You must have heard this old adage ‘All that glitter is not gold’.
Likewise, all that pricks and stings is not valueless. Sometimes we need to look beyond shape, size, colour and… pricks to appreciate the true value that is hiding beneath.
Okay enough of the riddles, I am talking about the stinging nettle. Yes, this plant stings but it has a ton of benefits.
With extremely high levels of vitamins and minerals, nettle can be used as a health tonic to boost and enhance health and of course to stimulate thick and healthy hair.
Well, because of 3 big reasons….this herb:
But before we see how to beautify our hair with nettle, let’s take a look at the amazing nettle plant.
Nettle is one of those plants that grow anywhere, you care for it or not, it doesn’t care but grows and grows and spreads its progeny far and wide. And for this very reason, it’s not liked by many, plus it has tiny spiky hair, and if you happen to touch them, they prick your skin and inject a dose of chemicals like histamine and formic acid. It feels like you have been bitten by several ants together.
That doesn’t sound pretty. But what is pretty is its high nutrition value and its tons of benefits (1). Nettle leaves are packed with nutrients such as:
With taste like spinach, nettle has been used as nourishing food for centuries, especially in early spring when the food is scarce (as well as dried for winter use). It is said the Buddhist Monk Milarepa survived solely on nettle leaves for many years – and he apparently even turned green in colour.
You must be wondering how one can eat ‘stinging nettles’. The thing is after it’s dried or cooked, nettle means no harm and can only offer its benefits. Along with satisfying hunger, nettle has been traditionally used to treat painful muscles and joints, skin conditions like eczema, hay fever and boost your immunity.
You see, how amazing nettle is as food, medicine, and now it’s time to talk about hair.
It’s not a recent discovery. Nettle has a long-standing reputation for preventing hair loss and making hair shiny and beautiful. Although, it’s not that popular now. But if you ask your mother, grandmother or aunties, they may tell you about nettle benefits for hair (or maybe they still use it).
Nettle is abundant in antioxidants like vitamin A, C and polyphenols. All of these compounds help to neutralise free radicals. You want to get rid of free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules, as they can damage healthy cells, including hair cells and cause thinning.
Another superb thing about nettle is its ability to dilate and strengthens the blood vessels – which mean the hair follicles will receive more nutrients and oxygen. As a result, your hair will grow stronger and healthier.
Although this is not studied directly on the hair, nettle can help reduce DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). And DHT is also a big culprit in causing male and female pattern baldness. So it’s likely that nettle can be your natural saviour to stop hair loss.
And there’s some more how nettle can serve your hair:
You see nettle is quite incredible. And the best thing is you can find nettle growing wildly in your backyard or forest ways. If not, you can easily buy nettle in health food stores or online.
There are Several Ways You Can Use Nettle for Hair.
Nettle hair rinse is a great way to stimulate your hair and enhance its look and feel. Along with nettle, you can also add other hair nourishing herbs such as fenugreek, sage, lavender and peppermint.
You will need:
Once you have collected the herbs you want to add to the rinse, the making part is easy. Start by boiling water. Place the nettle leaves (and herbs of your choice) in a mug or jar, add the hot water over the herb, and let it infuse until cool. That’s it. Strain and use.
You can use this stimulating rinse after shampooing or in place of shampooing.
Slowly pour the rinse on your hair, and work it into your roots all the way down to your hair tips. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then rinse out with water, and let hair dry naturally.
You can apply nettle hair rinse once or twice a week. Just after few uses, your hair will be shinier and healthier.
Take 3-4 freshly chopped leaves or 1 tablespoon dried nettle and brew the tea like you would brew any herbal tea. Pour hot water and let it work its magic, then strain and drink. The tea is not the most delicious tasting tea, but it’s not bad either. It has an earthy, grassy taste, with a tinge of floral to it.
I buy the loose nettle leaves online, but you can get it at your local natural market.
If you don’t want to use nettle hair rinse or drink its tea, then there is another great way to incorporate nettle.
Nettle leaves and stem can be used pretty much like spinach. And don’t eat the leaves raw because they will still have the stinging hairs until they are dried or cooked.
There’s an interesting video of a lady in rural India cooking nettle soup. Follow the link to watch on youtube. I don’t know if I will ever make it, but it was a delight to watch her, felt almost meditative.
If you are brave enough and want to pluck your own nettle, make sure you wear gloves as well as full sleeves shirt to avoid getting pricked. Use scissors to cut the top section of the plant. (It’s best to harvest young plants as they become more bitter after they get mature and start flowering).
If you don’t have fresh nettle growing around in your area, you can get it from your local health store or buy dried nettle leaves online.
Stinging nettle is a safe herb generally, but there are certain risks you should be aware of:
That’s it for Nettle for now, before we end, let’s recap:
I don’t know about you, but I am pretty fascinated by what this herb can do. Once you overlook the stings, you can reap tons of hair and health benefits from this amazing herb.
I would like to hear from you…Do you use nettle for your hair? What benefits do you see?
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