Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Herbal Choice Of The Week Is Nettles. The reason I chose nettles was that my husband said we had a ton of it near the edge of our yard, and he wanted to know more about using it in some way. So this is the information I found out about nettles.

Nettle (Urtica dioica [Latin]), also called stinging nettle, was once used to treat arthritis and all sorts of skin disease. 

There is actually some research that (sort of) supports the ancient practice of hitting yourself with a nettle plant. Apparently nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories; it’s been theorized that the sharp nettle leaves helped to inject this herbal medicine into the body when struck against the affected areas. 

Many herbalists and naturopaths do say that the antihistamines in nettle make it an excellent treatment for hay fever. In one study, participants taking two 300-milligram capsules of nettle daily reported that their hay fever symptoms were significantly reduced. Nettle is also sometimes used to loosen congestion and open the bronchial airways in people with asthma or allergies. 

Nettle may help people with arthritis to reduce their dosage of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which have been found to cause stomach upset and gastrointestinal bleeding with overuse. In one German study, people eating stewed nettle leaves needed only one-fourth as much NSAID as those taking drugs alone to experience the same pain relief. Nettle also contains large amounts of boron and silicon, two minerals that help ease symptoms of arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis.

You don’t have to hit yourself with nettle to take advantage of this herb’s medicinal benefits (unless you really want to). Nettle is available in capsules and in nettle root extract (this form is particularly effective for treatment of BPH). The usual dosage is one 450-milligram supplement twice a day, or 1 teaspoon of liquid extract three times a day. You can also try growing your own nettle—it thrives in just about any type of soil. Just be sure to use gloves when you harvest this plant. The prickles covering nettle contain histamines that can cause pain for several hours. The leaves, stem, and roots of this plant are edible. Use 2 teaspoons of dried nettle leaves in a cup of boiling water for tea—drink up to four times a day. You can also eat fresh steamed nettle leaves as a vegetable. This plant is an excellent source of vitamin C, and the leftover liquid can be taken in place of nettle tea. 

I also found this recipe for nettles and risotto.

Recipe by Joanne Weir 

6 ounces nettles, stems removed
2 cups homemade chicken stock
2 cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 cup Arborio, vialone nano or carnaroli rice
3/4 cup dry white wine, preferable Sauvignon Blanc
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

To remove the stems from the nettles, be sure to use latex gloves. 
Place the chicken stock and water in a sauce pan and heat until it is hot but not boiling. Reduce the heat to low and maintain the heat just below a simmer.  Place a ladle in the pan.
Warm the olive oil in a large heavy casserole over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 10 minutes.  Add the rice and nettles and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to toast the rice and coat with oil.
Add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until the wine has reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add a few ladlefuls of stock to the rice and stir to wipe the rice away from the sides and the bottom of the pot.  Continue to stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Add another ladleful of stock and continue to stir until the liquid has been almost absorbed.  Continue to add stock and stir in the same manner until the rice is no longer chalky, 20 to 25 minutes total, depending upon the variety of rice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove the pan from the heat and add another ladleful of stock, the butter and the half of Parmigiano.  Cover the pan and let sit covered off the heat for 5 minutes.
Remove the cover and stir.  Place the risotto in a bowl and serve immediately.  Pass a bowl of Parmigiano alongside

Serves 4

Enjoy your day!
And As Always
Keep It Clean!

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