Nettles, Nettles, Everywhere...
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) grow like weeds in the woods where I live in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State, USA). Spring is the time to collect the top 6-8 inches of stinging nettles before they flower. You can dry them for later use, or make fresh oil or vinegar infusions, tinctures, hair tonics, herbal drinks, etc. Nettles have been used for centuries in medicines, cosmetics, dyes, teas, and also as an edible, calcium-rich green, like spinach.
Comfrey aka "Knitbone:" Nature's Bandaid
I first became aware of comfrey when a housemate in Santa Cruz, Ca. pointed to a plant with huge leaves in the yard and said that American Indians used the leaves as pouches to carry things in. I wondered how that worked, so I picked one of the big leaves and put some rosemary leaves in it, and rolled it up. The tissues of the leaf actually held it in place, like a weak Velcro, and as it dried, it dried in the shape of the pouch, similar to a fried eggroll, but more fragile. After that experience, I have since used comfrey in lotions and oils, skin poultices and compresses, hair tonics, as pouches, and more. Comfrey (symphytum officinale) has been cultivated since approximately 400 BC, is used medicinally and cosmetically, as well as in glue, leather tanning, soap making, fabric dying, fertilizer, etc. It is native to Europe and Asia, and grows in temperate climates. It is used in England, America, Germany, the USSR, Kenya, China, Angora, Haiti, Spain, Turkey…
Kirsten Anderberg. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint/publish, please contact Kirsten at firstname.lastname@example.org.