The Common Nettle
Well its March and things are
growing greener at last! Including the nettles (Urtica Dioica). Generally regarded as a
pest, the nettle grows profusely in this country, and is not fussy about its habitat. The
"Warrior" plant is of course a perennial with separate male and female plants.
In olden times, it was customary to gather the fresh young plants, for the
"spring-time" or indeed "spring-clean"! Cook the leaves as you would
spinach and eat as a vegetable. This is said to cleanse the system, aiding digestion and
sweetening the breath, while providing much needed, minerals and vitamins, including iron,
calcium and folic acid. Nettle soup is delicious and the recipe is included at the end of
Nettle leaves can be dried and wrapped
around apples, pears, root vegetables and soft cheese to preserve them. Placed under doors
mats and rugs to deter pests in the summer. Nettles were also strewn amongst animal
bedding to prevent infestation. As the leaves and stems are astringent. nettles are good
if fused as a tea, strained and sipped, or used to help close pores. For oily skins as a
toner, or as the final hair rinse to add gloss. Added to the bath, this concoction is deep
cleansing and refreshing. Leaves added to salads add a zest and tangy taste. Excellent
homemade wine and beer can be made from this plant and indeed this was a staple diet of
the country homes in times past. The fibrous stem of the plant produces a greenish-yellow
dye used in the woolen industry, and was also used in rope, cloth and paper making. An
excellent homeopathic remedy is available, Urticqalin from Bioforce, from your local
chemist or health shop. Always use these remedies as directed, as they are very
concentrated, and always wash nettles thoroughly before use.
Nettle soup ingredients
2oz butter 2oz oatmeal 1and a half pt
stock or water
Half a pint of milk 1lb of shredded nettle
Melt butter, add oatmeal and gently fry
Stir in stock or water and the milk; add
the shredded nettle leaves and chopped onion, mace etc. Stir and bring to the boil, lower
heat and simmer for a quarter to a half an hour. Liquidise and sprinkle with parsley
Keeping It Clean!
On the 4th March last, all the
communities in the Tir Na Mona area took part in their annual clean-up. This involved a
lot of time and effort on the part of those doing the clean-up as well as the assistance
of Kildare County Council in providing skips, gloves, rubbish sacks and manpower in the
guise of Philip Baxter, the Litter Warden operating in this area, and Daragh Wyer, both of
whom work in the Environment Department of Kildare County Council. We would like to say a
big THANK YOU to the approximately 120 people, (men, women and children from the
areas of Timahoe, Coill Dubh, Staplestown and Donadea), who turned out on the bright
Spring morning and toiled along the roadsides, in the ditches and hedgerows, gathering an
amazing 30 tonnes of rubbish and filling the skips to the brim. There was a
noticeable improvement in the appearances of the grass verges by Saturday evening. We
are depending on everyone in the community to keep them that way.
All this time and effort is wasted if
those doing the littering dont change their habits and that means all of US.
Litter is the responsibility of all of us and that is why we have been doing the
clean-ups, but how much better it would be if the litter wasnt there in the first
place? Each of us can do our bit by:
not dropping litter, teaching our
children not to drop litter and encouraging them to bring their litter home for proper
using boxes or reusable bags for our
shopping rather than plastic bags supplied in the shops.
not leaving rubbish bags unsecured,
especially in windy conditions.
not leaving rubbish bags out overnight
when animals scavenge.
collecting and disposing of plastic bags
that are used in the fields and around farms.
helping with the area clean-ups.
Once the road verges have been tidied up
we can enjoy the beauty of the countryside in Spring. At this time of the year the
hedgerows are blossoming with primroses, snowdrops, wood anemones, foxgloves, herb robert,
dog violets, ladys smock, buttercups and hawthorn; later on the larger plants such
as elder, crab apple, dog roses and many others will flower. These plants are a pleasure
for us all but please dont pick them. Flowers in the wild can be enjoyed by all, if
you pick them and bring them home you will have the pleasure of them for a short time but
you are depriving others of their enjoyment.