Jul 6, 2023
Stinging nettles have many benefits despite the sting and irritation they give when you touch them. So much so that many risk exposure just to harvest and process them for personal use. But what if you don’t know how to prepare them or can’t see them in your neighborhood? That’s where freeze dried nettles come in.
For those unfamiliar with the plant, nettle (Urtica dioica) is a perennial herb native to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa, and North America. It’s an herb commonly found in forests, meadows, and even alongside riverbeds and roads. Sometimes, you’ll even see a shrub or two growing in your yard if you leave it unkempt for months. It grows very quickly and can be invasive as it spreads easily to other areas.
It’s a very versatile herb with use that dates back to the Bronze Age (3000 BCE-1200 BCE). There’s even a record of Julius Caesar’s troops using the herb to help keep them awake and alert at night. In 16th and 17th century Scotland, nettle is a common household textile. They’re even sturdy enough to use as a temporary shelter in case you’re stranded in the wilderness.
Usually, you wouldn’t notice nettles until you come in contact with the stinging hairs. You’ll find micro hairs pointing out from the stems, sometimes from the leaves. The sting serves to defend the plants against predators, including humans. They can be very itchy and uncomfortable for hours after contact if you’re highly sensitive.
These are stinging nettles preserved through the lyophilization or freeze-drying process. This is when the nettles are subjected to freezing temperatures in a vacuum environment.
What happens is water content in the leaves freeze into solid molecules of ice. The machine applies pressure during the process and then increases the temperature. During the process, water changes from ice to gas without passing through the liquid state. This stage in the process is called sublimation.
As a result, the machine removes as much as 97% of moisture from the nettles. What you get are leaves that are dry, and brittle yet still have 90% of nutrients in them.
Freeze dried nettles have a lot of benefits because of their high nutritional value. They are made up of 23%-25% protein and 3%-5% fat. This makes them the most protein-rich plant on the planet, more so than kale. Ancient Egyptians used them to help ease lower back pain. As for the Romans, some rub the leaves on themselves to help keep them warm. There are also other modern benefits of freeze dried nettles.
Freeze dried nettles are rich in several nutrients:
Freeze dried nettles contain several compounds that can help lower inflammation. Head’s up, though. Although there are participants in a study that said supplements that have nettles help lessen their inflammation, there’s still a need for a more conclusive study.
There’s a study that shows stinging nettle have several compounds that can help lower blood pressure. There’s also another clinical study that show lowered blood pressure levels in animals. Still, further research on the effect on humans is needed before any solid claims can be made.
Can’t find stinging nettles in your area? Or don’t feel comfortable handling the plant yourself? You can always buy freeze-dried stinging nettles. Its’ a struggle, though, to buy actual freeze-dried leaves. But the good news is, there are freeze dried nettles in capsule form. Which can be convenient for those who like the benefit of the herb but not the texture and taste.
These are made with nettle tops harvested in early spring. The company claims that they freeze dry the leaves immediately, including the stinging hairs. After processing, they then place the herb in non-GMO pullulan (plant-sourced) vegan capsules.
The product is verified non-GMO and manufactured in Redmond, Oregon, USA.
If you prefer to get your nettle in powdered form, then try LYO. A pouch contains 40g of 100% freeze-dried organic nettle powder. The company claims to use fresh nettle in their product.
What’s good about the site is that it offers a few recipes you can try with freeze dried powder. They’re mostly drinks and smoothies, so you can see how to use the powder for a good power drink.
Freeze dried nettles is the next best thing to getting your supply in times when you can’t get them. They can last longer compared to fresh ones, and they’re more versatile to use. And with their many health benefits, it’s no wonder why many want to have them in their pantry.
What made you interested in getting freeze dried nettles? Share your story in our comment section.
Also, we often go hiking, so we might come across nettles along the way. So subscribe to our YouTube Channel and watch out for our video on making your own freeze dried nettles.