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Nettle in Ayurveda

21 June International Day of Yoga

International Day of Yoga is celebrated annually on 21st June. It is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This 5000-year practise was introduced to the West in the late 1800s, and has gained popularity over the last decade. Today, over 300 million people practice yoga across the globe, although studies show that 50% of all yoga practitioners are of Indian origin.

Yoga brings numerous mental and physical health benefits and promotes mindfulness. It is a holistic approach to health and well-being, it helps create harmony between man and nature. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice.

Yoga and Ayurveda are two interrelated branches of the same great tree of Vedic knowledge, a yogic system of medicine not simply in terms of asana or physical therapy, but also in regards to internal medicine or diet, herbs, and drugs. This holistic yogic system of medicine not simply for treating the physical body but also for treating the mind, emotions, and psychological disorders.

Ancient nettle knowledge

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is used in Ayurvedic treatment to cure various ailments. Nowadays, nettle has drawn a lot of attention, and plenty of research is being done on it. Due to its immense health potential, the popularity of stinging nettle is rising.

In Ayurvedic herbalism, nettle is considered cooling and pungent with an astringent taste. It is best aligned with Pitta energy, helping to gently cool and clear overheated conditions. From an Ayurvedic perspective, nettle is an excellent nourishing tonic and rejuvenative, particularly for the kidneys and adrenals. They increase ojas (the subtle essence of all vital fluids in your body), and are particularly good when run down from stress or illness or needing extra nourishment. 

Nettle tops have been used throughout history in food and drinks as a nourishing and detoxifying spring tonic. Nettle stimulates the action of the liver and the kidneys, thereby helping to clear aama (undigested food or other unmetabolized waste) from the body via the bowels and the urinary tract. According to Ayurveda, aama blocks the body’s channels and organs, preventing the body from absorbing essential nutrients. That’s why detoxification is so important to our health!

Milarepa is one of the most famous saints of Tibetan Buddhism. He is generally considered one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and poets. Traditionally depicted wearing white cotton, his skin was a said to be a slight greenish hue from a constant diet of nettle soup.

Mild astringency and general nourishing action of nettle, tightens and strengthens blood vessels, helps maintain arterial elasticity and improves venous resilience. By reducing excess Pitta in the blood, nettle helps clear inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. The herb also helps keep Kapha levels in check, improving overall vitality. Its carminative properties relieve intestinal gas, and its capacity to promote peristalsis is helpful for some common Vata-related intestinal problems. But taken in high doses can cause excess Vata. Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend taking nettle to stop diarrhea.

But the short and long for it is, yoga and nettle can help us find balance in our body, mind and soul.

Namaste!

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