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Nettle and knife

Well, finally the rain stopped and I was able to get out into the hedgerows to collect some nettles. My gardening gloves had got soaked the day before, and I had put them on a sunny windowsill to dry before taking them nettle hunting. Naturally, I forgot them, and being impatient, I collected without the gloves. This made for a more respectful interaction between myself and said herbs. The birds cheered me along with their delightful song, and it was so good to be back amongst the wild things.

There will never be a time when we know all there is to know about anything in nature – so complex and subtle is she. In the past, I have used nettles to treat arthritis with the understanding that the nettles flush out the toxic crystals from the joint capsule. Now it has been discovered that nettle suppresses the activity of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases. These enzymes are found in the membrane surrounding the joint, and also the cartilage of the joint. By speeding up the breaking down of the cartilage and tendon matrix, these enzymes accelerate arthritis.

Treating arthritis requires a multi-pronged approach, like all disease conditions. In the case of osteo-arthritis, this being the one that we will all inevitably experience if we are lucky enough to live for many decades, we need to slow down the degradation of the cartilage and tendons, feed the cartilage to encourage its renewal, and use anti-inflammatory herbs and foods.

I wrote about an anti-inflammatory diet in my last newsletter, but in a nutshell – no wheat, no sugar, and plenty of colourful vegetables and fruits.

A food product that we really want to bring into our diet is gelatine. Try to find organic, grass-fed bovine gelatine powder. Gelatine is collagen and is tremendously supportive in the healing of an inflamed and leaky gut, supports the matrix of skin, hair and nails, and provides the collagen to maintain the cartilage in our joints. Unfortunately for vegetarians, agar-agar does not have collagen and cannot substitute gelatine.

At this time of the year, nettles are at their best. You can go out into the hedgerows (remembering your gloves), and collect plenty to dry, so that you can make a cartilage-supporting herbal brew all year round.

Tea for joints:

1 cup of boiling water.

Stir into this, a teaspoon of gelatine.

1 sprig of nettle

4 slices of fresh ginger

4 slices of fresh turmeric

A small grind of black pepper.

Although it sounds a bit fierce, this is a tasty tea. Drink it every day.