You must have heard this old adage ‘All that glitter is not gold’.
Likewise, all that pricks and stings is not valueless. Sometimes we need to look beyond shape, size, colour and… pricks to appreciate the true value that is hiding beneath.
Okay enough of the riddles, I am talking about the stinging nettle. Yes, this plant stings but it has a ton of benefits.
With extremely high levels of vitamins and minerals, nettle can be used as a health tonic to boost and enhance health and of course to stimulate thick and healthy hair.
But How and Why?
Well, because of 3 big reasons….this herb:
- enhances blood circulation, so your hair roots get more supply of nutrients and oxygen.
- has super antioxidants that help to get rid of hair damaging compounds.
- can inhibit the formation of DHT – the hormone that causes male and female baldness.
But before we see how to beautify our hair with nettle, let’s take a look at the amazing nettle plant.
So What Is Stinging Nettle?
Nettle is of one of those plants that grow anywhere, you care for it or not, it doesn’t care but grows and grows and spreads its progeny far and wide. And for this very reason, it’s not liked by many, plus it has tiny spiky hair, and if you happen to touch them, they prick your skin and inject a dose of chemicals like histamine and formic acid. It feels like you have been bitten by several ants together.
That doesn’t sound pretty. But what is pretty is its high nutrition value and its tons of benefits. Nettle is loaded with protein, fibre, fat, vitamin A, B, C and K and minerals such as calcium, silica, magnesium and iron. The deep green leaves also contain chlorophyll, carotenoids, anthocyanins and other phytonutrients.
With taste like spinach, nettle has been used as nourishing food for centuries, especially in early spring when the food is scarce (as well as dried for winter use). It is said the Buddhist Monk Milarepa survived solely on nettle leaves for many years – and he apparently even turned green in colour.
You must be wondering how one can eat ‘stinging nettles’. The thing is after it’s dried or cooked, nettle means no harm and can only offer its benefits. Along with satisfying hunger, nettle has been traditionally used to treat painful muscles and joints, skin conditions like eczema, hay fever and boost your immunity.
You see, how amazing nettle is as food, medicine, and now it’s time for hair.
How Nettle Helps Stimulate New Hair Growth
It’s not a recent discovery. Nettle has been used for thousands of years to grow shiny, beautiful hair. It’s not that popular now, but maybe if you ask your ma, grandma, aunties they can tell you about nettle hair rinse (or maybe they still use it).
Nettle is a ‘safe and natural way’ to stop hair loss and make hair healthy and glossy. It’s abundant in antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamin C which act like a shield and protect hair from damaging free radicals. (Free radicals are harmful atoms that are produced in our body, and their number can rise exponentially because of an unhealthy diet, environmental toxins and the most dreaded ageing.)
Another superb thing about nettle is that it has the ability to dilate and strengthens the blood vessels – which mean the hair follicles will receive more nutrients and oxygen. As a result, your hair will grow stronger and healthier.
Although this is not studied directly on hair, nettle can help reduce DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). And DHT is also a big culprit in causing male and female pattern baldness. So it’s plausible, nettle can be your natural savior to stop hair loss.
And there’s some more how nettle can serve your hair:
- because of its astringent nature, it can get rid of oily scalp, dandruff, and reduce irritation and itchiness.
- It’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties keep the scalp in good health
- The pantothenic acid and silica strengthen the hair
- And lastly, nutrient rich nettle with fatty acids and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc nourishes the hair follicles to promote new hair growth.
You see nettle is quite incredible. And the best thing is you can find nettle growing wildly in your backyard or forest ways. If not, you can easily buy nettle in health food stores or online.
But before that, Let’s find out How to Use Nettle for Hair
There are Several Ways You Can Use Nettle for Hair.
1. Apply Nettle Hair Rinse
This is my favourite one. And it’s also a simple and superb way to use nettle for your hair.
You will need:
If you wish to use just nettle, it’s perfectly fine. But I like to use chamomile flower, even though my hair is dark. I am not trying to confuse you here. I call it herb play, so you play different combination to find out what works for you. Simple!
Now let’s make it. Start by boiling water. Place the nettle (and your choice of herb) in a mug or jar, add the hot water over the herb, and let it infuse until cool. That’s it. Strain and use.
You can use this stimulating rinse after shampooing or in place of shampooing.
Slowly pour the rinse on your hair, and work it into your roots all the way down to your hair tips. You don’t have to, but you can visualise your hair grow and get thicker and do it with a smile (and not a frown).
Next, rinse out with water, and let hair dry naturally. You can apply nettle hair rinse twice a week.
Just after few uses, your hair will be shinier and healthier.
2. Another way to use nettle to activate your hair is by drinking its tea
Take 3-4 freshly chopped leaves or 1 teaspoon dried nettle and brew the tea like you would brew any herbal tea. Pour hot water and let it work its magic, then strain and drink. The tea is not the most delicious tasting tea, but it’s not bad either. It has an earthy, grassy taste, with a tinge of floral to it.
I buy the loose nettle leaves online, but you can get it at your local natural market.
If making tea or using hair rinse feels like a lot of hassle, then there is another great way to incorporate nettle.
3. Take it as a supplement
4. You can also sprinkle some dry nettles over salads, soups or stews
Nettle leaves and stem can be used pretty much like spinach. And don’t eat the leaves raw because they will still have the stinging hairs until they are dried or cooked.
There’s an interesting video of a lady in rural India cooking nettle soup. Follow the link to watch on youtube. I don’t know if I will ever make it, but it was a delight to watch her, felt almost meditative.
Harvesting and Buying Nettle
If you are brave enough and want to pluck your own nettle, make sure you wear gloves as well as full sleeves shirt to avoid getting pricked. Use scissors to cut the top section of the plant. (It’s best to harvest young plants as they become more bitter after they get mature and start flowering).
If you don’t have fresh nettle growing around in your area, you can get it from your local health store or buy dried nettle leaves online.
Taking Nettle has Certain Side-Effects, You Must be Aware of
Stinging nettle is a very safe herb generally, but there are certain risks you should be aware of:
- If you have never used nettle hair rinse, it’s best to do a patch test to make sure you are not allergic or sensitive to the herb.
- Also, when you first start taking nettle orally, it may cause upset stomach in some people. So it’s best to start with very small amounts.
- Avoid taking nettle internally when you are pregnant. It is thought that this herb may stimulate uterine contractions.
- Nettle also interferes with some medications. So consult your healthcare provider before taking in nettle. Use with caution if you take: diabetes drugs, a blood thinner, high blood pressure medication, diuretics, anti-inflammatory and NSAIDs.
That’s it for Nettle for now, before we end, let’s recap:
- This amazing herb contains a ton of with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
- It stimulates new hair growth by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles
- Nettle can block DHT
- You can use nettle both topically and orally. I would encourage you to start using nettle hair rinse, which is the easiest way to avail its multiple hair benefits.
I don’t know about you, but I am pretty fascinated by what this herb can do. Once you overlook the stings, you can reap tons of hair and health benefits from this amazing herb.
Have you used nettle for your hair? What benefits do you see?
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