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.
Native to Europe, North America and temperate Asia, nettle it now found in many parts of the world including South America and Australia.
Nettle likes moisture-rich soil and wet places. You will find them growing in forests, between cultivated plants, along the stream or creeks and on roadsides. Nettle needs no tending. Once it finds the right place, it 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 chemical cocktail of various compounds such as histamine, formic acid and acetylcholine. That hurts, the feeling is similar to an ant bite or bee sting. Yikes!
This doesn’t sound good. But our ancestors were wise. They overlooked the stings and found value in nettle.The plant has a long history of use as a source of traditional medicine, food and tea. And now modern science is in awe of its high nutrition content and health benefits. Nettle leaves are packed with nutrients such as:
With a taste like spinach, nettle has been used as nourishing food, especially in early spring when the food is scarce. There’s a story that Buddhist Monk Milarepa survived solely on nettle leaves for many years – and even turned green in colour.
You must be wondering how one can eat ‘stinging nettles’. There’s a window of opportunity between late March and the end of April when the nettle plants are young, and their spikes are delicate, so you do not get stung if you harvest it during that time. But once the plant is mature and tall, the spikes get well formed, and you need to be more careful with harvesting. However, after it’s dried or cooked, nettle means no harm and can only offer its benefits.
Along with providing vitamins and nutrients, nettle has been used in traditional medicine to treat a wide array of conditions. It’s helpful in alleviating painful arthritic joints, sprains and strains, skin conditions like eczema, seasonal allergies, diabetes and anemia.
You see, how amazing nettle is as food, medicine, and now it’s time to talk about hair benefits of nettle.
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 the elders of your family: ‘your mother, grandmother or aunts’, they may tell you about nettle benefits for hair (or maybe they still use it).
Nettle is abundant in antioxidants like vitamins A and C and polyphenols. All of these compounds enhance hair growth as well as 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 hair thinning or baldness.
Another superb thing about nettle is its ability to dilate or widen the blood vessels so more blood flows through them. As a result, your hair follicles will receive more nutrients and oxygen, and your hair will grow stronger and healthier.
Even though this is not studied directly on the hair, nettle may help reduce the conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). And DHT is also a big culprit in causing male and female pattern hair loss. So it’s likely that nettle can be the natural saviour to stop hair loss in these conditions.
And there are some more ways 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 growth and increase body and luster. Along with it, you can also add other hair nourishing-herbs, such as lavender and chamomile..
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 other herbs of your choice) in a mug or jar, add the hot water over the herb, cover and let it infuse until cool. That’s it. Strain and use.
You can use nettle hair rinse after shampooing to condition hair.
Slowly pour the rinse on your hair, and work it into the roots all the way down to your hair tips. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse it out, and let your hair dry naturally.
Take one tablespoon dried nettle or double quantity fresh herb 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.
If you don’t want to use nettle hair rinse or drink its tea, then there is another great way to incorporate nettle.
Tip: add lemon rind to boost the flavour of nettle tea.
Nettle leaves and stem can be used pretty much like spinach. I have read some people cook nettle along with spinach.
You can use nettle leaves in a variety of recipes, such as soups, stir-fry, polenta and pesto. There’s an interesting video of a lady in rural India cooking nettle soup.
If you go out to pluck nettle leaves, wear gloves and 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 mature and start flowering).
If you don’t have fresh nettle growing 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:
I don’t know about you, but I am 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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