The Healing Properties of Nettles & Recipe for Nettle Soup
For hundreds of years, practitioners have recommended stinging nettle as a treatment for arthritis pain and gout, for iron deficient anemia, urinary problems as well as allergies. The root and leaves of the plant contain biologically active compounds, such as the flavonoid quercetin that have antioxidant properties.
Quercetin acts like a natural anti-histamine by stabilizing the mast cells and the release of excess histamine, which is responsible for those miserable hay fever and allergy symptoms.
Stinging nettle preparations are available at most health food stores as dried leaves, tinctures, ointments, homeopathic remedies and herbal extracts. You can prepare a tea by steeping 1-2 tsp of the dried leaves in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Do exercise care when handling fresh stinging nettle (wear gloves), since it might cause an allergic rash on your skin. The stinging power of nettles is instantly dismantled when they are cooked, though.
I’m excited to try out the following recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet.
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced or put through the garlic press
- Olive oil or coconut oil
- 8 cups of broth
- 4-6 potatoes, peeled and cubed (more potatoes = thicker and more creamy, fewer potatoes = thinner)
- 6-8 cups of packed and washed nettle leaves
- In a large soup pot, heat the oil until hot, and add the onion. Sprinkle a little salt over it and saute until the onion starts to soften (about 5-7 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two more.
- Add the broth and potatoes and bring to a simmer, turn down heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
- Now add the nettles leaves, and cook for about five more minutes.
- You can just mash up the soup a bit with the back of a wooden spoon for a rustic soup, or you can puree it into a smooth soup. For those who can have dairy, finishing this soup off with some cream would be great too.
- Salt and pepper to taste and serve.