burdock plants while romping in the fields. Those burrs make an amazing mess in long hair! Surprisingly, as an adult, I do not avoid them.

Burdock can be utilized in a number of herbal remedies to aid in digestion.  The root is bitter, stimulating the liver, and therefor aids in digestion, enhances absorption of nutrients, and supports your whole digestive tract and colon with the elimination of wastes.


Burdock root, along with dandelion and nettle, are amazing, healing herbs to use in liver conditions.  The liver plays a huge role in removing toxins from your blood, producing bile to digest dietary fats, metabolizing hormones to maintain hormone balance in your body, stores excess carbohydrates, in addition to many, many other functions.

Nourish your liver and heal many "dis - ease" symptoms.  Nourishing the liver is useful in: skin conditions, liver conditions (obviously), hormone imbalances, allergies, infertility, headaches, migraines, digestive problems, chronic gas, constipation....

Need help with herbs for healing? Give me a call.  As an herbalist, I love to help with herbal healing!

Why do I tell you this?  I love burdock.  It makes a yummy tea, it is fun in soups and stews, and I just added a pile of it (grated) to my next batch of fermented veggies. I am curious to see what burdock will add to the final fermented product's flavor!

The brown grated veggies on the top are burdock.


This is a pile of burdock roots, graciously given to me by Dan Kent of Kent Family Growers.  He knows I love burdock!  I have used over half of my burdock gift already. My liver is feeling ready for spring and pollen season!


On fermented veggies: I asked Steve, of The Cheese Maker, if cheese cultures could be used in enhancing the fermentation of veggies. This kind man did a 'lil research and got right back to me.

Our conversation via emails:

Me:  Can any of the cultures you sell be used as a sauerkraut starter?  Thanks, Paula

Steve: I'll also do a little research and let you know what I find out.

Me:  Thanks!

SteveHi Paula:   Some research I found on Wikipedia and other scientific sites show that some of the same species of bacteria that make cheese are similar to those that make sauerkraut, though the sub species are different.  I'm not a biologist,  so I do not know how this will affect the flavor of the kraut.  Only way is to make a small batch and see how it turns out.  As long as the pH is similar in the end product, it is at least safe to eat. The below link is a culture which has similar bacteria, though not sub species.   If you make a test batch, let me know what you find out.  

Me:  I am posting to get other people's experiences, hopefully!
Steve:  Awesome. I would really like to hear from others who use this culture.  I have enough hobbies otherwise I'd also make some kraut.
Anyone ever used cheese cultures in veggie fermentation?
Anyone ever use burdock root in fermented veggies?
Anyone know of a good source for veggie fermenting cultures?
Love to hear from you on any of these topics!  Paula

Seasonal Allergies: Gear Up Now!

nettles What would a healing post, from me, be without my favorite herb... stinging nettles!  It is my "go to" herb for all nourishing and healing needs.  Start with nettles + herbs specific for the health symptoms = healing equation!

Got allergies?  Gear up now to fortify your body before pollen season. (I know, it does seem like winter will never go away, here in Northern NY!  But, pollen season will happen!) This self-responsible, preventative health action will help to ease the seasonal allergy symptoms.  Breathe freely this spring, summer, and fall...

1.  Freeze dried stinging nettles:  Get to Nature's Storehouse, Canton, NY and purchase some freeze-dried stinging nettles.  Start taking them now to calm and heal your immune system and relieve the seasonal pollen allergies.  

freeze nettle

2.  Local, raw honey.  Start eating 1/2 to 1 teaspoon two times daily, now.  Local, raw honey will acclimate your body to the local allergens before they bloom and blossom. This local honey will help to relieve or even rid your seasonal pollen allergies.


3.  Herbal Formula:  Herbs Etc. is a great company.  I use many of their formulas in healing ways with friends, family, and clients.  They work!

Allertonic® Enhances healthy inflammatory responses of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Stabilizes mast cell walls and fixed antibodies found in the eyes and respiratory system, keeping the tissues calm. Normalizes secretion of the respiratory system, liquefies mucus, stimulates its removal from the lungs, and keeps pulmonary tissues hydrated.

Ingredients: Fresh Stinging Nettle herb, Licorice root, Eyebright herb, Horehound herb, Osha root, fresh Horsetail herb, fresh Mullein leaf, Elecampane root, and fresh Plantain leaf.

Suggested Use:

Acute: Take one soft gel or 40 drops with water every two to three hours until comfort is achieved or as directed by your health care professional. Noticeable comfort is attained within the first or second day. Switch to ongoing use.

Ongoing: Take one soft gel or 40 drops with water three times a day.

Proactive: Two months prior to seasonal challenges, take one soft gel or 40 drops with water twice a day.


4.  Yes, you can use all three of these natural, allergy relief "foods" as a preventative measure.  Start now, before the snow melts!

5.  Whole foods:  I would be seriously amiss as a whole food, holistic healer if I did not tell you that the foods you put into your body, every time you eat, affect the way you feel.  Eat crap, feel like crap!  If you over load your body with packaged, factory made foods, you overwhelm your immune system (actually, you overwhelm your whole body, every body cell!).  Your immune response to allergens in the seasonal air will be seriously heightened if your body is already overwhelmed by crap food.  Eat whole, love your body cells!

6.  Liver Nourishment:  As I write this post, I have a draft post on liver nourishment, ready to go.  Be looking for it.  Keeping the liver healthy will cut down on seasonal allergy symptoms.

7. Acupuncture: is an excellent healing tool in the seasonal allergy toolbox. Give Five Elements Living a call if allergy relief is in your plans!

PS:  I can order any product from Herbs Etc. for you.  Check Nature's Storehouse OR the Potsdam Food Coop for a similar product.  Compare the ingredients as many herbal companies make allergy relief herbal combinations.

Need Help? Not sure about herbal healing foods:  what to take, how to take it, when to take it, etc?  As a Certified Herbalist, I can help with this!  Give me a shout.