Picking while hiking: nettles

Nettles don't just itch! Discover in this article the secrets of this plant that you can use in your kitchen or for your first aid kit.

With  Christophe de Hody, founder of Chemins de la Nature (Nature Paths) whose mission is to transmit the knowledge of wild plants and their uses to future pickers, discover the secrets of the nettle Before you start, read our few tips to be a perfect picker :)

1/ A little bit of latin!

The stinging nettle(Urtica dioica L.) belongs to the Urticaceae family.You can use everything in this beautiful plant: roots, stems, leaves and seeds.

The nettle is a stinging plant. Our tip for not getting stung while picking it? Just pick it from below. If you take it from above, on the contrary, you have every chance of stinging yourself. If you're picking a lot and risk being stung, then the best solution is to equip yourself with thick gloves. 

Nettle is a perennial herbaceous plant, that is to say, it lives for several years. Its stem is square and hairy.Its leaves are opposed, in the shape of a heart and serrated. The roots are of two types:rhizomes (horizontal) and pivotantes (vertical).


2/ In my kitchen

Nettles invite themselves into your kitchen! 

To treat yourself, we advice you to harvest the young shoots in spring and autumn or the last 6 leaves, , which are the most tender.

Nettles can be prepared in many ways, raw or cooked. It is used in the composition of many recipes such as pesto, quiches, salads, soups, juices etc... It is one of the most consumed wild plants, which is a very good thing since it is very nutritious.

Nettle spread


40 g washed raw nettle shoots

60 g roasted seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pine nuts...)

a clove of garlic

30 g of soy sauce

1 plain yoghurt

a pinch of sugar

lemon juice


Wearing gloves, pick your nettle shoots.Give preference to the tops (the last 6 leaves) or young spring or autumn shoots. Wash well.

Chop your nettles very finely and mix them in a mortar with the rest of the ingredients. Crush all together.

Adjust depending on your preference and spread on to bread.

3/ In my pharmacy

We cannot write here all the qualities of the nettle, there would not be enough space! Its proprieties are rich and multiple.

Nettle leaves are used as anti-inflammatories and diuretics, especially for cartilage problems such as rheumatism, gout or osteoarthritis. Nettles are also known for their effect against ailments such as hair loss, acne, eczema, diarrhea or bleeding.~ 


Nettle leaves infusion


Weigh 1.5 g of dried nettle leaves and cut finely.Put them in the bottom of a saucepan, cover with 150ml of water and let the temperature rise slowly until it reaches 85°C-90°C.   Take care not to boil the water: to do this, use a probe thermometer or stop cooking when very small bubbles form. Turn off the heat and infuse the leaves for 10-20 minutes to extract as many minerals as possible.


In case of allergic rhinitis or painful joint disorders, you can drink a cup of this infusion several times a day - within the limit of 8 to 12 g of plant per day.


The consumption of nettles are contraindicated:

- in case of hypersensitivity to nettles ,

- in case of edema following heart or kidney failure.

Nettles should be used with caution when taking blood thinners because of their richness in vitamin K.


Thanks to christophe de hody 

who helped us write this article

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Want to know more about picking plants while hiking? Follow the advice of Christophe, a naturopath, herbalist and botanist for 9 years and founder of Le Chemin de la Nature (Nature Trail) website.