Nettles for Vitality

The leaves and stems of stinging nettles are rich in iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, iodine, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and the B-complex vitamins, and have long been used in northern climes to improve vitality. The Gaelic saint Columba favored nettle broth during his sojourn on Iona. Four centuries later and half a world away, the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa acquired a greenish complexion from years of subsisting entirely on nettle soup while meditating in a cave.

Nettles pop up in the same places year after year and are harvested in early spring (wear gloves!), well before they flower. Use them instead of (or in addition to) spinach, kale, mustard greens, or chard in any of your favorite recipes. Or steam and serve them as a side dish with a little butter and Parmesan cheese. Nettles lose their sting when cooked but their color deepens to an astonishing shade of green thatís particularly welcome after a long winter.

Deborah Willoughby is the founding editor of Yoga+.

By Deborah Willoughby, Yoga+


W. C
W. C3 months ago

Thank you.

William C
William C3 months ago


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Megan, for Sharing this!

Leah Crowell
Leah Crowell6 years ago

I am wondering what time of year can they be harvested? Are they still edible after they flower?

Danielle I.
Danielle I6 years ago

I haven't seen a nettle plant in so many years I can't remember

Howard C.
.6 years ago

I live in Eastern England - nettles grow big and mean here - they can easily sting through clothes and toward the end of their season they can reach to nearly head height. Eating them is a far better idea than simply hating them - I'll try this next year - nettle season starts around April normally but this winter has been so much warmer that last year (10c compared to -10c last January) who knows!!

Joe R.
Joe R6 years ago

I like to serve them freshly picked in a salad for my in-laws.

Melinda K.
Past Member 6 years ago


Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Thanks Megan.

Helga S.
Helga S7 years ago

Going out to pick some nettles today!