When I first became pregnant, I was aware that there were certain herbs that I should avoid, but I was not yet educated as to which herbs would be safe, helpful, and supportive.
I was already in a practice of drinking daily infusions of various herbs to support and nourish my system, and I wanted to continue this practice during my pregnancy. The one sure thing that I knew would be safe, and could start drinking right away, was nettles. Not only are nettles completely safe, but I had no idea what a tremendous support they would be for my pregnant body. As a fresh food, or brewed as an infusion or tea, nettles are a great way to get your greens ~ and we all know that you can never have too many greens, right? The high mineral content found in nettles is especially beneficial during pregnancy, when the body requires higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, and other minerals. Once I did some further research, I found from a variety of reputable herbalists that nettles is considered an amazing pregnancy tonic in itself. My body gratefully absorbed everything they had to offer me. I am convinced that my daily nettles infusions are responsible for my consistently high iron levels and overall nourishment throughout my pregnancy. I didn’t suffer from hemorrhoids, constipation, or swelling, which are common complaints of pregnancy; and thanks to the higher levels of calcium and magnesium, I had very minimal muscle cramping. Not to mention that drinking tea all the time is extremely hydrating! My midwives always remarked that I was their most hydrated patient. Nettles are also a mild diuretic and work to tone the kidneys, which is a huge blessing when your kidneys are working overtime to filter one-and-a-half times of your normal blood supply!
Consuming nettles during pregnancy has post partum benefits as well. The plant is a great source of Vitamin K, and also increases the availability of hemoglobin, thus helping to decrease the chance of post partum hemorrhage. It also increases the supply of breast milk and imbues it with nutrients.
While nettles are available fresh, dried, or in forms such as tinctures and capsules, the optimal way to consume them is either as a food or juice from the fresh plant (though be sure to boil them to remove the sting, as it can stimulate the uterus) or a brewed tea or infusion from the dried plant. These methods of consumption maximize the nutritional content, which is a huge part of why we consume them during pregnancy.
As a tonic, nettles should be consumed regularly, as the true benefits kick in from consistent use over time.
Earthy and humble; green, stable, and supportive; nettles provide consistent nourishment, helping you to build a solid foundation of health for you and the developing life inside you.
Herbal Healing for Women, by Rosemary Gladstar