The magic of nettle.
I’m excited. I’m truly happy in this moment. It’s the small things that give joy these days and this is such good news.
I will tell more about why in a moment. First to set the backdrop of this story. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had to stop all herbs because of the hormone drivers that a lot of them have in their plant signatures. The effect on the body for someone tussling with oestrogen and progesterone positive cancer seemed too dangerous. I had herbalist friends trying to support me, but I just couldn’t engage my mind on anything but immediate survival. My main focus had to be nutrition and other healing modalities. And so herbs were put on the back burner.
This broke my heart because I have been hedge witching with various herbal preparations for years. My kitchens have always been a veritable apothecary, with bottles and tinctures and herbs hanging to dry. It felt like I lost good friends overnight. And up until now I have had no bandwidth to reconnect and do the necessary research to check what plant allies are favourable for me.
Now, standing on the mountain of menopause. Honestly how did I get here so quickly after the cancer seas? I mean, really? Anyway, the clock is ticking. I’m on an uphill jaunt knowing that the menopause is playing havoc with a system already sensitised with hormones, and above me looms the shadow of cancer metastasis. I must find the time to learn as much as I can about hormonal balancing and I must do it now.
Well today my dear friend shared an article about nettle root that had me leaping around with glee.
It seems the humble nettle root is an utter winner and not just for the likes of me, but a winner for many women and men out there. Let me pass on the knowledge I learnt today and perhaps nettle root will find its way into your kitchen too.
There is such a lot of information about this incredible plant, but for the purposes of this blog I will keep it simple and focused. Sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG is a protein made by the liver which binds to and carries three crucial hormones in men and women; estrogen, testosterone and dihydrotestostersterone. And nettle root regulates the levels of this protein in the body.
There is a process call aromatase activity which is essentially a conversion process in the body. In this instance I’m focusing on the conversion of the estrogen metabolite estradiol. This metabolite can be very damaging to the system, directly affecting male reproductive function, sex drive and erectile dysfunction. And in women high aromatase activity is linked to issues ranging from poly-cystic ovaries to oestrogen driven breast cancer. As I understand the beta-sitosterol that is present in nettle root inhibits the aromatase activity.
So on the one hand it regulates the hormonal SHBG by raising it or lowering it. And on the other hand it inhibits the potentially dangerous metabolite estradiol from causing major health issues. It is the richest source of plant protein, vitamin K, amino acids and essential vitamins and a superb tonic for dry and lifeless hair.
Allergic reactions are rare, though some may experience mild nausea, constipation or diarrhoea which resolves fairly quickly. Always start with low doses, whether you use the tincture, infusion or dried powder and always source organic or better still learn how to process it yourself. To learn more I suggest you speak to your lovely herbalist friends, because all parts of the plant can be used for a myriad of health issues and they will be able to guide you through.
Here stands the fantastic and yet humble nettle root. I will of course let you know how things go. I am taking you with me on this journey after all. And the small wins along the way I promise to share.
As for me I am just loving having an old friend back in the building.
Today is a good day.