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How much nettle is too much nettle to eat?

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Posts: 13935
Location: Pacific Northwest
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We have a natural nettle patch on our property, and we all love the taste of nettle. Between just my three year old and me, we could easily eat a colander full of nettle every day. In fact, we've had it almost every other night for a week. It's free, full of vitamins, and it's so yummy! My son, especially, LOVES it, and could probably scarf down the whole colander by himself.

But, as I'm reading online, I'm finding that side-effects of nettle are stomach upset, diarrhea, and heartburn. And, while I haven't experienced any of those myself, my husband has Crohn's and is following the SCD diet, which says not even nettle tea can be consumed (for those same reasons). I also just read that it shouldn't be consumed at all while pregnant (which I did during both pregnancies). I had thought nettle was a pot-herb and could be used as a vegetable, but now I'm seeing it's perhaps more like a medicine?

What do you guys think? How much nettle is too much nettle to eat, especially for my three year old son, and myself as a nursing mother.


(Sources I've been reading about nettle: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/stinging-nettle and http://www.botanical-online.com/nettle_toxicity.htm )
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Location: Ellisforde, WA
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I would use "bowel tolerance" as your guide. I'm going to check with my herb group. Good question.
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Start slowly and let your body tell you.
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Any food should be eaten following the "All Things In Moderation" motto.
Nettles are a good food, but if you are eating them more than two times a week in quantity, you might be heading towards trouble.
Nettles are a Medicinal Herb, as such they have properties that when overdone can create issues with health.
It might be possible to eat nettle every day for a long period with out any symptoms manifesting, then one day, boom.
It is also possible that one would never see a manifestation of any of the symptomatic issues that could arise.

I like that you are doing the research, and yes they are a superior tasting food.

Crohn's is caused by either an imbalance of nutrients, internalization of stress over a long period of time or a combination of the two.

I have relatives that used to suffer with it but now that they have taken the time to learn the causes and make changes in their lives, they no longer suffer the symptoms.
For their cases, one of the key factors was diet, the other was beginning to follow a lower key lifestyle along with learning to not worry about every little thing.
For many people who suffer with Crohn's the stress factor is the toughie, hard to not stress about having Crohn's, add that to the normal everyday stress of living and the whole thing can snowball.

There is a lot written about nettle by many good authors who are herbalists.
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Location: Long Island, NY
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The main issue with nettle is never eat it or harvest as medicine when it is in flower--this state of the nettle plant can be extremely irritating to the urinary tract. If you keep nettle clipped close from the beginning of the season and harvest it for a few weeks before letting it grow to flower it is fine as a food addition and late winter/early spring tonic to the diet.

All plants contain phytotoxins to protect them from over grazing. Eating greens, any greens, in concentrated form (such as juicing) over a long period of time allows these phytochemical defenses to effect the body system and especially the glands. Folks who eat a ton of kale run into trouble with the thyroid and it seems that with nettle it can be with the kidneys.

Moderation is key--mixing the nettles with other plants, in the way a grazer would do in the wild, or mixing it up in the menu would be perfectly fine. In fact, that is what I do.

All the best!
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