Stinging Nettle Harvest
We are meeting March 31st at the parking lot for Deer Lake Park (Burnaby) off Royal Oak Avenue at 1pm.
What to bring:
- clothes that will protect you from nettle stings; thick socks (or pants that fully cover your ankles, comfortable shoes (thicker is better), thick full-sleeve shirt, and gloves.
- receptacle for your nettles. Any sort of bag. If it's a fabric bag, the hairs on the nettles that sting sometimes get into the fabric, and may sting you later.
- water bottle
- if bringing a child: a receptacle for them to find chocolate (and any other needs)
- receptacle for light snacks (we will share food)
- snackable finger food to share
Stinging Nettle; Urtica dioica
In the luteal phase, the wonderful and calming hormone progesterone features prominently. Progesterone can only be made after the ovarian follicles (eggs) have completed an epic 100 day journey -- or triathlon, as Lara Briden - The Period Revolutionary calls it.
*When Progesterone reaches its peak, it is actually nearly 1500 times higher than estrogen, pushing WAAAY above the chart here*
First a large group of follicles begin to grow in the ovaries. That takes a couple of months.
Then, on day one of the cycle, a few of those follicles start to grow more quickly and race towards ovulation.
Finally, at mid-cycle, one follicle (or more rarely two) sprints ahead to ovulate and grow into an amazing 4 cm structure called the corpus luteum.
Diagram from Period Repair Manual (1st Edition)
It is the corpus luteum that makes progesterone and grants us easy periods. To form the corpus luteum and make progesterone, you need nutrients such as iodine, zinc, and selenium. And you need them for all the months leading up to a healthy period too!
A herbal ally who supports ovulation and progesterone:
Early Spring (March/April) is prime time for picking nettles in the Pacific Northwest, and nettles are excellent for supporting ovulation and progesterone as they are a good source of protein, iodine, zinc, selenium, and magnesium!
When you pick them, wear gloves and fold the leaves in half (touching only the top, pinching them) to avoid stinging yourself. You can usually find them easily during March and April but careful not to over-harvest: leave some to go to seed and replenish themselves for other nettle-lovers. 1/4 is an amount that some harvesters find ethical.
Skwxwu7mesh/Sto:Lo/ Hawaiian/Swiss ethnobotanist T'uy'tanat / Cease Wyss once told me "harvest enough for your family household, and leave the rest."
If you are in the unceded Coast Salish territories on March 31st, we will be gathering at Deer Lake Park to collect nettles, & have a light picnic together while talking about Eostre / Easter and reframing fertility (it's not just about babies; it's about overall health - so how could this impact us for our diverse goals and challenges with health?).
Kids are welcome! We will have chocolate eggs hidden nearby for kids to find & enjoy.
Meet us in the parking lot on Royal Oak Avenue at 1:00pm, and comment in our facebook community if you would like to carpool.
What to do with your nettles?
- 1/2 pound nettles
- 4 large garlic cloves, smashed (as many as you like… I like a lot of garlic and would use an entire head!)
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (or sunflower seeds - I found pine nuts too pricey)
- 1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Directions: Steam the nettles, so they lose their sting. Blend all ingredients, and use your pesto however you like! I like to freeze some in little ice cube tray packages to use throughout the year for seasoning meat/veggies. Simply add a cube whenever you’re cooking and it adds wonderful flavour!
TEA | INFUSION:
I have a special tea I drink whenever I am feeling down, having cramps, and every week before my period.
- dried motherwort
- dried mugwort
- dried raspberry leaves
- dried lavender
- dried nettles
- dried roses.
I find it delicious, although you can add stevia/xylitol, honey or licorice root to sweeten. And Susun Weed talks about the benefits of motherwort here. It's helpful for PMS, menopause (hot flashes!) among other things.