Allergy season is literally in full bloom! One of the best herbs for allergies is Nettle! I have a lovely little Nettle patch in the woodlands behind my house and another I planted myself in a side yard garden. Nettle Medicine is powerful! Be very careful when harvesting and working with fresh Nettles. Nettle stings! It feels just like a bee sting…… the stems of Nettle are covered with tiny little hairs, when you brush against the hairs you get stung, countless stings! The hairs pierce the skin and unload a variety of chemicals that cause a stinging sensation. The main chemicals that cause this sensation among others are, formic acid, histamine, acetylcholine, and seratonin. Some people get the same severe and life threatening reaction to stings from Nettle as some do to bee sting…. if you run into a Nettle patch and begin to experience hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness, swelling seek medical care immediately! This could lead to anaphylactic shock!The good news is once Nettle has been exposed to boiling water and steeped to make tea the stinging substances are neutralized! They are also neutralized when the herb is dried. Many cultures harvest Nettles in the spring and steam them much as we would spinach or other dark leafy greens! They are literally a spring tonic! Full of all sorts of vitamins and minerals! Eat your steamed Nettles! Steamed and served with garlic sautéed in olive oil and lemon they are a delicious healthy dish!I have found Nettles to be a wonderful antidote to seasonal allergies. I make Nettle tea, often with the addition of peppermint and a little honey, when anyone in our household has signs of seasonal allergies. Nettles are also anti-inflammatory and many report relief from arthritis pain when they drink Nettle tea or take Nettle tincture. At West Star we also make a wonderful tea blend of Nettles, Peppermint, and Elder Flower called Allergy Releaf Tea…. great for this time of year. So check out Nettle a wonderful, magical, powerful plant ally.