Stinging Nettle: Spiteful Weed or Useful Herb

Saturday, 26 September 2009  |  Admin

Medicinal Herbs

Now, as the Autumn progresses, anyone who brushes a Stinging Nettle will feel a sharp burning sensation across any exposed skin, the result of formic acid released from the hair like spines that cover the stalks and leaves of the plant. At the end of the British Summer and early in the Autumn, the Stinging Nettle [Urtica Diocia] is at its most spiteful – which makes it an unwelcome plant in the garden or along footpaths. The botanical name tells us much about this ubiquitous weed or, depending on your point of view, useful herb: Urtica deriving from the Latin uro, meaning to burn, and diocia meaning two houses – to denote that the flowers of the Stinging Nettle are either male or female. What the name does not tell us is just what a useful plant the Stinging Nettle has been down the ages for Mankind. Rather than being a painful nuisance in the garden, the Stinging Nettle has proved valuable for the kitchen table, a good feedstuff for cattle and poultry, as fibre for clothing [a good substitute for cotton], and as a medicinal herb. In fact Stinging Nettle is amongst a small group of plants that has been used medicinally since the 1st Century AD.

Fresh Herbal Extracts Thought To Be More Potent Than Dried Herbal Preparations

At Yin Yang Skincare we use fresh extract of Stinging Nettle in our Nettle & Zinc Scalp Cream. The extract is made from the fresh leaves and stems of Stinging Nettles grown by Rutland Biodynamic Ltd [http://www.rutlandbio.com/about-rutlandbio/potted-history/] at Town Park Farm in Brooke, County of Rutland. Rutland Biodynamic specialises in fresh extracts; its herbalists insist that fresh extracts “really are demonstrably more vitalistic, more living, than dried extracts”. Rutland’s website explains that commonly occurring “hydrated complexes of native proteins, sugars and lipids are destroyed, or at least their complexity is reduced, by dehydration due to drying processes”. http://www.rutlandbio.com/about-rutlandbio/ten-year-research-project/

Biodynamic Agriculture

All the herbs from Rutland Biodynamic are grown according to organic [no herbicides, pesticides or artificial fertilisers] and biodynamic principles. In biodynamic cultivation, very low doses of special [natural]preparations are applied to the land at certain times in order to improve fertility. These are formulated to improve the biodiversity of the soil micro fauna and flora upon which the fertility of the land is dependant. Other preparations, such as silica, are also applied in minute doses at different times, directly onto the plant, helping to stimulate ripening processes. Biodynamic farmers also believe that the rhythms of the sun and the moon have a direct impact on the way in which life on Earth develops and behaves. These rhythms are thought to be influential for product quality - so the biodynamic farmer seeks to work with them in the cycle of planting and harvesting. http://www.rutlandbio.com/about-rutlandbio/why-biodynamics/

Vitamins, Minerals & Phyto-nutrients

Stinging Nettles are rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals and in an array of botanical components with significant benefit for human health. Aside from minerals such as calcium [important for bones, teeth and metabolism of iron], potassium [helps to regulate water balances in the body and heart rhythms], silicon and iron [important for blood and skin tone], the leaves contain vitamins B2 [Riboflavin] good for skin, nails and hair, C [important for the production of collagen], K1, A [essential for healthy tissue growth including skin and hair], vitamin B5 [Panthothenic acid ]– aids in wound healing and fighting off infections and Folic acid – also good for skin and hair, which when combined with B5, it is thought to delay greying of hair. Additional components include amines [frequently neurotransmitters – and modulators of mood such as choline, histamine and serotonin], flavonoids [a class of water-soluble plant pigments that support health by strengthening capillaries and other connective tissue, and some function as anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic, and antiviral agents], tannins [tannins have shown potential antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic effects], mucilage [a beneficial effect on burns, wounds, ulcers, external inflammations and irritations].

Benefits of Stinging Nettle For Healthy Scalp and Beautiful Hair

Little wonder then that the Stinging Nettle has developed a reputation for supporting human health and a special value in preserving healthy scalp function and beautiful hair. Yin Yang Nettle & Zinc Scalp Cream was formulated for scalps troubled with dandruff and similar irritated and inflamed conditions. With the addition of Zinc PCA, the cream supports the healing of damaged skin, while Yin Yang’s emulsion of softening oil of coconut and organic soya protein helps to nourish the skin and balance the acid mantle of the scalp.