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Embracing The Sting: A Love Story with Stinging Nettle

Updated: Apr 22

Nestled in the heart of nature's pharmacy, stinging nettle boasts an impressive array of medicinal uses. From alleviating seasonal allergies to supporting joint health and promoting radiant skin, this prickly herb is a true healer at its core.

While my relationship to the plant kingdom began early in my life, there was an interaction with a particular plant that felt like an initiation into herbalism, and that was stinging nettle, or urtica dioica .

I was hiking with a friend in Wells, England on a path that was recommended to us by our Air BnB host. She said this path was dedicated to the fairies, and at the end was a fairy house where many people left offerings for them. We were excited to see the fairy house! My friend and I walked down and down on this path, laughing and enjoying good conversation and the beauty all around us. As I was looking at the lush plants on the side of the trail there was one that seemed to reach for me, and in many ways I felt like sleeping beauty compelled to touch the spindle. Almost as if I was in slow motion I reached out to touch the plant with affection, and rubbed its leaf gently between my fingers to say hello. Immediately my friend said “Um, I think that’s stinging nettle. Actually, I know that’s stinging nettle.” Before I could ask what that meant I began to feel an intense stinging on my thumb and pointer finger, like very intense! I asked if I’d be ok, and she yes, the stings are actually good for you, but uncomfortable and can sting for up to 24 hours. And it did. The tips of my two fingers were still stinging the next day.

This hike was at the beginning of a pilgrimage I was on in Glastonbury England in

late April 2017, where I spent most of the pilgrimage climbing and spiraling around the Tor there. At this time of year the Tor is covered in young nettle and thistle with one unconscious step bringing you your own initiation with the power of plants!

This was truly an initiation for me, as it started an obsession with healing nature of plants- not just their physical healing properties, but also their energetic ones. The way the nettle grabbed me and pulled me in was one of my first lessons in their ability to communicate at subtle levels, and also that I have the ability to hear them when I’m tuned in. This is a shamanic way of understanding plants, and the way our ancestors knew them.

Here are the many things nettle has taught me about her nature and how to work with her:

🍃Physically- Stinging nettle is of the most nutrient dense herbs on the planet, more so than spinach and tastes even better. She is high in iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. She is an ally to anyone struggling with nutrient deficiency, and is recommended for breastfeeding mothers. Stinging nettle is also great for seasonal allergies. Because of her high nutrient content she is a great herb for hair and skin. My favorite way to enjoy her is to make a strong tea and drink everyday during the spring or anytime you are feeling depleted.

Stinging Nettles is also anti inflammatory. She is a great ally for arthritis, and in this particular instance, you can actually use the plant and “whack” the areas that are sore like hands and knees. The venom in the plant helps deliver relief right into the affected area.

She also helps support the kidneys to flush our system, which makes her a great healer for the urinary system as well.

🍃Energetically- Stinging Nettle carries a yang energy, which is stimulating, moves stagnant energy, and protective.

She began my energetic teachings in 2017, which at the time was about boundaries and respect. Approach her reverently and she will help you learn respect and boundaries. Her motto to me at the time was “Boundaries before Blessings”.

Later, in 2020, I sat with her in a different way. I observed her in nature. I knew her physical properties at time, so I just watched and listened. She told me she is an ally for all mothers and caregivers. She will restore people who tend to over give. She will also teach you how to break co dependant tendencies- essentially how to hold boundaries before you give blessings, and will bring you back into balance from a state of depletion due to over extending yourself. She is my go to herb for empaths!

Stinging Nettle has been associated with the planet Mars. Mars is the ruling planet of Aries, and is associated with new beginnings, forward motion, passion, desire, and LIFE! I also find she has some Saturn qualities as well- helping to remineralize our bodies and teach boundaries.

Working with a plant ally energetically is not too different than medicinally. You can make a tea, tincture, or oil infusion and use your awareness to track changes in your mood, physical body, and energy levels. You can also place the dried herb in a pouch and carry in your pocket with the intention to receive teachings from the herb. You can also place it in a scared space with the same intention. Working on an energetic level is highly intuitive and there are no wrong ways or answers! If you receive a message that you can’t confirm anywhere, the message isn’t wrong. It’s just YOUR message 🍃

I sell Stinging Nettle in my shop, and can either blend her into a tea for you or you can just buy her loose and make your own infusions with her. I hope you feel inspired to try stinging nettle, and I’d love to hear how she teaches you.

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