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Did you know that Nettle can help you quit smoking?

31 May World No Tobacco Day

This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco and paying awareness to the non-smoker population whose health is also in danger because of smokers. WHO (World Health Organization) is fighting the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. Claim your right to healthy living and let’s protect future generations!

This is especially important these days as studies show that smokers have a higher risk for a severe case of coronavirus. WHO calls on all young people to join the fight to become a tobacco-free generation.

Smoking is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. Many smokers look to natural remedies to help them quit, but not all of them are effective or actually safe for you to use.

Nettle in cigarettes?

There are over 1500 plants that have been documented for use as smoke. Some people may find it helpful to use herbal smoking blends when they are lessening their dependence on tobacco. For some, smoking is also often a ritualistic part of the day.

Herbal cigarettes have received increasing attention as a non-smoking aid, sales of herbal cigarettes are increasing. Research shows that herbal cigarettes compared with regular cigarettes can be just as harmful in terms of the carcinogens they carry. When you breathe in the smoke of a herbal cigarette, you’re breathing those harmful toxins – tar, carbon monoxide, and other toxins – directly into your lungs.

Herbal cigarettes are also used in acting scenes by performers who are non-smokers, or where anti-smoking legislation prohibits the use of tobacco in public spaces.

Dried nettle leaves are used mixed with tobacco to flavour it in regular cigarettes. Nettle is also a widely used herb ingredient in the increasingly popular herbal smoking blends.

If you want to do the best for your own and your loved ones’ health, use nettle in a tea or cook a delicious meal with it. 

Nettle tea to help you quit?

There are some “Quit Smoking Herbal Tea” available on the market. Most of them contain nettle leaf, mullein, oatstraw, peppermint and black pepper essential oil, which is scientifically proven to help with the craving for nicotine when the oil is inhaled.

Stop smoking, you can do that!

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Nettle for Biodiversity

22 May International Day for Biological Diversity

Every single creature on our planet is connected to another one. Or more. It’s a complicated connection net between species, as an ecological interdependence. Nettle supports over 100 species of insects, including butterflies and moths as a food source (see the list here).   Sir David Attenborough has called on gardeners to plant a wild flower meadow and cultivate a nettle patch to help butterflies struggling to survive the wet summer in the UK.

Nettle is among the major sources of green plant material consumed in the field by the snails. They all know that nettle is tasty and full of nutrients. The presence of stinging fibers on nettle act as a defense against many grazing animals, creating a comfortable habitat for our beneficial friends, some of whom are pollinators. The community of organisms depending on nettle is very large. Just think of all the predatory insects, spiders, amphibians and birds which take advantage of this feast. Luckily, thanks to our predators, there are no notable pest problems on nettle – neither in the wild nor in cultivated nettle. Everyone does their job in the right way. That’s biodiversity.

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Nettle Hummus?

A super nutritious dip, spread, or savory dish that is packed with plant-based protein, HUMMUS. It’s not only delicious, hummus is a great source of dietary fiber, which can improve digestive health. 

13th May International Hummus Day

The basic ingredient is chickpea, which is one of the earliest legumes ever cultivated. The chickpea dates back more than 10,000 years in Turkey. Tahini, the sesame paste that is vital to hummus is mentioned in 13th-Century Arabic cookbooks. Hummus is the word for chickpea in Arabic. We are not sure who invented hummus, but it became a symbol of all the tension in the Middle East.

There is an eclectic, touching documentary film about the delicious superfood sweeping across America: Hummus the Movie (2015). The movie is about secret recipes, a Guinness World Record and the power of hummus to bring Muslims, Christians and Jews together in the Middle East, America and around the world.

The cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic is the classic way to make hummus. It is naturally free of common food allergens and irritants, such as gluten, nuts and dairy, which means it can be enjoyed by most people. There are a million other ingredients you can use to boost the traditional recipe depending on the season and your creativity. Nettle is one of the extra seasoning that makes hummus more nutritious and lovable.

Nettle Hummus Recipe:

  •  1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  •  4 cups of fresh nettle tops and leaves 
  •  ½ a lemon
  •  2 tablespoons of tahini
  •  1-2 cloves of garlic, minced (in early spring, you can add wild garlic as well)
  •  2 tablespoons of olive oil
  •  1 teaspoon of salt & pepper

Boil a pot of water and place the nettle in it for 30 seconds, then drain (you can drink the nettle tea). Put the nettle in a blender with the lemon juice, garlic and salt & pepper. Blend for about 30 seconds. Add in olive oil, tahini and rinsed chickpeas and blend for a minute or so. You can add more or less of the ingredients to taste or to achieve your desired consistency.

Enjoy with some crackers, carrots & celery!

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Heal your Garden with Nettle

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a perennial plant that is incredibly nutritious for both plants and humans. Most people are not really happy when they realise nettle is about to take over their favourite flower and vegetables beds. Because of its creeping roots, to get rid of nettle is a challenging garden job.

But I suggest you turn this mean, stinging weed to your garden’s best friend. You can use it to help your compost or as a natural fertilizer for your plants.

Chopped nettles act as a natural activator and speed up the decomposition process in compost heaps.

The nutrients in nettle fertilizer (nettle manure) are those same nutrients the plant contains which are beneficial to the human body such as many minerals, flavonoids, essential amino acids, proteins and vitamins. A nettle leaf plant food will have: chlorophyll, N, Fe, K, Cu, Zn, Mg, Ca. These nutrients, along with Vitamins A, B1, B5, C, D, E, and K, combine together to create a tonic and immune builder for the garden.

There is a quick method and a long range method for making nettle fertilizer. Either method requires nettles, obviously which can either be picked freshly or dried.

Quick method: For the quick method, steep a handful of nettles in a bowl of boiling water for 20 minutes, then strain the leaves and stems out and toss in the compost heap. Dilute the fertilizer 1:10 and it’s ready for use. Spray this nettle tea on your plants. It helps them to grow strongly, which means they become less attractive to pests. This quick method will give a subtler, non-smelly result than the following method.

Long range method: Fill a bucket with the leaves and stems. Weight down the nettles with a brick or stone, and then cover with water. Only fill three-quarters of the bucket with water to allow room for the foam that will be created during the brewing process. If you can, use rain water, and set the bucket in a semi-sunny area, preferably away from the house since the process will likely be smelly. Leave the mix for one to three weeks to ferment, stirring every couple of days until it stops bubbling.

Finally, strain out the nettles and dilute the concoction at one part fertilizer to 10 parts water for watering plants or 1:20 for direct foliar application. It can be added to the compost bin to stimulate decomposition as well. 

When using nettles as fertilizer, remember that this fertilizer works best on leafy plants and heavy feeders. Start with low concentrations and move on from there.

This nettle manure plant food is easy to make and your plants will be happy about it if you use it wisely.

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Nettle Colour at Your Fingertips

2nd May 2021 Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day on this Sunday, 2nd May. You still have time to create something nice for your Mom with your own two hands. Let’s handcrafting with nettle!

Did you know that nettle is one of the most beautiful natural colouring plants? It is widely used for centuries as nettle leaves make a lovely green dye thanks to its chlorophyll content. Today, some creative minded people rediscovered this use of nettle and became professional botanical dyers

Here is an example of dying fabric with nettle. First, try it with a small piece of cotton or linen fabric (or a white handkerchief) to explore how it works, later you might use it bravely dying your favourite clothes as well.

Use separate equipment from your usual kitchen equipment.

1. Place nettles in a large aluminium pot and fill it with just enough water to cover the nettles.

2. Place the dye pot on the stove and heat very gently. As the leaves soften, push them down below the water level. Stop heating once the water reaches simmering point.

3. Check your colour regularly, if you want a deeper colour heat the dye again. Monitor the colour over the next day and observe the colour change of the liquid. It goes from yellow to green to dark grey-green.

4. Strain out the leaves when you are happy with the colour of your dye.

5. Pour the dye back into your aluminium dye pot and heat gently for a few minutes. Now the leaves aren’t in the dye, you might choose to use a slightly higher heat. Over the next few hours observe the dye further darken in colour.

6. Add in some extra water to raise the level so there’s more space for your fabric to move about.

7. When you’re happy with the dye colour, add in your fabric then heat gently and stir with a spoon to help it dye evenly. Simmer the fabric and ensure it’s submerged under the dye at all times.

8. Allow to soak for as long as you like, and reheat a couple of times if you feel it needs it. Stir the fabric whenever you pass, just to move things about so it dyes evenly.

9. After a day or so, take the fabric out, squeeze out the excess dye and allow it to hang to dry. Wait a few days before rinsing out the excess dye.

Then, if you want, iron your grey-green fabric for fixing this gentle colour you’ve worked so hard.

Happy Mother’s Day!