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Friday, 16 August 2013

Stinging nettles my new best friend

I wrote yesterday about using stinging nettles as pain relief. I overdid things yesterday. I drove, I gardened, I lobbed balls for the dog and I swam. Oh dear. Silly me. This morning I woke in pain again. I reminded my RSI that it should have been resting! Fortunately the nettles on my kitchen windowsill are still stingy. They loose their sting with age in water, or on wilting. I have found if I bash the cut part of the stem so it mushes up, they are able to drink up the water and last longer. And I wash them first (wearing gloves of course) in case they are dusty or are bird poo-y.

So I did the stinging nettle pain relief procedure this morning. Last week, from the 5th to the  9th of August, I did it daily. I saw a huge improvement the very next morning the day after  the first "treatment". And by the 10th I was really comfortable for the first time since the end of May. That was a week ago. I overdid things yesterday because I have been feeling really well and completely pain free.

I am learning fast about using stinging nettles as pain reliever. It's easier for me to pick the top of the nettle where it branches out into buds and flowers. It's best if it has several branches at the top. A long stem allows me to hold my little branch in my one good hand (my right one) and swish it or roll the nettle onto my right shoulder and arm above the elbow. It's nettly stingy. But within a few minutes, it calms to a warm tingle. I don't find the sensation bad at all.

The "science" behind stinging yourself on the pain site, is that the body sends along all the antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and other lovely personally generated chemicals to the nettle sting site, which just happens to be the pain site that needs all that lovely stuff to get well. 

Now, I am aware that some people have a very bad response to nettle stings, so a stinging "test" would be a good idea on a very small place. But I have been stung many times as I scour my garden for what I used to call the "perishers" hiding under the garden bench or lurking down the path. My whole attitude to nettles has changed. I am even growing seedlings to keep on a sunny window ledge in the winter just in case!

They grow in semi shade in rich soil and young leaves are very like spinach when cooked. They are delicious as spinach. They make a good addition to soups and stews. But the older ones, are more intensely full of beneficial healing chemicals, especially after they flower. But they are not good to eat - very bitter.

But for MY purposes, the sting is great. Nettles have become my new best friend.