By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Nettle is one of those “weeds”/herbs/worts which almost everybody has in their cabinet, I believe. Even the non-witchy community love Nettle tea for what ails them. And, like Yarrow, it is practically free to use if you live in Europe or the Western United States as it tends to grow quite wild if not maintained. For those knowing their plants, wild-gathering is the optimal way of having most of what you need in your wort cabinet. For the rest, there are plentiful ways of buying Nettle…dried, fresh, freeze-dried, even in pill and liquid form. Why do we need Nettle in our lives? For everything!
Nettle is full of vitamin C and iron. It makes a fabulous soup stock and steamed Nettle leaves are a great little side for the main course of your meal. Of course, there is always the famed Nettle tea, so as you can see, it has many uses in the kitchen, and more that I don’t even know about, I’m sure. Of course, before you decide to make a Nettle salad, you must know about the plant a little because those leaves, if not properly prepared, can do more harm than good. You have heard of stinging Nettle, I am sure, and that is where the “sting” comes from – the leaves. The leaves and stems are covered with the tiny stingers made of silica, like glass, and they break off into your skin when touched, unleashing their chemicals which can cause a nasty allergic reaction. I have not forgotten my first run-in with Nettle at about the age of 4 as Nana gathered it for her kitchen. I must have not noticed that she had thick, heavy gloves on instead of the little woolly ones like mine, so I tried to help. Pulling those little woolly gloves off doubled the agony, believe me. Therefore, please only use thick, heavy gloves and cover yourself well whilst wild-gathering Nettle.
Another household use, if you are so inclined, is to spin yarn or thread from the inner fibres of the stems. I know nothing of spinning yarn and thread apart from what I may have seen in films and television, but apparently the people of Denmark once used it to create burial shrouds and the Native American people used it for fishing nets. It is said to be a very soft fabric when woven and a very strong thread or rope when used singularly. The all-round usefulness of Nettle doesn’t end there – a green dye can be made from its leaves and stems to dye the fabric you create from the Nettle itself.
But what about Magick?? Oh, alright 😊
Long ago, a bundle of Nettle were placed under a person’s sickbed to induce their good health and healing. People believed putting things under beds was somehow a good thing to do, such as laying a knife under the bed of a woman in labour to reduce her pain. I know the knife didn’t work for me, but I could not say about the bundle of Nettle under one’s bed. Would never hurt to try! You can return to sender or reverse a curse with Nettle by using it in a poppet. Carry a sachet filled with Nettle for protection. Hang Nettle around your home or sprinkle it around, if in dried form, to ward off evil and to give general home protection. As Nettle is also believed to ward off lightning strikes, this can also be beneficial in that aspect. Nettle is always my first go-to for protection use and it is the first herb I put into our Protection witch bottles.
Because of Nettle’s considerable amounts of iron, it is a good wort for those with anaemia. Word of caution: If you are going to drink Nettle tea to discourage your iron deficiency, be sure to not continue taking iron tablets. Too much iron can cause more problems than the deficiency can. It is best to use the fresh leaves and not the dried herb, although there are still health benefits to the dried herb. Fresh is always best. Nettle tea is also an excellent diuretic.
Nettle is another wort which is very useful to staunch the flow of blood from a wood, much like Yarrow. As a matter of fact, Nettle and Yarrow seem to go hand-in-hand in many concoctions and decoctions for health and magickal purposes. Topically, a poultice of nettle leaf can be used to soothe the heat and inflammation associated with burns.
Powers: Consecration, Exorcism, Healing, Lust, Protection, Anti-Sorcery, Hex Breaking, Uncrossing
Other Names: Stinging Nettle, Sting Weed, Common Nettle
Deity: Apollo, Freya, Hecate, Ra, Thor
Many thanks for reading, please share if you enjoyed, and warmest blessings x
Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs, by Scott Cunningham
The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde