A couple of years ago I had the
pleasure of learning my herbs for
a whole year at the Boston
School for Herbal Studies.
I emerged with a certificate
as a Family Herbalist which
really just meant I got to try
out all kinds of teas, infusions,
tincture, salves and lotions
using my family and myself
as guinea pigs.
I did however learn more than
I thought possible and I also
became in tune with the plants.
One of my teachers, Tommy Priester
is a Native American shaman and took us
journeying to the plants in meditation.
When you become in tune with the
plants they will let you know what you
need, sometimes it is a simple as
craving a salad, because your body
is calling for a green cleanse.
In Spring I usually eat a leaf of
dandelion before breakfast because
the bitter taste gets digestion started.
One of my favorite herbs, the
bane of many gardeners and all
those who crave the “perfect”
landscape is Urtica dioica
or Stinging Nettle. And boy it
does sting, but tastes so good
(once cooked it has no sting).
It grows profusely and bears
thousands of seeds, which if you
are not careful, will cause it
to populate your property and
then some, but if trimmed all
during the growing season,
this can be avoided.
It is a tonic herb, full of
vitamins and minerals,
great for the liver and kidneys
along with friend dandelion
and the delicious tea
also makes a great
Here are the
young shoots growing
in my garden.
I must admit I have let it get a little
out of control, so I spent some time this
weekend pulling unwanted new colonies
that had spread underground on
the roots. Anything you pull makes
a great compost tea, so it doesn’t go
One of our favorite ways to eat it
is to saute the tops lightly and then combine
with shredded zucchini, fresh basil or parley
or both and some garlic over spinach fettucine.
It is also great with peppers in veg lasagne.
Nettles even make a nice filling for an omelet
with fresh duck eggs of course.
One of my favorite herbalists
is Rosemary Gladstar.
You can read all about her work
at Sage Mountain and United Plant
Savers at the link. She is just so
down to earth and practical,
and her books are easy to use.
But there is a little
purple and orange
to keep the theme going.