Stinging Nettle, (Urtica dioica) like most wild edibles, is looked upon as an “invasive”, a “weed”, and something to stay away from due to it’s sting. Stinging Nettle is a Naturally available medicinal plant that is a true “super-food”- with the highest plant source of Protein (more than beans) and Iron. Very high in minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Silicon, Sulphur, Copper, Chromium, Zinc, Cobalt, Potassium and Phosphorus), Chlorophyll, Vitamins (A,C, D, E, and K)… Riboflavin, Thiamine.
Medicinally, the root is good for the prostrate and the seeds are good for urinary tract infections.
Best to harvest before they go into flowering and some say before they get “knee-high”. Harvest by spreading out your cutting in order to let the plant return it’s seed to the soil to continue to propagate. Gloves can be worn to avoid the sting, which actually can benefit arthritis.
You can dry part of your harvest right in the bag, storing it in a dry, warm place. Insert the dried Nettles into capsules or dash onto a dish. You can separate the leaves and cook into dishes that you would normally use greens in- soups, lentils, salads, lasagna, pesto, with eggs…
Milarepa, the great Tibetan Buddhist Saint (Magician, Murderer, Saint), survived off of nettles for many years. His skin took on a green color, as well as his hair. He clothed himself by using the plants fibrous veins.
A couple links with more info on Stinging Nettles as well as other plants that are here for us:
Eat The Weeds
Wild Foods and Medicines