Nettles for Iron, Energy & Liver Support

Nettles for Iron, Energy & Liver Support

Nettles for Iron, Energy & Liver Support

Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

The singing nettles that grow wild in our gardens and countryside are often viewed as a weed and all-around menace, but they are a haven for wildlife, a delicious leafy green (nettle pesto) and potent herbal remedy.

Benefits of Nettles:

  • Nettles are reported to have the greatest levels of chlorophyll of any herb, making them a more affordable superfood than blue-green algae. This chlorophyll content helps support the immune system and aid liver detoxification, key in both chronic fatigue and endometriosis.
  • They are also deeply nourishing, containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals, most notably iron – another key element in both fatigue and the monthly cycle.
  • If your immune system is impaired, UTI’s can be a common occurrence – as a diuretic, nettles help stimulate elimination and flush out harmful bacteria.
  • A wonderful uterine tonic if consumed regularly. 
  • 2.7g protein per 100g, cooked.
  • Due to their strengthening properties, nettles are often used to build up energy and stamina.

Sourcing nettles:

Dried nettles can be purchased online or fresh nettles can be picked yourself if you fancy a foraging adventure:

  • Choose your nettles wisely. Do not pick nettles that grow by the side of a road, are in an area where pesticides are sprayed or that are low-down on a well worn dog-walking route!
  • Take a pair of scissors to snip the heads off and a bucket to catch them in – there’s no need to touch the nettles with your hands, but you can take a pair of gardening gloves if you find it easier.
  • Use a colander to give the nettles a good shake. 
  • Soak them in a salt solution to remove any debris. 

Consuming nettles: 

Nettles must be cooked to mitigate the sting!

For eating, simply saute or steam and treat them like spinach.

For drinking, steep fresh nettles in hot water – 15 minutes if you can’t wait, longer if you can (overnight or for at least four hours according to Wise Woman Herbal Ezine). The hot water helps extract the properties, though you wouldn’t want to have them on the boil as this can destroy nutrients.

Enjoy 🙂

 

~ Further reading ~

Words Your GP Didn’t Let You Finish #endometriosisawareness

Words Your GP Didn’t Let You Finish #endometriosisawareness

Words Your GP Didn't Let You Finish

#endometriosisawareness

Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

If you have endometriosis or dysmenorrhea (painful periods), you’re probably a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to pain.

The word “pain” is a Pandora’s Box. Those four letters encapsulate so very much.

Inuit’s captured our imagination with their reported “Hundred Words for Snow”, but we too have different words for it – ask any skier or mountaineer. 

Yet pain is just, well, pain.

This is one of the pivotal problems we encounter when visiting the GP – it’s hard to get across your degree of pain. Their Scale of 1-10 is entirely subjective and you end up being demoted from “9 – my limbs are accounted for” to “a bit of a tummy ache”.

…This is not exclusive to male GP’s (though that line was a corker after I had been curled up in fetal position on the bathroom floor, shaking, vomiting, wet through from sweat and close to passing out). Sadly, I’ve known some uterus-bearing GP’s to be more dismissive, those who “have period pain too and just get on with it”. 

GP’s are under pressure, I appreciate that, but with that salary, I don’t feel too bad for them.

Painkillers can be used as a stop-gap, as it is hard-impossible to function when you’re in pain, but I don’t believe in using them long term without first exhausting all other options.

Further reading: NSAIDS – The Painful Truth Behind Painkillers

The long and short of it?

Pain(ful periods) need to be investigated.

Recent research shows that there is now an average of 7.5 years between women first seeing a doctor about their symptoms and receiving a firm diagnosis.

endometriosis-uk.org

My diagnosis took over a decade.

…Yet, my symptoms of an acute attack were extreme.

  • Vomiting
  • Feverish (hot and drenched in sweat)
  • Prolonged period (mind the pun) of faintness.
  • Becoming unconscious on a number of occasions (and, again, prolonged unconsciousness, not just momentary).
  • Barely able to move.

…And then there was the pain.

  • The deep-seated pain that felt as if it were radiating out of my very my bones, like a constant low-level hum.
  • The sharp stabbing pain that felt like a frenzied attack.
  • The heavy pain that pulled me down to the ground, literally.
  • The toxic pain that felt as if my body was waging war on itself.
  • …And then there was the cramping pain that felt like my insides were twisting into knots. 

I could usually pre-empt an acute attack by the ominous, uneasy feeling that would build, call me Nostradamus, and would have to get myself to a bathroom ASAP to lay on the floor until it passed. The worst of which would burn through in 45 mins – 1.5hrs. 

But during those 2700 – 5400 seconds… All layered up, this became a monstrous pain that felt as if I wouldn’t survive it.

Afterwards, I would feel completely numb as if my body was in shock. It probably was.

This sounds all very melodramatic to anyone that has never experienced their uterus-gone-wild, but this is coming from someone who is pretty darn stoical and thinker-oriented (as opposed to Feely-McFeelerson). 

One time I went to deliver the village postscript to a certain house and their dog ran out and attacked my leg, and I was like, I’ll just leave this in the porch, shall I?

…Then hobbled into the porch with the dog still attached to my leg.

I’m not someone who likes to make a fuss. But I will here because I know I’m not the only one with this experience. 

So for anyone who has ever visited a GP and been patronised over their “bit of tummy ache” or cut off mid-sentence and told to “just take ibuprofen”, I’d like to offer you the space to say what your GP didn’t let you finish. 

…Because if you went to your GP with those symptoms, and left out the part about being on your period, you’d be sent straight to a hospital for tests. 

I was able to eliminate nearly all of my pain through a natural approach – but only after I dealt with it as “endometriosis” rather than “just period pain”.

This pain is not normal and raising awareness will help others to get a quicker diagnosis. So share this post with anyone you know who is quietly suffering and share your experience below in comments section if you’d like.

 

~ Further reading ~

Heavy Flow No Mo’ ~ Drink This For a Lighter, Shorter Period!

Heavy Flow No Mo’ ~ Drink This For a Lighter, Shorter Period!

Heavy Flow No Mo'~ Drink This for a Lighter, Shorter Period!

Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

eavy flow getting you down? 

Whether you have endometriosis or just unruly periods, this wonderful natural remedy can help harmonise your cycle.

Not only are your periods painful, to say the very least, they’re heavy and oh so long.

Month in, month out…

No wonder you feel drained; mentally, physically and emotionally. Not only do you have to prepare for them each month, like an endurance event, you then have to recover from them.

…And by the time you’re regaining your strength, oh here we go again.

I had a window of about a week where I felt strong. As a climber, I could really notice the difference throughout the month.

Climbing during (if possible) or straight after my period… I was like a wet noodle, but even a wet noodle could stick it better than I could.

That window prior to my period though… I was on it, pulling up on those crimps like they were jugs.

I reached the point where I could not let this monthly toll dictate my life anymore.

So, as ever, I turned to research and experiments…

My Favourite Herbal Remedy for a Shorter, Lighter (and less painful) Period

What I discovered was one particular herbal remedy that had a rather astounding effect.

…and that herbal remedy was raspberry leaf tea.

Raspberry leaf tea has long been used as a ‘women’s herb’ thanks to its ability to tone the uterine and pelvic muscles.

A toned uterus is more effective in contracting during labour, leading to a faster and easier birth. 

Think of it this way – any toned muscle performs better than an untoned muscle.

Not only that, raspberry leaves also work as a relaxant. 

You see where I’m going with this…

As endometriosis pain is often compared to that of labour contractions, raspberry leaf tea harmonises the muscular action of the uterus while also relaxing it, leading to fewer spasms in the first place. This is how it can ease the pain. 

In short, a relaxed uterus is a happy uterus!

While there are different types of pain that forge what we all know and love as endometriosis, toning the uterus may at least relieve this type of pain.

Alternatively, if endometriosis has been ruled out and yet you still have unexplained period pain, toning and relaxing that uterus is a good place to start. See this post here for one reason you may be experiencing painful periods (coming soon).

Raspberry leaves are also a source of magnesium (the Wonder Women of muscle relaxants) and iron (which you need to replenish during bleeding), along with a host of vitamins and minerals including B complex.

…And as if raspberry leaves didn’t do enough already, they also help to detoxify the body of excess hormones, just what you need for rebalancing your cycle!

My Before & After Results

 

The first time I used raspberry leaf tea, my period shrank from 7-8 days to three. 

The flow was much lighter too and with zero bleeding at nighttime. 

While I found that I didn’t need to drink raspberry tea religiously to get these results (at least a few days prior to my period and during it), I have added it to my daily morning routine (within a special endometriosis tea mix) to tone, nourish, relax and cleanse.

Fresh, Dried or Blends?

I purchase dried raspberry leaves rather than raspberry leaf tea bags. You may find a good brand of tea, though I prefer loose raspberry leaf for the following reasons:

  • Herbs bought from a herbalist are generally more potent.
  • The quantity of raspberry leaf in tea bags may not be very high. You can experiment with different quantities of leaf much easier – as opposed to stuffing multiple tea bags into your mug.
  • Dried raspberry leaves are cheaper than tea blends.
  • A packaged tea can contain undesirable ingredients such as caffeine (not what you want when trying to relax) and bleach from the tea bags (yikes).
  • You can make up your own concoctions by adding other herbs and spices to your infuser.

If you have a source of fresh raspberry leaves, you can certainly use those. Ideally, pick leaves daily during the growing season, otherwise, fresh leaves can be stored for up to 5 days. To prepare for out of season, you can pick as many leaves as you can and dry them yourself. 

How To Use Rasberry Leaf Tea

Ingredients:

  • Fresh or dried raspberry leaves
  • Optional: A tea blend, such as the one my medical herbalist recommended for endometriosis, or a caffeine-free herbal tea you like the flavour of such as rooibos. Otherwise, drink as is (delicate and sweet flavoured) or enhance with honey, lemon juice or other herbs or spices like fresh ginger root.

Equipment:

  • A tea maker or infuser

Directions: 

  1. Take a good couple pinches of dried raspberry leaf and drop into your tea maker or infuser. If using fresh leaves, you will need to clean them and then tear, cut or grind the leaves to help release the properties.
  2. Add in extra flavour or herbs as you like.
  3. Pour the hot water in.
  4. Let this steep for at least 5 minutes. Ideally, a few minutes longer if still hot. (The hot water draws out the properties, so it needs to sit.)
  5. Enjoy

So there we have it, raspberry leaves, mother nature’s mercy.

I hope this helps you too. Let me know how you get on with your raspberry leaf tea!

~ Further reading ~

Reduce Excess Oestrogen with this Endo-Friendly Breakfast Bowl (Recipe)

Reduce Excess Oestrogen with this Endo-Friendly Breakfast Bowl (Recipe)

Reduce Excess Oestrogen with this Endo-Friendly Breakfast Bowl

Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

My daily breakfast bowl – it’s sort of like yoghurt with granola, but on superfood ‘steroids’ and easier on the jaw. 

Recommended by my medical herbalist to reduce excess oestrogen, I added my favourite energy-enhancing, stress-relieving and hormone-balancing superfoods.

It has become my favourite breakfast go-to.

  • If heavier foods make you feel fatigued, this is a lightweight option that is easy on the digestive system – in fact, don’t be surprised if it wakes up a sleepy digestive system (linseeds I’m looking at you).
  • If you’re not keen on a seed and superfood mash-up in smoothies, and I don’t blame you, this is an ideal alternative. Ground seed mix is much nicer to eat with yoghurt and the roughly chopped almonds add just enough crunch.

Key Ingredients

Linseed/Flaxseed:

Linseed, or flaxseed as it’s also known, is rich in Omega 3. As our modern diet tends to be overly heavy on Omega 6, linseed can help to restore the balance.

Linseed for women’s issues: Scientists have identified a correlation between high omega-6 concentrations in the blood (a result of a diet low in omega-3) and increased menstrual pain. According to their research, menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) occur when the cell membranes release omega-6, as this produces pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. This can be experienced as cramping, headache and nausea.

Also, an imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 has been connected to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). 

Maca Powder: 

An adaptogen, maca helps the body to cope with stress and restore overall balance. It’s often suggested for those with adrenal fatigue as it supports the endocrine system and boosts energy and stamina. 

Contraindications: Due to maca’s hormone balancing properties, hormone-sensitive conditions can be affected. It’s wise to consult with a medical herbalist or naturopath in this instance.

Bee Pollen: 

Similarly to maca, though perhaps less well known, bee pollen is used to an all-around energy aid and stress-reliever.

It is considered one of nature’s most complete foods as it possesses nearly all the nutrients we require. 

Bee pollen is a source of protein and also contains vitamins (inc. B-complex), minerals, co-enzymes and amino acids.

First-time users are recommended to start with 1 single piece of bee pollen under their tongue to check for any intolerance, before increasing the amount taken the next day.

I purchase my bee pollen from LiveMoor.co.uk, a natural living store that’s just down the road from me on the edge of Dartmoor. They also supply maca powder and chia seeds, though I already had copious amounts of both of those. 

Contraindications: Do not use if you are allergic to pollen or are pregnant.

Slippery Elm Powder: 

A popular ingredient in herbal remedies, slippery elm is touted for its wonderful soothing, strengthening and healing qualities. 

Plus, the name just makes me laugh every single time I hear it.

Contraindications: If you are on medication, taking slippery elm in tandem can decrease the effectiveness of your medication. WedMD recommends taking slippery elm at least one hour after you take your medication to prevent this interaction. 

Optional: Turmeric/Curcumin Supplement

Turmeric, or specifically curcumin extract, is renowned for its anti-inflammatory effects on the body. As turmeric is fat-soluble, to optimise absorption, take your turmeric or curcumin supplement with fat. This breakfast bowl contains healthy fats in the forms of yoghurt, nuts and seeds.

Super-Seed Breakfast Bowl Recipe:

 

Ingredients: 

  • Plain, cultured, dairy-free yoghurt or kefir
  • ‘Super-Seed’ ground mixture 
  • Chia seeds
  • Superfoods of choice (I use maca, bee pollen and goji seeds)
  • Almonds
  • 1-2 teaspoons of psyllium hulls or slippery elm powder
  • Fresh fruit or berries
  • Optional: Turmeric/curcumin supplement

Super-Seed Ground Mixture:

  • Linseed/Flaxseed
  • Pumpkin seeds 
  • Sesame seeds 
  • Sunflower seeds 

Instructions:

1. Ideally, soak the almonds overnight – but don’t let that stop you from having this today. Soaked almonds will last for a week in the fridge. 

2. Pour half a cup of plain, cultured, dairy-free yoghurt or kefir into your bowl.

3. Coarsely grind the seeds, almonds (and psyllium hulls if you’re using them) and then add the ground mixture on top of the yoghurt.

4. Sprinkle any powder you are using (slippery elm and superfood powders such as maca) over the ground seed mixture. 

5. Top with chia seeds, superfoods such as bee pollen and goji berries and fresh fruit or berries. 

(Optional: Consume with a turmeric/curcumin supplement.)

 

  • Aim for approx. 2-3 tablespoons of the ground mix. It’s not an exact science, but use a higher ratio of linseed/flaxseed than each of the other seeds. 
  • Most smoothie makers have a special grinding blade, otherwise, you can use a coffee grinder.
  • Ground seeds become rancid quickly so make fresh daily.

 

 

~ Further reading ~