Hi, my loves and welcome to WiccaNow. Recently I’ve been sharing guides to all of my favourite magickal plants and herbs, like this post about the magickal properties of ginger. I’ve also shared a guide to using lemon balm in magick, another all about oak and acorns, a guide to oregano and most recently a post about the magickal properties of parsley. I want to continue down this path today by sharing my guide to the magickal properties of nettle with you.
Nettles have been used for healing and textiles for thousands of years. The fibres were prized for their strength and durability and they were used medicinally to treat everything from poor circulation to healing wounds. The magickal properties of nettles include protection, healing, strength and love among others.
Disclaimer: Any medicinal benefits given here are a product of my own research and as such should not be taken over the advice of trained medical professionals. If you are ill, please go and see a doctor. Always make sure that anything you consume is 100% safe. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor or midwife before consuming something you haven’t tried before.
History of Nettle
Nettle, the most common form of which is stinging nettle or Urtica dioica, is a flowering plant in the Urticaceae family. It’s native to Europe, Asia and western North Africa but is now found all over the world. There are 6 subspecies, 5 of which have hollow hairs under the stems and leaves which act like needles to inject histamines and other chemicals under the skin. This is what causes the stinging sensation if you touch them.
Nettles have been used for centuries as a medicinal plant and as a fibre from which to make clothing. Funeral shrouds made from nettle fibres that have been dated back to the Bronze age (3,000-2,000BC) have been found in Denmark. The greenish dye produced by nettles has been used for centuries to colour clothing.
In Ancient Egypt, nettle was used to treat arthritic pain. People would flog themselves with fresh nettles, a process which is called urtification, in order to treat rheumatism, lethargy and even cholera. This practice has been around for thousands of years. It’s thought that the histamine in nettles causes the body to release an anti-histamine response which causes it to reduce inflammation and swelling, both things that alleviate pain related to rheumatism and arthritis.
There are reports that Roman soldiers would carry nettles with them in order to treat leg pain due to the long journeys in the cold. They would rub their legs in nettles to increase circulation, which would both ease pain and warm the soldiers. There is some documentation that urtification also occurred in Ecuador Indians and Native American and Canadian tribes. They may have used it as a way to make themselves more alert during hunts.
The famous Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370BC) used nettles in over 60 different remedies. Galen (129-210AD) prescribed nettles for many ailments, from dog bites to swellings to spleen related illnesses and more. Through the Middle Ages (5th to 15th centuries) nettles were used to treat shingles, sinus ailments and constipation.
Nettles continued to be used for medicinal purposed until recent times. The famous herbalist Nicholas Culpeper used nettles and honey for mouth and throat infections and also as a treatment of skin infections and poisons. They were used by herbalist O. Phelps Brown in the 19th century to treat infant eczema, kidney stones and fevers among many other things. Nettles have also been used by women for centuries to slow bleeding during childbirth and to ease labour pains. Because of their ability to stop bleeding, they were also used in dried or powdered form to coat wounds to stop bleeding and to prevent infection.
Nettles were used throughout history as a treatment and prevention of scurvy and were, they still are in some places, eaten as a green vegetable.
Today, nettles are prized for their nutritional value and for their ability to stimulate blood flow and circulation. Nettles are full of iron, vitamin c and magnesium and are used for everything from relieving aches and pains to making pizzas to fertilizing gardens. What a powerhouse they are!
Fun Facts about Nettle
- Stinging nettle can also be called burn weed, burn hazel and burn nettle.
- There are stinging nettles in every state in the US except for Hawaii.
- Nettles may indicate that the soil where they are growing is fertile.
- There are a few different species of butterflies and moths which rely on nettles as food for their larvae.
- Dock leaves are a traditional antidote to stinging caused by nettles. Luckily, dock likes growing in similar habitats to nettles so it’s often easy to find dock if you’ve been stung by a nettle.
- Nettles are the basis of several figures of speech in multiple different languages. The German “sich in die Nesseln setzen” means to “sit oneself in the nettles” meaning to get yourself into trouble.
- There is a World Nettle Eating Championship which takes place in Dorset each year. Competitors have to eat the raw plant and whoever eats the most wins. This dates back to 1986 when 2 farmers used this competition to settle a dispute about who had the worst nettle infestation on their farm.
- You can make beer from young nettles.
- In Ecuador, an indigenous justice system used nettles as punishment for severe crimes. The perpetrator was flogged with nettles in public, while naked and being showered in ice-cold water.
- You can make a yellow dye from nettle roots and a yellow-green dye from the leaves.
- Nettles can be made into an amazing fertiliser. Place as many nettles as you can fit into a bucket. Top it up with water and let it ferment in the sun for a couple of weeks. Make sure to cover the bucket, trust me on this because the fermenting nettles smell awful. Use a little of the fertiliser in your garden when needed. Be a little careful with it and dilute it for sensitive plants because it can burn the plants if used excessively.
- The “Urtica” part of the nettles official name comes from a Latin word meaning “sting”.
- The female flowers of the nettle may be purple while the male flowers may be yellow.
- Due to their stinging, many nettles won’t be eaten by hungry herbivores. Because of this they are a great plant for insects to shelter in.
- There is a famous Tibetan saint who reportedly survived solely on nettles for his decades of solitary meditation. His hair and skin apparently turned green.
- During WW1, the German Empire ran out of cotton to make uniforms with. They used nettle as a substitute and captured German soldiers were found to be wearing uniforms which were 85% nettle fibre. That must have been one scratchy uniform…
- If you feed chickens nettles, their eggs will contain extra yellow.
- Nettles will coagulate milk, meaning that they are a great vegan alternative to animal rennet.
- Nettle oil was the predecessor of paraffin.
Medicinal Benefits of Nettle
Nettle is most commonly taken in tea or capsule form. It’s considered safe when taken orally and also when applied to the skin although care should be taken here as it can cause skin irritations. Obviously touching a nettle plant will result in skin irritating if handled incorrectly so be careful if you plan on harvesting your own nettles.
Pregnant woman shouldn’t take nettle as it can cause uterine contractions which may lead to miscarriage. It’s also best to avoid nettles if you are breastfeeding. Nettles also interact badly with a number of medications. If you take medication for a serious health condition, always make sure to discuss the use of any herbal treatments with your doctor.
- Eases joint pain
- Might cleanse kidneys, but be careful if you have kidney problems as nettles are a diuretic so using it medicinally may cause problems.
- Might purifies bladder
- High in protein
- May reduce inflammation
- May help to treat hayfever
- May lower blood pressure
- May help to control blood sugar levels
- May reduce pain associated with osteoporosis
- May improve oral health
- May help with anaemia
- Might help with water retention
- Might help with diarrhoea
- May help to increase circulation
- May help with baldness in men
- May help with infections
- May help with muscle pain
Magickal Properties of Nettle
Nettle is a strong magickal plant which is often used for protection. If you feel like you are being hexed, carry a sachet with dried nettle in it to remove and repel the hex. Harness the magickal properties of nettle by sprinkling dried nettle around your home. This will keep all malevolent influence and energies out of your home and send them back to where they came from while also filling your home with gentle loving vibrations.
Throw nettle into a fire in order to avert any imminent danger you might feel is threatening you. This will also keep any malevolent spirits away. Make an amulet with nettle and yarrow to keep fear at bay, this is great if you have a presentation or public speaking something up. This amulet will also keep negativity away from you.
Keeping freshly cut nettles in the home will keep sickness out and will bring healing energies to anyone who may be sick already. Obviously don’t forgo a trip to the doctor, magick and herbal treatments should always be used in conjunction with a medical professionals advice and absolutely shouldn’t replace it.
Nettle will help you release any lingering doubts and stresses while giving you nurturing energy if you are beginning a new project. It helps to give you courage and to show you your own worth. Drink nettle tea to use these magickal properties of nettles. This will also help you to open up limited ways of thinking if you feel stuck in a rut.
Nettle can be used to induce lust. If you need a strongly purifying bath, add nettle as it is one of the strongest magickal purifiers out there. Wrap a nettle leaf in green or yellow or purple cloth and place it in your wallet to attract abundance.
Other Magickal Properties of Nettle
- Inner strength
Magickal Association of Nettle
Deities – Thor, Loki, Cernunnos and Hades
Magickal Correspondences of Nettle
Zodiac – Aries, Scorpio and Libra
Planet – Mars
Element – Fire
Gender – Masculine
Crystals – Black obsidian, tourmaline and turquoise
So, my lovelies, I hope this guide has given you everything you were looking for about the magickal properties of nettle! May your days be free from negativity, your home filled will love and abundance and your nights healing and gentle.
Until next time,