How nettle changed my life…. part one

I took this class while studying nutrition at Bastyr University called “Therapeutic Whole Foods”.  It was an amazing class, chock full of wonderful information around food recipes used as remedies.  One day, I came in to class to find a cup of tea waiting for me.  My instructor told us we would be doing a tea meditation, not to talk, to sit in silence for three minutes and drink this cup of tea.  She instructed us to pay attention to how this warm beverage was making us feel.  At that time, I was immersed in a study environment that preached the benefits of a good diet.  It was safe to say my diet at that time was looking pristine, without flaw and pretty obsessively “correct” on certain days.  Regardless of my healthy eating behaviors, I was still sick quite often and couldn’t put my finger on this feeling of deficiency.  What could it be?

When I drank that cup of tea, my body immediately responded.  It felt as if I had been rooted, energized and as if I was coming back to wellness, I could feel this strength was growing inside of me.  When our three minute silence ended, we went around the room and started describing how we felt.  Some people said they felt calmed, some said they felt comforted, the descriptions went on and on.  Still stunned from my experience I sat in continued silence.
The teacher announced we had just experienced a cup of nettle tea.  I had this hunger inside of me for more and proceeded to drink nettle tea instead of water every day.  I would walk around with these jars of nettle tea, telling everyone who asked about this mysterious green liquid just how amazing this plant is.  It was totally obnoxious and dramatic…. kind of like the title of this post.
I began to visit nettle in the woods near my house, at school, in the park.  I read everything I could on the plant, I drew it, I sat with it, I stung myself with it, I harvested and ate it, bathed and washed my hair with its juices.  I had never felt so strong, energized, and healthy.  And then I thought of all the other plants right outside the door and wondered what edifying teachings they had to offer.  Once again, I was hungry for more.  My work is now guided by the plants.  They are my teachers, companions, friends and all due to this enlightening experience.
Because of this profound moment of time, I consider nettle my very first plant teacher.  I am still totally in love nettle to this day.  So, you can imagine how excited I am for this weekend.  Tomorrow I will be harvesting with tribal cooks in some of my first found patches.  There will be lots of photos taken and a full report to you by the end of this weekend!
Stay tuned for more overly-dramatic and passion filled posts.  🙂

10 thoughts on “How nettle changed my life…. part one

  1. Yo, Val, there is this magnificent event in Olympia, WA every year called “Nettlefest” that you should check out. People bring nettle foods of all types and varieties. There is dancing, singing, and all around nettle celebration! Foods I’ve had the privilege to sample there in years past include but are not limited to; nettle fudge, nettle pesto, nettle spanikopita (sp?), nettle mead, and much more. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for your good words.

    • Hey there John–> If I am making tea with fresh nettles, then yes! I would definitely eat those leftovers. If I were using dried nettle leaf to make a tea, then no way. I’m sure it’s edible, but probably not that tasty.

  2. Hi Val. Thank you for sharing your reflections. I am reminded how through our deep connections to plants we are also shown a way to connect with one another. I thought you and your inspired words as I collected and prepared fresh nettles with my mother and sister yesterday. You added to the mindfulness and meaning of the experience.

  3. Nettles are the best! One thing I have heard is that, as far as the medicinal/healing effect of this plant ally is concerned, it’s best to eat them raw or freeze-dried as when they are dried or cooked, they lose a lot of their kick. It has something to do with the acids (the ones that sting you) that are contained in the plant. Does anyone know more about this?


  4. Hey Val, sitting here at work reading your blog. I love to look for nettles in the wild, too, it has such a presence wherever it grows. Anyway, your tea meditation experience inspired me to dump out my cup o java (yuk) and make me a cup of nettles tea, with a hint of peppermint! So handy to have it here in the office, already dried and waiting to be appreciated! Mmmm…

  5. Hi, new to your blog and site, thank you. I live in Spokane, can I grow nettles here if I put the effort into it? Do nettles need lots of moisture and shade?

    I purchase nettle root and leaves through MRH. Thank you for your inspiration.

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