The Benefits of Stinging Nettles

 Healing Allergy Inflammation With Stinging Nettle

Many of us look forward to Spring. The weather warms up.  We start spending more time outdoors. Plants are growing, and flowers are blooming everywhere. When spring is in the air, so is pollen. For those of us with seasonal allergies, spring is not as lovely. Fortunately, nature has a way with timing and can really help us out if we pay attention.

In the spring, just as all those flowers, grasses and trees are blooming and releasing clouds of pollen, stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are popping up in full force, ready to come to the rescue.  Not only are they an amazing superfood and an all around useful medicinal plant, nettles work wonders for reducing inflammation.

This is an important thing to know because inflammation doesn’t stop with our sinuses and seasonal respiratory allergies. Food allergies and associated digestive inflammation are a huge problem for many people, and most of the over-the-counter treatments only make the situation worse.

Nettles are a safe, soothing treatment for inflammation, offering the added benefits of vitamins, minerals, and immune-boosting properties.  It’s time to make friends with the stinging nettle, folks. You won’t regret it.

Nettles and Seasonal Allergies

Stinging nettles have been used for centuries as a natural treatment for seasonal allergies,  hay fever, asthma, and hives. Research has shown that consuming nettles in freeze dried capsules effectively reduces histamine levels in the body, thus reducing inflammation of affected tissues. Even a simple nettle tea consumed daily throughout the pollen and allergy season will alleviate allergy symptoms.

Common symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing, runny noses, and stuffed up sinuses  are treated as effectively, if not more so, by stinging nettle than over the counter allergy medications. It has been suggested that nettles actually desensitize the body to allergens and decrease our reaction to the allergens over time. Nettles will also spare you the side effects that come with allergy medications, like drowsiness or irritation and ulcers of the digestive tract, which leads to a whole other set of inflammation issues you don’t want.

With high levels of iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sulphur, chromium, cobalt, magnesium, silicon, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K,  iron, and chlorophyll,  they will leave you feeling energized while assisting your immune system in overcoming the allergy response.

Nettles and Digestive Inflammation

Inflammation of the digestive tract has become a common reality that many of us deal with, and this isn’t really surprising when you look at the variety of culprits  and how common they are in our modern lives.  Food allergies, Candida imbalance, NSAID medications (ibuprofin, aspirin, etc.), chronic stress, sugars, highly processed foods, and environmental toxins are all potential sources of digestive inflammation and daily struggles for a lot of folks out there.

The most common go-to treatment tends to be over-the-counter NSAID medications that target pain and swelling, but they, in fact, contribute to the irritation and inflammation of the digestive tract, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break. Here is where the anti-inflammatory benefits of nettles come into play.

When the leaves and stems of stinging nettle are digested, either in the form of a tea, tincture, capsule, or culinary green, the chemical constituents interfere with the body’s production of prostaglandins, resulting in an anti-inflammatory response. Nettles also interfere with pain signals in the body, clean out the intestinal tract, and boost the immune system, providing relief and healing for issues of the digestive system.

Given these healing properties, nettles are beneficial in healing leaky gut syndrome and are listed as a therapeutic ingredient in the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet. Nettle tea has been noted as a successful treatment for individuals dealing with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation and discomfort.

Ulcerative colitis and ulcers in other areas of the digestive tract can also benefit from nettles, as they stop internal bleeding  and re-build  the blood with their high iron content and aided absorption.

Nettles for Pet Allergy Care

Allergies are not only an issue for people; their canine companions suffer from them as well. Dog owners may associate the springtime with treating “itchy dog syndrome” along with their pet’s eye discharge, ear infections, and overall discomfort. Stinging nettle is a natural anti-inflammatory for dogs to reduce levels of histamines, detox their system, and help desensitize their body to allergens. By giving dogs regular nettle supplements during allergy season, their allergies have been shown to actually go away over time. Nettles can be administered to dogs by adding it in freeze dried form to their food or through supplementation.

Where to Find Nettles

If you are interested in wildcrafting your own nettles, you can find them growing in moist soils at the edge of forests, streams, marshy areas, and pastures. You may even find them growing in your own backyard. They are one of the first plants to come up in the spring. They are very distinct with square shaped stems and opposite, serrated leaves tapered to a point, so they are fairly easy to find. With a good plant ID guide and advice from local foragers, you can venture out and gather your own nettles all through the spring months.

You can also establish a nettle patch at home in your garden either with nettle seeds from an heirloom seed company or by transplanting rhizomes from wild nettle patches. If you are working with fresh nettles, be sure to wear gloves while picking and handling them in the kitchen. The prickly hairs on the skin contain formic acid and can cause an irritation to the skin, which is a nuisance but not harmful. Cooking, drying, and grinding will break down the hairs so they are no longer an issue.

Nettles are very easy to dry and use throughout the rest of the year when they aren’t found growing outside. For those of us who may not have access to foraging areas or garden space, you can always purchase dried nettle leaf and a variety of nettle supplements. Sometimes grocery stores will even carry fresh wildcrafted nettles in the spring.

Anti-Inflammatory Nettle Tea Recipe

  • 3 fresh nettle tops (three leaf nodes down the plant) or 3 Tbsp dried nettle leaf
  • 1 Tbsp dried marshmallow root
  • 2 slices fresh ginger root

Boil 4 cups water, and pour over herbs. Steep for 7 minutes, covered. I prefer using a quart mason jar with a lid.

Hay Fever Relief Nettle Tea Recipe

  • 3 fresh nettle tops (three leaf nodes down the plant) or 3 Tbsp dried nettle leaf
  • 1 Tbsp dried elder flower
  • 1 Tbsp dried chamomile

Boil 4 cups water, and pour over herbs. Steep for 7 minutes covered. I prefer using a quart mason jar with a lid.



Allergy Epidemic Link to Antibacterial Products

Rise in Allergies Linked to War on Bacteria

By Diana Gitig, Ars Technica

“Allergic diseases have reached pandemic levels,” begins David Artis’s new paper in Nature Medicine. Artis goes on to say that, while everyone knows allergies are caused by a combination of factors involving both nature and nurture, that knowledge doesn’t help us identify what is culpable — it is not at all clear exactly what is involved, or how the relevant players promote allergic responses.


There is some evidence that one of the causes lies within our guts. Epidemiological studies have linked changes in the species present in commensal bacteria — the trillions of microorganisms that reside in our colon — to the development of allergic diseases. (Typically, somewhere between 1,000 and 15,000 different bacterial species inhabit our guts.) And immunologists know that signaling molecules produced by some immune cells mediate allergic inflammation. Animal studies have provided the link between these two, showing that commensal bacteria promote allergic inflammation. But these researchers wanted to know more about how.

To figure it out, Artis and his colleagues at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine treated mice with a broad range of oral antibiotics to diminish or deplete their commensal bacteria and then examined different immunological parameters. They used a combination of five different antibiotics, ranging from ampicillin, which is fairly run of the mill, to vancomycin, which is kind of a nasty one.

They found that mice treated with antibiotics had elevated levels of antibodies known to be important in allergies and asthma (IgE class antibodies). The elevated antibodies in turn increased the levels of basophils, immune cells that play a role in inflammation, both allergic and otherwise.

This connection doesn’t only apply to mice but also to humans who have high levels of IgE for genetic reasons. People with genetically elevated levels of IgE are hypersusceptible to eczema and infections, and antibodies that neutralize IgE are used to treat asthma.

The antibiotic treatments and IgE did not act by promoting the survival of mature basophils, but rather by promoting the proliferation of basophil precursor cells in the bone marrow. Commensal bacteria limit this proliferative capacity.

That discovery is the real insight contributed by this paper. It has been well known for some time that IgE mediates allergies. But no one knew that bacteria living in the gut may use it to check the growth of immune precursor cells in the bone marrow. The finding might have wide-ranging implications and help us make sense of other chronic inflammatory disease states that have also been associated with changes in this bacterial populations. Commensal bacteria might impact these other inflammatory conditions — including cancer, infection, and autoimmune disorders — through this mechanism, as well.

Experts have puzzled over the enormous explosion of asthma and allergies in recent years, and been unable to pinpoint the cause. This paper suggests that perhaps the overuse of antibacterial products could be to blame.

Image: Janice Haney Carr/CDC

Citation: “Commensal bacteria–derived signals regulate basophil hematopoiesis and allergic inflammation.” David A Hill, Mark C Siracusa, Michael C Abt, Brian S Kim, Dmytro Kobuley, Masato Kubo, Taku Kambayashi, David F LaRosa, Ellen D Renner, Jordan S Orange, Frederic D Bushman and David Artis. Nature Medicine, published online March 25, 2012. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2657  


Aromatherapy & Homeopathy for Tough TImes


By Phoenix Rising Star

If you’ve been reading the past few issues of Ma’at, you’ll see a pattern of emergency preparedness. When I began this, I had no idea how extensive this topic was, nor did I realize how many people, websites, practitioners, groups, organizations, and non-organizations are currently practicing their version of preparedness. I have received feedback from people with great suggestions, people also feeling guided to stockpile, and people with ideas to share and learned so much from everyone. A compilation of this feedback will be featured in November. If you’ve been holding back any ideas, suggestions, questions, or anything else and would like to be considered for contribution, please send your emergency preparedness related writings to attn. Phoenix.

This month features two practitioners for which I have great admiration. These practitioners love their work, live their life work, love to share their knowledge and expertise, and are excellent resources for alternative healing. When I initially contacted them for assistance in this article, I just said, “Send me your top ten remedies for emergency situations.” Each in her unique manner singled out and compiled more than ten, which I consider a bonus. May you find help and support from these suggestions for emergencies, as I did.

Aromatherapy for Emergencies.

For those unfamiliar with aromatherapy, these plant based remedies are diffused from different plant parts. Leaves, flowers, and roots are distilled leaving a residue that is one hundred percent healing power. The residue is called essential oil. Essential meaning necessary and life providing. Oil meaning blood or life-force that floats on top of water. Not necessarily sticky, like olive oil.

Aromatherapy may be used topically, by placing a few drops directly on the skin. Different sources may recommend mixing the essential oils with a carrier oil or lotion to prevent burning the skin. Aromatherapy may also be inhaled. Inhalation of the oils causes the healing power to move to the bloodstream efficiently and quickly. Medicinal grade essential oils may be taken internally, but please consult an aromatherapist before you do this. One or two drops go a long way, and not all essential oils on the market are medicinal grade.

Rhonda Phillips of Pure Elements Wellness Spa in Idaho has years of experience with the healing essences of plants. As an H.H.P, L.M.T. and Traditional Spiritual Leader, Rhonda has developed and dedicated her business to sharing and teaching the sacred essences of the plants through aromatherapy. She believes this is her pathway to living her truth, and assisting others with achieving peace and harmony. Rhonda’s website is

Her aromatherapy reference guide is organized according to types of complaints. Individual oils are listed first, with her blends second. All these oils may be ordered through her website listed above. With essential oils, more is not necessarily better, so use discretion.

Common complaints and their essential oil remedies:

1. HEADACHE, MIGRAINE: Peppermint, Lavender, Chamomile, Rosemary, Lemon, BLENDS:Clove”n”Limes, Basil with Lavender.

2. COLDS & FLU: Lavender with Lemon or Peppermint, Peppermint, Chamomile, Ginger, Oregano, Thyme, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Myrrh, Rosemary, Ravintsara, Myrtle, Eucalyptus, BLENDS: Ancient Remedy, Breathe Ease, Defense

3. SORE THROATS: Ravintsara, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Rosemary, BLENDS:Breathe Ease, Gentle Healer, Ancient Remedy

4. EARACHE: Tea Tree, Lavender, Helichrysum. BLENDS: Purify, Gentle Healer

5. TOOTHACHE: Clove, Tea Tree. BLENDS: Ancient Remedy, Gentle Healer

6. SHOCK: Lavender, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Helichrysum with Basil or Peppermint.
BLENDS: Trauma Free, Courage, Balance, Neroli Blend, Wisdom

7. NOSEBLEED: Helichrysum, Lavender, Cypress, Lemon

8. BLEEDING: Helichrysum, Lavender, Cypress. BLENDS: Heart & Soul, Pain Ease

9. PAIN: Helichrysum, Clove, Peppermint, Birch Bark, Wintergreen, Rosemary,
Chamomile. BLENDS: Freedom, Pain Ease, Clove”n”Limes

10. STOMACH ACHE: Peppermint, Ginger, Fennel, Lavender, Bergamot, Rosemary, Chamomile, Tarragon, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Lemon. BLENDS: Comfort

11. STRESS: Bergamot, Chamomiles, Lavenders, Sandalwoods, Neroli, Rose, Frankinscence, Mandarin, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage. BLENDS: Tranquility, Connect, Create, Empower, Relate, Express, Imagine, Enlighten.

12. INSECT BITES, STINGS: Lavender, Tea Tree, Chamomiles. BLENDS: Purify, Gentle Healer



Jana Shiloh MA, CCH has been practicing homeopathy for 30 yrs ; She has taught nationally and internationally and been named “Honorary Clinical Homeopathic Associate” to the physician to the Queen of England.

She has written three books, the last of which is “HeartFusion™ the Magic of Imprinting Water” which has been endorsed by the coordinator of research for Heartmath Institute.

Her website is

Jana’s first aid notes include these suggestions for homeopathic remedies:

1. Use very small amounts. This is “energy” medicine. The quantity of pellets is irrelevant, but the number of times that you administer them is crucial. GIVE ONE DOSE OF THE REMEDY AND WAIT 2 HOURS. The dosage frequency may be increased in extreme emergencies to every 15 minutes..

2. IF SYMPTOMS ARE IMPROVING STEADILY or GET DRAMATICALLY BETTER – STOP. To repeat a dose under those conditions could reverse the curative process.

3. REPEAT ONLY IF: There is no appreciable change (try 1-2 times more); if there was a change, but symptoms have returned; or, if progress is slow. If the patient improves, but continues to relapse, it may mean they need a higher potency. (Contact your homeopath)

Alternate different remedies if necessary about 1-2 hours apart at first, then 3-4 hours apart.

4. IF SYMPTOMS GET WORSE and aren’t a relapse after a prior improvement, DISCONTINUE USE. This may be a temporary aggravation, or it may not be the right remedy. If an improvement does not quickly follow, you may try another remedy and/or call your homeopath.

5. DO NOT GIVE REMEDIES MORE THAN ONCE EVERY 2-4 HOURS (UNLESS IT IS A VERY SERIOUS INJURY, AFTER A SEVERE ACCIDENT. IF SO ARNICA COULD BE REPEATED EVERY 10-15 MINUTES AT FIRST- THEN ACCORDING TO PAIN AS SEVERITY DECREASES) FOR AT MOST ONE DAY. By the second day, improvement should be underway. Increase the time between remedy repetitions as the healing progresses. If more than one remedy is needed for injury it is preferable to alternate remedies- separate them by 10 minutes to 2 hours.

6. Do not touch the remedy, to avoid contamination; instead, place a pellet directly into the mouth or onto a clean spoon. Let the pill dissolve in the mouth. One is actually enough.

7. AVOID COFFEE or CAMPHOR products (Noxzema, lip balm, Vick’s, or “Deep Heat” or Menthol or strong mint). They should not be used for at least 24 hours after the remedy. They antidote the effect of the remedy, and you may notice a return of the symptoms.

8. LAST, BUT NOT LEAST: Do all the other sensible things: i.e., first-aid, medical consultation when appropriate, resting, and not overworking a recently recuperated body or limb.

Suggested Homeopathic remedies for emergencies:

ACONITE: For Shock due to EMOTIONAL TRAUMA, terror, and all physical symptoms deriving from a traumatic incident like, rape, mugging, or a car or other accident. It is different from the Arnica shock which is more dazed: rather you usually see a fearful or even terrified look. Restless. For eye injuries with cuts, abrasions and wounds. For heat exhaustion or stroke if person is dull with an outward pressing headache and is worse sitting up.

APIS: For bee stings or stings of all kind that are worse with heat; hot and swollen. Allergic reactions may be helped, also anaphylactic shock.

to read the rest of the homeopathic remedies, and for more, go to:

Chili Peppers for Sinus Problems

Heat in Chili Peppers Can Ease Sinus Problems, Research Shows

ScienceDaily (Aug. 26, 2011) — Hot chili peppers are known to make people “tear up,” but a new study led by University of Cincinnati allergy researcher Jonathan Bernstein, MD, found that a nasal spray containing an ingredient derived from hot chili peppers (Capsicum annum) may help people “clear up” certain types of sinus inflammation.

The study, which appears in the August 2011 edition of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, compares the use of the Capsicum annum nasal spray to a placebo nasal spray in 44 subjects with a significant component of nonallergic rhinitis (i.e., nasal congestion, sinus pain, sinus pressure) for a period of two weeks.

Capsicum annum contains capsaicin, which is the main component of chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief. It is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is available over the counter.