Nettles, Urtica dioica, have been used by natural healers for centuries to treat a vast array of ailments, from arthritis to eczema. This plant is particularly useful for a woman’s overall well-being. Stinging nettles are a female tonic – they treat the female reproductive system. The scope of nettle medicinal benefits does not end there however; nettles have an answer for all of a woman’s needs, from the time that she is a young woman through her elder years.
Nettles for Young Women
Nettles can be used for all the challenges a young woman may face during puberty. During this transitional period, they help to balance the body’s hormonal systems, quelling mood swings, and maintaining a state of equilibrium to combat fatigue. Stinging nettles are a diuretic; they effectively rid the body of toxins and excess water, thereby preventing fluid retention during PMS. Also, nettles will normalize the menstrual cycle for those that have irregular periods by reducing heavy bleeding.
Stinging nettles are also a wonderful solution for dull hair. The herb can be taken internally, or externally to strengthen and enrich hair. A hair tonic can be made from either a fresh nettle infusion, or a blend of nettle vinegar diluted in water. This will also remove any bacterial or fungal infections on the scalp. Nettles are often used in hair care products found in natural food stores as well.
Young women can use nettles to transform overly dry or oily skin into healthy, glowing skin. First, because of its antiseptic properties, nettles will tone and cleanse. Nettles are also an alterative, more commonly known as a blood cleanser. By cleansing the body internally, these herbs can heal all chronic skin problems – eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Nettles combine well with calendula and yellow dock as a detox herbal tea.
Nettles During the Childbearing Years
Women will find stinging nettles to be an endless ally for pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. They have always been an integral part of traditional Native American medicine for this period of a woman’s life. During pregnancy, when the body requires nutrients not only to create a new life, but also to sustain all the changes that a woman’s body goes through, nettles are an ideal source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Nettles provide vitamins C, D, A, the B complex vitamins, and vitamin K (many midwives recommend nettles during the last trimester because of its vitamin K content, which is necessary to prevent excess blood loss). They also are a rich source of iron, calcium, silica, among other trace minerals, and provide 10% protein by weight, remarkably high for a plant. Herbs and plants are more easily absorbed by the body than conventional vitamin supplements.
For the new mother, stinging nettles will stimulate milk production. Also, as such a balanced source of nutrition, they will enhance the richness of breast milk for her child. Nettles will supply much needed energy during the postpartum period by increasing the ability of cells to metabolize nutrients.
Nettles for the Mature Woman
Not only are stinging nettles there to support the changes that a woman goes through early in life, but they are also there for the more mature era. During stressful times, nettles can help a woman cope by normalizing adrenal gland function. They will also balance shifting hormones as a women enters into menopause by stabilizing the hormonal secretion, in turn minimizing symptoms such as hot flashes and feelings of general imbalance.
Stinging nettles can even be useful for more minor ailments that a mature woman may face. A nettle lotion can reduce the appearance of varicose veins. Drinking nettle tea will alleviate chronic headaches. Internally, or externally, nettles are a specific remedy for arthritic pain and inflammation. And, just as they did during the earlier stages of life, nettles will provide the extra nutrition that all woman need to live a healthy, balanced life.
Always consult a health care practitioner in conjunction with using herbal remedies.