Nettle Magic for Selfcare and Nurturing the Body

Many of us, especially those who do a lot of care giving, forget to take care of ourselves. It somehow seems easier to give to others and let others take from us than it does to give to ourselves.

I decided to work a little Nettle Magic.

For the last few seasons, I’ve been feeling more and more like I’m barely keeping my head above water. Work and family are getting more demanding…and it’s getting harder and harder to just say no. I know I’m not alone, too. I’m seeing a lot of folks feeling depleted and run down, like we’re collectively drowning instead of swimming, too exhausted to do anything more than try to tread water and hope somehow life’s going to throw us a lifesaver.

Nettle is Spring’s lifesaver, but you’ve got to reach out for her help. The first lesson nettle ever taught me was that you’ve got to be clear about wanting her help first; suit up before venturing into the nettle patch! That sting can last a week or more, but a little intention (and a pair of scissors and maybe some gloves) will help you get around it to the rich nourishment hidden in her tops.

At first glance, that push-pull energy–the sting that protects those vitamin and mineral packed leaves–seems like a maniacal defense mechanism. But, when you look a little more closely, it makes a ton of sense.

Nettle helps your body’s defenses by offering loads of nutrition in the right proportions so you can easily absorb and use it (aka in bio available form). The sting is a gentle reminder to 1) not let others take advantage of you and 2) to be clear about the kinds of folks to whom you’ll give your energy. Nettle magic is about honoring yourself AND nurturing yourself. The two go together seamlessly.

My own version of a little self care this year was to take a trip out to the nettle patch and harvest a basket of her tops. I shared some with the family in the form of Pho, and I made several cups of nettle tea for myself. Nettle tea made with fresh tops is one of my favorite spring drinks. I pop one or two tops in a cup and pour on just boiled water. I cover it and let it steep for 10-20 minutes, then enjoy the resulting infusion. Sometimes, I make a second cup with the same tops, sometimes not. Always, I eat them when I’m done drinking. The boiled water takes away all traces of the sting, and they taste yummy!

If fresh nettles aren’t available, I make a simple cold infusion with dried nettle leaf. Often, I’ll include a little raspberry leaf and oatstraw to the blend, but nettle’s always the dominant herb. I add enough herbs to fill a half-cup measure and add them to a quart of cool to room-temperature water in a glass quart jar. I let that sit on the counter overnight, then strain and imbibe through the day.

Whichever infusion I’m making in spring, I’m working with Nettle Magic to help care for myself and prepare for the sunny, active, demanding season ahead.

Other Nettle Magic ideas:

  • Nettle soup – use fresh tops as you would spinach or basil, or add a strainer of dried tops to the pot as you’re cooking-or grind them to use as a powder similar to oregano or basil. Nettle will help add that warm, nurturing feeling to your meal without overstimulating your adrenal system.
  • Nettle journeywork – Draw on nettle’s wisdom in Journey or Guided Meditation to recognize the parts of your life that most need nurturing.
  • Nettle rootwork – include nettle root in your mojo bag for improving fertility and for clearing the air.
  • Nettle seed – add a little nettle seed to your dream pillow mix to help you dissolve the block that stand like walls or rocks between you and the future you want to create.

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