Stinging nettle is good for hair and I was surprised to find out that it was the same weed that is found in the countryside that will itch you if it catches your skin. Indeed, most of us think of the stinging nettle as a pest. However, this particular weed is reportedly high in calcium, iron, magnesium, chromium, potassium, and zinc, as well as vitamins A, B, C, D and K.
In peak season, stinging nettle can contain up to 25% protein dry weight. This is very high for a green leafy vegetable. According to person’s who eat the weed, it has a flavor that is similar to spinach or callaloo.
Here are some of the uses for stinging nettle that you probably never heard of:
- It is used as a drink (alcoholic nettle beer is enjoyed by several persons)
- It is used in textiles (commercial nettle textiles)
- It is used in gardening because of its high level of nitrogen.
- It is prevalent in several commercially prepared hair products.
Stinging Nettle For Hair
Stinging nettle conditions hair, improves color and texture, helps with dandruff and irritated dry scalp and contains nutrients for hair growth. It is also used as a hair softener. Here is a recipe utilizing the herb as a hair conditioner or rinse: Stinging Nettle (Cowitch) and Jojoba Conditioner Rinse For Transitioning Hair.
Nettle Tea Hair Rinse
Put 1 cup chopped fresh or dried nettle leaves in a quart of boiling water, let it simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off fire, cover pot and let it sit for an hour or until cool. Strain and use as a rinse. If handling fresh nettle use a glove. The hot water will take away the stinging effects of the plant. Strain, then put into a bottle to use as a hair rinse. It stays fresh about 2-3 days.
Comfrey is another herb that does wonders for the hair, you can add comfrey root (1 cup) to the stinging nettle and let it steep for an hour or more. Comfrey will make the hair silky and make it soft to the touch.
To use the hair rinse, shampoo and condition hair as usual, then pour the nettle water over your hair you do not need to rinse it out, massage the nettle water into your scalp slowly, you can catch the excess tea rinse and then reuse.
Nettle Hair Vinegar
Nettle vinegar can be made by soaking fresh herbs in apple cider vinegar. The vinegar leaches the calcium and other minerals out of the nettles, strain and then use 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 cup water as a final rinse. You can add more water to the vinegar rinse to rinse out the hair especially if the vinegar scent is too strong. Purple nettles will tint the vinegar and you will get a pinkish purplish hue.
There is more to stinging nettle than just being a pesky bush; obviously it is very useful. Take every precaution to handle stinging nettle with care because it does sting when touched.
- Gregory L. Tilford, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, Mountain Press Publishing, 1997.