We recreated a classic with this recipe by soaking our oatmeal prior to baking. If you haven't yet discovered the benefits of soaking your grains before cooking or eating them, read our previous blog for the full run-down on this essential kitchen tip! To sum it up, soaking &rinsing oatmeal removes plant compounds that can impede the full digestion and absorption. This means less gas, bloating and indigestion but more nutrition for you - it's a win-win!
1 c organic* soats (soaked oats)
1 c blanched almond or pumpkin seed flour
1 c shredded coconut
6 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 hefty pinch sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or melted Ghee
2 tsp vanilla
3 tsp flaxseed meal
1/2 or 3/4 c chocolate chips (depending on how much of a choco-holic you are)
1/2 cup crushed walnuts or pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking pan with a Silpat or parchment paper. The night prior to baking, place 1 cup organic oats in a sieve and rinse with water. Next, add the rinsed oats and 2 1/2 cups filtered water to a jar or bowl. Add a hefty pinch of sea salt, cover, and leave on the counter to soak over night. When you are ready to bake, use a cheese-cloth or mesh bag to strain out the soaking liquid. Use your muscles to really squeeze out all the oat juice you possibly can. You can save this to use as oat milk or as a soothing skin wash.
Next, add the "soats" (soaked oats), coconut sugar, olive oil/ghee, egg, vanilla, and flax to a blender or food processor and blend well. Meanwhile in a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients (coconut shreds, nut flour, baking soda, salt, and spices). Mix the blended wet ingredients into the dry and add the chocolate chips and/or nuts. You should be able to roll the dough into 1 inch balls with your hands. I like to lightly wet my hands to make this process even easier. Use your peace fingers to slightly press down on each dough ball so that it's about 1/2" thick (these cookies don't spread much on their own so you have to help them!), Bake for 15 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
This recipe makes 12-16 balls depending on how big you make them.
You know us - we love finding creative ways to add our favorite herbal remedies into every day. This moist and fluffy applesauce squares are revved up a few notches with our golden spice blend of Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum or Cassia cinnamomum), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Nutmeg (Syzygium aromaticum), and Black Pepper (Piper nigrum).
People are crazy about curcumin these days, the identified "active constituent" of Turmeric, but did you know that all the constituents minus curcumin possessed more anti-inflammatory qualities than just curcumin alone? This doesn't surprise us - the power of plants lies in the matrix of 1000s of plant compounds all working together to deliver balanced, effective medicine.
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Grease and a 9” round cake pan or muffin tins and “flour” with coconut sugar.
In a medium bowl, mix together the first 6 ingredients well. In the same bowl, add the flour, coconut, baking powder, salt, and spices, making sure you evenly mix all the dry ingredients before folding them into the wet (you can definitely do this in 2 bowls, I just find that if you are thorough, there is no need to dirty another bowl).
Using a spatula, add the batter to the muffin tins or cake pan. Sprinkle with more shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, or chocolate chips - whatever suits your fancy!
Bake for 30 minutes if using a cake pan or 15-18 if using muffin tins.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before transferring to a storage container to store in the fridge. I love these best right out of the fridge with a dab of Kerrygold butter and sprinkle of sea salt. Or you can top with toasted coconut flakes!
*You can try substituting other sweeteners here or even leave it out all together!
Tahini is one of our most cherished ingredients - it's versatile, affordable, and loaded with health benefits. It is equally delicious in desserts, main dishes, breads, or by the spoonful for a quick snack (goes great with honey & sea salt if enjoying it this way!).
This creamy "nut butter" made from sesame seeds is a fraction of the cost of almond butter - with a much smaller environmental impact! Though from a tiny seed, tahini's nutrient density is impressive:
-Compared to other seeds and nuts, sesame seeds have a very high fat (55%) and protein content (20%) by weight.
-Tahini is also particularly high in minerals, especially iron and copper. Studies have affirmed that tahini is a heart healthy food: it's high in lignans and its 2 primary fat compounds- sesamin and sesamolin- have showcased anti-thrombotic effects. So let's get to the good stuff - our Ta-honey Mustard Recipe! This sauce goes great as a dressing or a dipping sauce for meats, veggies, or chips!
Ta-Honey Mustard Recipe
In an 8 oz mason jar, add ½ cup tahini and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Stir together; as you stir the acid from the vinegar will react with the proteins in the tahini and make the mixture very thick. Stir in filtered water (~3 tbsp to ¼ cup, depending on the runniness of your tahini) until the consistency is silky smooth like Ranch dressing. Next, add 1 tbsp of garlic fermented honey* (regular honey will do), 2 tsp dijon mustard (or more if you are a mustard lover), 1 tbsp turmeric powder and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper to taste. This recipe is flexible - add more or less of anything to achieve your desired blend.
garlic fermented honey* recipe below!
Garlic Fermented Honey Recipe
Loosely seal the filled jar with a lid (we like these!) and let sit at room temp away from direct sunlight. The slightly loosened lid will allow fermentation gases to escape. Every other day or so, tip the jar upside down a few times (make sure you fully seal the lid when you do this!) to circulate the honey. You will start to see tiny bubbles indicating that fermentation process is at work! This alchemical process will begin around day 3 and continue for 1 month, but you can enjoy the honey at any time during this period. You will notice the flavor and texture develop over time - the garlic's pungency will mellow and the honey will become runnier.
Store in a cool, dark place for many moons. If kept sealed and away from heat and light, it can easily last 1 year or more! After I use up all the honey, I like to blend up the cloves in pestos and other sauces.
This cookies are packed with protein and energizing cacao - making them great for a quick breakfast or a pre/post workout snack.
Oh, and they go great with coffee :)
Pay attention to the room temp ingredients- it makes a difference!
½ cup of your favorite nut butter
¼ cup unrefined coconut oil, room temp
⅓ cup coconut sugar ( or 1/4 c maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, room temp
1 c nut flour (we like a combo of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Simply pulse whole seeds until a grainy, coarse sand texture is achieved)*
1 c finely shredded coconut flakes*
⅓ c cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
Hefty pinch sea salt
Optional: ⅓ cup chocolate chips; extra coconut sugar for sprinkling on top of the cookie dough before baking!
*Depending on how runny the nut butter is, you may have to use ~½ cup more of dry ingredients.
Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
Using a spoon or whisk in a medium bowl, mix together the first 4 ingredients until well incorporated (much easier when the coconut oil and nut butter are room temp!). Next, mix in the egg (again, make sure its room temp or it will cause the coconut oil to clump).
In another bowl or directly into the wet ingredient bowl, add the remaining 5 ingredients to the wet until a slightly sticky batter has formed. You want your batter to come off your spoon in a solid ball when you forcefully drop the batter onto your cookie sheet (like the motion of flicking of a whip, except with a spoon). As mentioned above, you may need to add more dry ingredients to achieve this texture. You can use your fingers to shape the dropped dough balls into uniform spheres, but I like the rough and chunky look. You can also sprinkle with more coconut sugar at this point.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until firm and slightly golden brown on the top and bottom.
Let cool a bit before transferring from Silpat to a wire rack with a spatula. These will store for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container kept in the fridge.
(They ain't gonna last that long though...)
Grain free, no refined sugar, Paleo option available
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with a bit of coconut oil and dust completely with oats and coconut shreds. Set aside.
Mix 1st eight ingredients together well in a medium bowl.
In another bowl, combine eggs, syrup, and banana. Slowly pour in melted coconut oil while stirring so you don’t scramble the eggs with the oil. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet with a large spoon or spatula. Fold in the zucchini.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with extra coconut shreds and/or oats.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden and the loaf is set (stick a knife in the center and it should come out clean). Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.
*Use 1 ½ cups almond or cashew flour and omit the oat flour if making paleo
As herbalists and nutritional therapy practitioners, we relish in the interface between nourishing herbs and foods.
We adapted this recipe to be fitting for our students in the Restart Program, a guided 3-week vacation from sugar and processed foods. During this time, we retrain our bodies to burn fat - its preferred fuel - over carbs - the macronutrient that has been villianized by current fad diets but that actually holds tremendous value when consumed in the proper amounts (there is a that reason sweets taste so good!).
The addition of rose hip and licorice powder give a delightful herbal touch to these satisfying chocolates.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is known as the great harmonizer in several herbal traditions for its ability to enhance and round out the flavor and action of other herbs in formula. A little bit goes a long way with licorice, so treat it like you would sea salt. Rose hips (Rosa ssp.) are excellent cardiovascular aids and give a bright touch to the deep richness of the cacao.
Raspberry Rose Chocolate Recipe
keto, paleo, no-sugar, delish!
Ready in 15-20 min (10+ minute chill time)
¾ c coconut butter
¼ c coconut oil
¼ c grass-fed butter
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla
½ c coconut butter
½ c frozen raspberries
2 tbsp coconut cream/milk
1 tbsp rose hip powder
2 pinches licorice powder
2 tsp maple syrup
1 c toasted, shredded coconut
In a small pan, add ¾ c coconut butter, ¼ c grassfed butter, ¼ coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla, and 4 tbsp cacao powder, and a pinch of sea salt and heat on medium low until everything is melted. Stir until everything is combined. Remove from heat. Set aside.
1. Filling-In a small saucepan mix together ½ c coconut butter, ½ c raspberries, 2 tbsp coconut cream/milk, 1 tbsp rose hip powder, 2 tsp maple syrup, and a pinch of salt on med-low. Heat until coconut butter is melted and incorporating into the raspberries. Pour ingredients into a blender or use an immersion blender to blend well. Set aside.
Using a silicon ice cube tray, pour the bottom ½ of each cube with the chocolate mixture. Put this in the freezer so it is resting evenly and the chocolate sauce doesn’t cool crookedly in the ice cube molds. Let freeze for at least 10 minutes until the chocolate is set. Remove from the freeze and spoon ~1 tsp of the raspberry filling into each cube mold. Press ~½-1 tsp of toasted coconut flakes into the raspberry filling. Pour the remaining chocolate sauce over each mold so that the raspberry and shredded coconut filling is covered. Return to the freeze for another 10 minute at least to let that set. Remove from freezer and dust in a combination of cacao and rose-hip powder or toasted coconut.
Add 1 tbsp maple syrup to the raspberry filling
Add 2 tsp maple syrup to the chocolate base
Inflammation and How Gold Dust Might Help
Turmeric’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last few years, and for good reason - this Ginger family root can answer many a modern malady. Why is it so effective for such a large range of common complaints? Two words: PROLONGED INFLAMMATION.
In fact, prolonged inflammation is such a common source of pain and disease and it has been called “the root of all disease” in western medicine (1 in 3 Americans suffer from an inflammation-caused disease). There is some truth to this - but rather than simply treating inflammation on the spot, we are wise to look a bit deeper as to what is causing this prolonged inflammatory reaction.
But first, we have to define inflammation. Oftentimes, these health buzzwords get thrown around so much that we forget the meaning. Inflammation is simply our bodies response to some type of adverse stimuli such as an injury, infection, or general imbalance. The inflammatory response triggers our body’s immune system to kick into action and start the healing process. Inflammation is designed to treat acute/short-term issues. You cut yourself- a scab forms and mends the skin. You catch the flu- a fever comes and goes. Sometimes, however, when the body feels an onslaught of adverse effects, it is unable to return to homeostasis and the immune system stays turned on. Overtime, you can imagine that this majorly wears the system out.
Back in Roman times, Inflammation was defined by 5 characteristics: redness, aching, swelling, heat, (calor, dolor, rubor, tumor) and loss of function. Have you ever felt any of these in an injury? Sometimes, if an injury (internal or external) is unable to heal, the long-term affect is illness. And to be clear, an injury doesn’t have to be something as clear as breaking your leg. Injuries can look like lingering damage from a bad cold, knicks in your arteries from clunky blood, or most commonly these days - chronicaly inflamed guts from eating foods our body doesn’t understand how to digest. A few examples of inflammation induced diseases are: arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, MS, and fibromyalgia.
The goal is to allow an inflammatory response to do its job. As soon as you see signs of inflammation, address them before chronic inflammation takes hold yielding much more complicated problems.
Apart from addressing diet and lifestyle factors, we have a favorite anti-inflammatory drink that is well-balanced and therefore pleasing to the majority of constitutions out there. We call it GOLD DUST and it features Turmeric, Eleuthero, Fenugreek, Maca, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom, and Black Pepper.
How to Make the Perfect Cup of GOLD DUST
Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy this delightfully warm and sunny drink:
THE MILKY WAY- Gently heat 8-12 oz of your favorite milk in a saucepan. We like raw cow's milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, or hemp milk for this. You want the milk very hot but not simmering (if you overheat raw milk, it deactivates all the goodies inside). Meanwhile, add 1 tsp of Gold Dust to a mug. Pour the hot milk over the Gold Dust. Add 1/2 tsp maple syrup, honey or agave. Use a hand frother and froth to perfection (alternatively, mix it up in a blender). Top with a dollop of whipped heavy cream or coconut cream and a cinnamon sprinkle. Enjoy in place of coffee, as an afternoon pick-me-up or post-dinner dessert.
THE ATHLETE- Bring 8-12 oz of filtered water to a simmer in a saucepan. Meanwhile, add 1 tsp of Gold Dust to a mug. Cover with simmered water, 1 scoop collagen (coupon code #OCEANLOVE for 10% off!), 1 tsp coconut oil, coconut butter, or MCT oil. Use a hand frother and froth to perfection (alternatively, mix it up in a blender). Top with a pinch of cayenne and cinnamon. Enjoy after a workout or to nourish you on busy mornings.
THE COLD SHOULDER- Mix 2 tsp of Gold Dust and 1 tsp honey or maple syrup in ~1/4 c very hot filtered water until completely incorporated. Add 12 oz of your favorite cold milk (we like almond or coconut for this). Blend up with some ice and enjoy on a sunny day.
The Herbs In Gold Dust
All images from Creative Commons Flickr; Steve, Heather, Utilisima, Sh.fernando, cpmkutty, Kata Tolgyesi.
The keto diet is buzzing right now, but what exactly does it mean, and is it for everyone?
Well, ketosis is pretty cool for a number of reasons. Whether you are aware of it or not, your body has likely entered ketosis from time to time.
We enter ketosis in 2 scenarios:
-when we deprive our bodies (almost completely) of glucose
-when we fast for ~12-15 hours
Ketosis isn't an all or nothing deal. We can be in mild or full-fledged ketosis, or not at all. When glucose isn't available as a result of one of the above scenarios, Ketones are created as an alternate fuel. At this point, some interesting things happen.
In even mild ketosis, our antioxidant production is ignited (up to 150 g antioxidants/day). Ketosis also stimulates the production of beta hydroxybutyrate, the ultimate source of fuel for mitochondria. These guys are the powerhouses of our cells and when they aren't firing correctly, you can expect disease to set in. Ketones help mitochondria produce ATP. By increasing ATP, ketones reduce the generation of free radicals, increase production of endogenous glutathione, and act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Ketones also reduce inflammation and oxidation throughout the body but especially in the brain. This is because the brain rapidly takes up ketones, an easily digestible fuel source that is small enough to cross the blood brain barrier (the liver converts MCTs to ketones). If ketones are present even at low levels they increase cerebral blood flow as much as 40%. Studies have shown that increasing ketones is a great strategy to block ionizing radiation and for controlling tremors.
To maximize ketones:
-Reduce carbs. This doesn't have to look like cutting them out completely. In fact, having such a stark transition from a carby diet to none at all can cause some crazy symptoms like the carb flu, the keto rash, and other undesirable effects. Be gentle with your body and remember that it doesn't like extremes but rather thrives in moderation. We like to follow the diet recommended through the RESTART program, allowing for non-starchy vegetables and low sugar fruits while avoiding starchy carbs, refined sugars, grains, and processed foods (RESTART will be offered again in January 2020 Athens, GA peeps!)
-Use a form of intermittent fasting by eating in a 6-8 hour span. This could look like not eating after 7 pm and waiting until 11-noon to eat your first meal the next day. Use MCT oil, grass fed butter, coconut butter, or coconut oil in your coffee or tea to sustain you until your first meal
-make these keto muffins! Recipe below :)
6 large eggs
1/4 c olive or toasted sesame oil
½ cup tahini (on the runnier side is best-we love this kind)
1 c raw cashews
½ c raw pumpkin seeds
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
Sesame seeds and/or pumpkin seeds to garnish
Preheat oven to 350. Use butter and almond flour to grease and flour a muffin tin.
Add all ingredients listed in order to a food processor or high powered blender. Blend well until you have a completely smooth, creamy batter. Use a spoon to drop the batter into the greased and floured muffin tins. I find a spoon the easiest tool to work with. Continue adding more batter until all 12 muffin holes are filled up (all the batter should be used up at this point).
Top with sesame and flax seeds and put on middle rack in oven for 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before popping out your muffins. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for a few weeks or the freezer for much longer. They will last on counter for 3 days. I like to have these on hand for a quick breakfast with an egg or smothered in your favorite nut butter.
Scientific Name: Ferula asafoetida (Latin ferula, “carrier”; asa, “resin”, and foetidus, “smelling fetid”)
Common Names: Devil's dung, Stinking gum, Food of the gods, and Giant fennel, Hing
Taste/Energetics: Bitter, warm, grounding, stimulating
Parts Used: gum resin from the rhizome and root of plant
Actions: antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, laxative, and sedative, antispasmodic, expectorant, stimulant, emmenagogue and vermifuge.
About the plant: Native to Central Asia, eastern Iran, and Afghanistan. Ferula looks like a giant parsley plant. The tap root resembles a massive carrot. They are harvested when they are 4-5 years old in early spring before the plants flower. The roots are cut where stems protrude to allow it’s milky latex to pour out. The stinky, milky exudates are scraped off and collected, creating fresh wounds for more asafoetida gum resin harvesting.
Fun fact: Asafoetida has been used historically as wolf bait
Uses: Asafoetida is perhaps the most pungent and prevalent spice throughout Central Asia and the Middle East. Some say it’s what makes Indian food taste Indian. Asafoetida is what provides that onion-y, warming, mysterious flavor so characteristic of Indian and Persian food. Asafoetida has an extensive history of use as both a food and medicine. (As a low FODMAPPER with a tendency to be dry-skinned, cold-natured, and slow to digest, Asafoetida has become my best friend, but more on this later).
For one, Asafoetida has an incredible taste. I would say it is a combination of miso, onion, garlic, and saffron with a touch of egg. It’s such a complex and intense flavor that a little bit goes a really long way. Asafoetida accentuates other herbs which is why it is traditionally mixed into blends like Kitchari (a popular blend for stewing veggies and flavoring rice and lentils; I adore it on scrambled or fried eggs) and Hingvastak churna, a digestive blend used in Ayurveda for those with a cold digestion by nature.
Asafoetida has a history of being used for nervous, digestive, and respiratory system conditions and afflictions. Asafoetida was once used to treat hysteria, although these days we refer to that as a good ole’ sedative. Going along with it’s calming nature, it also can thin the blood and lowers blood pressure.
As a respiratory system aid, it’s used for ameliorating spasmodic, inflamed conditions like bronchitis, asthma and whooping cough. Additionally, the volatile oil in the gum is eliminated through the lungs, making this an excellent treatment for asthma. It’s indicated for those with “spasmodic tightness” in their lungs, given the feeling of incomplete breath/air hunger. In Ayurveda, the Traditional Medicine of India, it is said to nourish and relieve stagnation of the nervous tissue for cases of sciatica, paralysis, and epilepsy (cold conditions).
As a digestive aid, it has a few mechanisms of action. For one, it is invigorating to any stagnant gut condition, stimulating blood flow, digestive juice secretion, and peristalsis to get things moving and grooving. It’s high volatile oil content acts as a carminative, popping gas bubbles left and right and relieving lower abdomen distention. Therefore, it’s great for gas! In Ayurveda, it is one of the primary herbs indicated for people with a cold and dry constitution (vata). People with a vata constitution have a hard time regulating heat in their body. Their digestion is often slow, yielding gas, belly distention, and constipation. On that same note, Asafoetida can clear coldness and stagnation in the uterus, regulating periods and easing spastic cramps. It is said to warm the uterus and stimulate menstruation. And it’s great for low libido (often the case of low blood flow, invigoration in the nether regions). Hing is also known to reduce Candida growth and other pesky, unwanted gut flora, viruses, and worms. (they are probably turned off by how stinky it is!). In fact, Asafoetida was used to combat the flu during WWI because of its antiviral properties
Contraindications: Do not use in medicinal/high dosage quantities. In large amounts, an abortifacient quality has been noted due to it's stimulating qualities.
Simple, Savory Kitchari Egg Recipe
In a cast iron skillet, melt 2 tbsp grass fed butter or ghee on medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp of kitchari spice and ¼ tsp paprika. Let infuse into the butter for a few minutes until the kitchen is smelling fragrant and lovely. When you can hear it sizzling, crack an egg into the buttery spices. Top with a bit of sea salt, black pepper, and freshly shaved pecorino or parmesan cheese. Let cook on medium-high for 1 minute. Flip over and douse with a few shakes of Coconut aminos. Cap the pan with a lid and turn the burner off but leave the pan on the burner. Meanwhile. Slice up half an avocado and whip up some dijonaisse using the ratio of 1:3 - dijon:mayo (just make sure it’s coconut oil or avocado oil mayo- we don’t want any rancid vegetable oils inflaming our breakfast!) At this point (about 4-5 minutes later), the kitchari egg should be totally cooked. Remove it from the pan and slide it onto the sliced avocado. Top with a dollop of dijonnaise. Fresh chopped parsley and crispy almond crumbs, toasted coconut, and/or bacon bits adds a nice finishing touch!
Nettle, Urtica dioica, Urticaceae
Parts Used: leaf, root, seed (leaf discussed here)
Energetics: salty, sweet, nutritive, drying, neutral
Habitat: Herbaceous perennial native to Europe, Africa, Asia and North America preferring open or partly shady habitats with plenty of moisture. Nettles are often found on forest edge, by rivers or streams and on roadsides. Now, Nettle has naturalized throughout the world and is often found growing in a streamside ditch
Actions: alterative, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antiviral , anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal, antiandrogenic, diuretic, hepatoprotective, nutritive tonic
Active Constituents: Minerals, chloropyll, silica, terpenoids, carotenoids, including β-carotene, neoxanthin, violaxanthin, lutein and lycopene, fatty acids (palmitic, cis-9,12-linoleic and α-linolenic acids), a variety of polyphenols, essential amino acids and proteins, vitamins, tannins, carbohydrates, sterols, polysaccharides, and isolectins (Kregiel, 2018)
Nettles have been treasured through the centuries and for good reason: few other plans can boast such a robust list of medicinal uses, nutritional value, and textile fiber potential. The use of nettle in fabrics has been dated back to 2000 bc with burial shrouds found in Denmark. Hippocrates wrote about 61 remedies using Nettle.
1. Nutritive Tonic- Nettles are quite possibly the most vitamin and mineral-dense plant in Western Herbalism. They are one of the highest known sources of iron and chlorophyll (chlorophyll is what makes plants green and thriving, so when you eat it - you thrive, too!). Chlorophyll is incredibly cooling and alkalizing to the body, and its high content in Nettle plays a role in its powerful anti-inflammatory action. Nettle leaves are mineral rich, particularly high in iron, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. For this reason, Nettles are always indicated for weak, listless, pasty, and/or anemic people. Nettles contain 2x more antioxidant-rich polyphenols than cranberry juice (66.61 mg GAE) . Protein, Vitamin C, fiber, and silica - important for bones! - are also exceptionally high in Nettle. As a nutritive tonic, Nettle works best when taken regularly. Folk herbalists munch on Nettle in a variety ways - sautéed with eggs and other veggies, stewed in soups and broths, or blended into a pesto or smoothie are great ways to eat Nettle. It also makes a tasty simple tea. Nettle’s rich mineral content means it is excellent at strengthening bones and connective tissue, enhancing protein metabolism, building the blood and nourishing the entire body on a cellular level.
2. Diuretic - Nettles are supreme medicine for the entire urinary system. Plants with a “salty” taste let us know they are rich with minerals; this is common for kidney-specific plants like Horsetail, Dandelion, and Celery. Assessing Nettle holistically, you can see that it thrives in deep, damp soils. Using the doctrine of signatures, Herbalists throughout the ages have learned that Nettles also regulate dampness in the body. Pretty cool connection! Synthetic diuretics work solely in the urinary system, increasing liquid output and urination. Herbal diuretics, on the other hand, work much more holistically- they regulate liquids throughout the whole body, working systemically on the Water Element (Evolutionary Herbalism). Synthetic diuretics are used to relieve edema, swelling and gout, but in doing so, they also deplete potassium due to its high water solubility (no one wants to be peeing out precious minerals!). This is why potassium pills are often prescribed at the same time. Herbal diuretics like Nettles are brilliant in that they come equipped with minerals like potassium so that depletion is much less common. Nettles also have a toning, drying and astringent effect, bringing extra umph to cases of leaky, weapy, lax tissue states. Think of Nettle for cramping uteri, post childbirth, leaky gut, high/low blood pressure, and any inflamed puffy state.
3. Alterative - Alterative is an herbal action term that pertains to an herb’s effect on one’s ability to process and remove toxins systemically. Historically, alteratives like Echinacea- also known as Snake Root for this reason - were used to remedy snake bites because they helped the body cleanse itself of circulating toxins. For this reason, alteratives are commonly called “blood cleansers”, but their action is much more complex. Snake bites might not be as common today, but most humans living in the modern world have some degree of toxicity circulating inside. Nettle’s other actions as a diuretic and nutritive play into its role as an effective alterative. Nettle has traditionally been considered a “spring tonic” - folk herbalists would eat the young fresh leaves in the early spring to open up the channels of elimination after a stagnant winter season. Alteratives improve the removal of waste products, enhance metabolic functioning, improve the absorption and distribution of nutrients, and just make you feel fresh and great.
4. Anti-inflammatory - Because of its dank supply of chlorophyll, Nettle is able to cool and alkalize the body. Puffy, inflamed tissues are cooled, nourished, toned, tightened by Nettle’s touch. Arthritic joints, inflammatory GI conditions, excessive cardiovascular heat (often displayed by high blood pressure), and inflammation of the urinary and reproductive organs are especially relieved by Nettle.
Nettle works as a topical anti-inflammatory in a very unique way. Its rubefacient, or “counterirritant” action, is pretty unique to Nettle. Essentially, urticating (from the Latin world for Nettle, Urtica) is the historic practice hitting one’s inflamed, swollen joints and aches with the fresh plant multiple times. This action brings a flood of fresh oxygenated blood flow to the area, removing stagnant waste products (which are often the cause of pain) and feeding the area with nourishment. The stinging hairs, or trichomes, of Nettle include the smooth-muscle stimulating substances of acetylcholine, histamine, and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) along with formic acid, and serotonin.
How to take: As a food herb, we enjoy Nettles best at meal time. A spoon of Nettle pesto (mixed with other garden herbs like parsley or basil- check out our recipe below!) or a handful thrown into the soup pot are great ways to infuse your food with mineral rich Nettle. A warm or cold infusion of 3 tsp. Nettle (dried or fresh) in 1 qt filtered water. Drink throughout the day for a refreshing, cooling treat.
Plays Well With: You can find Nettle in our Wonderful Woman Tea for it’s toning, mineralizing, and astringent properties - perfect for moon time cramping and PMS.
-Due to its drying nature, we like to pair Nettle with a bit of moistening Licorice, Orange Peel, or Tulsi for a tasty, balanced drink.
-For a great bone builder, Nettle, Horsetail, Oat Straw, Dandelion, Rosemary, and Ginger make a stellar daily tonic.
-Soups! Simply through a handful in any soup for a hearty, mineral-rich addition
-Pestos! The deep, salty bite of Nettle plays will with other pesto herbs like basil and parsley. Add a handful of fresh to any pesto batch- just be sure you blend well so you don't sting your tongue!
-Muffins and Breads! A few tablespoons of dried Nettle leaves or powder will give your baked goods fortified nutrition
Contraindications: When consumed abundantly and/or out of balance of other moistening plants, Nettles can cause dryness. Nettles are generally safe, but high amounts might disturb anyone on diuretic pharmaceuticals. Always be sure to harvest the leaves before the flowering stage
Nettle Pesto Recipe
With gloves, basket, and scissors/pruners in hand, go find a nettle patch. Make sure the patch hasn’t flowered yet- harvesting already flowered nettle might cause urinary irritation. I like to use basic scissors to clip the nettle leaves right at the node, or where the next section of opposite leaves begin. This allows one fresh pairs of leaves present at the end of each nettle stem, facilitating more even and beautiful growth for the plant. Clip down to about the 2nd or 3rd node so that you are only getting the freshest tips of nettle. The older, larger leaves at the bottom of the plant are tougher and not as tasty. At the end of this process, you should have about 10 handfuls of leaves and stems (or the equivalent of 3 compacted cups of nettle leaf + stem).
Once inside, gently rinse nettle with colander. Using your scissors, clip off all the leaves and shove the woodier stems in a pot or jar. You can use these stems for teas and soup stocks. I will make a pot of boiling water and infuse the stems for about 10 minutes and keep this in my fridge to drink at my leisure. You can also freeze stems with other veggie scraps and bones for a soup stock base. When all your leaves are de-stemmed, very quickly steam them in a pan with a bit of salt, pepper, and water to de-sting them. Blending up the leaves fresh will also remove the sting from stinging nettle, but I like this extra step as a precautionary measure (I have had fresh nettle pesto where some of the stingers were still in tack- yowch!)
Once leaves have steamed, add about 2-2.5 cups worth (depending on how much you steamed them) to a blender. Add 1/2 c olive oil + 1 spoon tahini, 1 handful fresh parsley, juice and zest of 1 lemon, 2 handfuls of walnuts & flax seeds (about 1-1.5 cup, depending on the nuts you use), 2 tsp miso paste, a hefty pinch sea salt and crushed black pepper, and a dash of cayenne (optional: ½ cup pecorino or any hard goat’s milk cheese). Blend until smooth. Transfer to a jar and store in fridge for at least a week or in freezer. If you divvy them up into ice cube trays and freeze, you have perfect 1-portion servings for quick meals.
Popham, S. & Popham, W. (2015) Materia Medica Monthly, Vol. 2: Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica.
Semalty, M., Adhikari, L., Semwal, D., Chauhan, A., Mishra, A., Kotiyal, R., & Semalty, A. (2017). A Comprehensive Review on Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Effects of Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica). Current Traditional Medicine, 3(3), 156-167.
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