Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Nettles by Unity

Nettles by Unity
Urtica dioica

Other Names :
Devil's apron, Naughty men's plaything ( seriously !), Scaddie, Tanging Nettle, Hoky-Poky, Jenny-nettle, Sting-leaf,Devil's leaf, Heg-beg.

Spirit animal: Serpent
Planetry ruler: Mars
Element: Fire
Gender: Male

Associated Deities:
Agni, Blodeuwedd, Cernnunos, Hades, Horus, Jupiter, Osiris, Elves, Pluto, The Lightening Serpent Lord, Thor, Vishnu, Vulcan, Yama.

Magical properties:
Healing, protection, lust, money, exorcism

Natural History :

I think we can probably all recognise stinging nettles, and most of us have probably also felt their sting at least once in our lives. ( and used a nearby dock leaf to ease the pain) . Nettles are perennial plant's that grow up to about 4 foot, and they are found in most parts of the world, growing in any soil. They have tough creeping roots that multiply rapidly, so if you do want to grow some in your garden, it is best done in a large pot.

Nettles can also be used to make rope, material, nets, paper, a dye, insect repellant and green manure. During the 1st World War nettle fibre was used to make the German army uniforms due to cotton shortages.

Medicinal uses:

There is so much more to this humble and much maligned plant than just it's sting. It is one of the most useful plants and full of vitimins and minerals. Medicinally, the leaves, seeds and roots are used to treat a wide range of conditions including : anaemia, arthritis, asthma, eczema, infections, inflammations, rheumatism and urinary problems.

Nettles high vitimin C content made it a valuable Spring tonic for our ancestors after a winter of grain and salted meat with very little fresh vegetables.

Nettles have an antihistamine effect which make them useful for treating hay-fever and other allergies. Drink nettle tea at the start of a feverish illness, it can be combined with elderflower, lime blossom, yarrow or mint.

Nettles are high in Iron and will help in the treatment of anaemia. They also help to stimulate the milk flow of nursing mothers. Drinking nettle tea daily will help boost your circulation and promote healthy hair growth.

A decoction made from nettle roots can be used as a general hair tonic.


The generic name for nettles probably comes from the Latin 'Uro' meaning 'I burn' The common name is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon 'noedl' meaning 'a needle' which could either refer to it's sting or the fact that sewing thread was made from it.

Nettles are said to grow mostly at the entrance of Elves homes, and nettles are sacred to Elves. They are also sacred to thunder Gods like Thor and were thrown onto fires during storms as an offering to invoke protection.

Our ancestors believed that nettles had such a healing power that a fever could be cured by plucking a nettle up by the roots and reciting the patients name and the names of his parents.

The nettles Spirit animal is a serpent, one of the most powerful allies a magician can have. Cernnunos is often depicted holding a ram headed serpent, showing he is a god of fertility and the Underworld.

Snakes are seen as sacred and the symbol of life, death and rebirth by many cultures as it sheds its skin and emerges transformed and renewed.

Magical Uses:

Place a bunch of freshly cut nettles under a sick person's bed to aid a fast recovery.

Carry nettles with you for protection against ghosts, evil spirits, negative energies and lightening, to remove curses and to draw money and healing to you.

Dried nettles can be hung up in bunches around your home or added to spell bags, poppets and bottle spells and an infusion can be added to floor wash or baths.

They can also be added to a loose incense mix when journeying to the Underworld for protection.

Sprinkle dried nettle around your property to keep out negative energies.

An infusion or oil of nettles can be used to consecrate your athame and imbue it with the power of the three realms.


Packed with vitamins and minerals, nettles make a healthy addition to soups and stews and can be used fresh or dried.

Nettle infusion:

4 tsp nettle tops
1 pint boiling water
Pour the water over the nettle and infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and drink. ( can be sweetened with honey if desired)

Nettle Oil

Fill a glass jar up with nettles ( fresh or dried) and cover with oil ( sunflower, vegetable, olive, almond etc) Leave on a sunny windowsill for 2 weeks, shaking every day. Strain and keep in a dark glass bottle.

Nettle Pesto

Put a saucepan of water on to boil and when boiling add a bunch of fresh nettles ( with tongs) , simmer for 1 minute ( this removes the sting) Strain well and get as much water out as possible. Add nettles to a blender or food processor. Add garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, sea salt, lemon jice and cheese if your using it. Pulse until smooth and creamy and add salt to taste.


Sources :
Herbcraft - Anna Franklin and Susan Weed
A Kitchen Witches world of magical plants - Rachel Patterson
Hedgerow medicine - Julie Bruton- Seal and Matthew Seal
A compendium of Herbal Magick - Paul Beyerl

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