Belus is coming back! Part III: No beauty comes without suffering

Dear pagan readers,

In the last article, I have introduced you to the ”feet of Belus” commonly called Plantago. You have learned that the leaves can be eat and use to heal and calm the pain of all wounds, even insects stings. A truly divine plant offered to us by Belus. Today I’m going to talk about a plant whose harvest is inextricably linked with the use Plantago.

Urtica_dioica39_ies

It is again a plant that you can eat the leaves during spring season. It’s also a very powerful plant, so powerful that nature gave it a weapon to protect herself from abusive use.  Even if the stings caused by this weapon is really painful, it is also very beneficial at the same time. Also if you like butterflies, you will forgive it for all the pain it caused: No beauty comes without suffering. It is a hotbed for “useful fauna”, including many species of butterflies, beetles and bugs. In Western Europe, it is the mandatory host plant for thirty insects including butterflies (important pollinators, often receding) such as Inachis io, the Vulcan(Vanessa atalanta), the Araschnia levana, the Aglais urticae. It is also the host of moths such as Eurrhypara hortulata. I call this plant the ”helpful heat of Máni”, but it is commonly known as Urtica dioica or Stinging nettle. Once again there’s many reliable sources of information about this plant on the web, so here’s a few links:

Nettle_-_Ortica_-_Foto_Giovanni_Dall'Orto

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle

http://www.ageless.co.za/herb-nettle.htm

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/stinging_nettle.htm

Urtica_dioica_1

Once again, I will focus on what is unsaid. Let’s start with the full list of medicinal virtues: antiallergic, anti-anemia, antibacterial, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-gout, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactagogue, hemostatic, nutritive, revulsive, tonic, reduces enlarged prostate. It is a plant with multiple purposes. Like I said, you can eat the leaves during spring, before blooming. The leaves are very rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins A & C. You use it dried(then it loose all his urticant power) , or cooked in soup and stew, especially in potatoes based meals. You can also make and infusion with chamomile and mint. Be careful when you harvest, most people put gloves on because it’s stinging like his name suggest. The irrtation is due to the liquid contained in the base of the bristles. It contain formic acid, histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin and leukotrienes. An interresting fact that the scientist still can’t explain is that some people do not suffer from the Urtica stings, or in some cases, not always. It is said in old tales that if you touch it with a noble intention and fair heart, it won’t hurt you. And I can confirm it myself. Believe it or not, sometimes it is stinging, sometimes it is not.

Urtica_dioica38_ies

This is when the Plantago comes in context: you use it to calm the irritation, otherwise the pain will last several days. You can also use Burdock(Arctium) or Curly Dock(Rumex crispus) to calm the irritation, those plants always grow close to Urtica dioica. But the best and unsuspected way to calm the burning is to rub Urtica leaves until the juice gets out. I told you earlier that the stings were beneficial. In fact it heals nothing less than rheumatism and arthritis. You can also make a manure, very rich, every gardeners should have it. It is the perfect fertilizer. His fiber is used for thousands of years to make textile. Clothes made of it were found in many very old tombs. Another interesting purpose is to use the juice of the plant as sealant for little cracks on wood pieces. If you have wooden dishes, it will make it waterproof. Very useful.

Petite_tortue_illzach_68

In the last paragraph, I mentioned that the ”helpful heat of Máni” is very useful for gardeners. But not only as manure I may add. It is perfect for companionship with all vegetables, fruits, and spices. This plant gives more to the soil than it takes. And it protects it’s surroundings from parasites. It is also a plant that release a lot of heat at night time. If you live in the north, you certainly know that the nights are pretty cold even during summertime. It will then keep your garden from freezing and you will have a much better crop. This is where it gets its name. The helpful heat of Máni!

”όποιος αγαπά, τιμωρεί”

Frederik Blanchett

P.S

If you want to know all the good effects it have on every parts of the body, you can ask me. There is so many uses and concoctions I haven’t mentioned them all. If you have any questions let me know.

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24 thoughts on “Belus is coming back! Part III: No beauty comes without suffering

  1. I knew about the infusion, but how do you eat the lleaves? You just take a leave from the plant and eat it or it needs some preparation?

    I hope there are more articles about plants coming! Thanks =)

    • Oh and I heard it can be used as a hair care lotion and for skin problems like acne. Do you know how to do it?

    • Well as for what I know, you have to bath them in hot water for a few seconds. But I’m not shure though, I never tried it yet.

    • The leaves need to be dried up, cooked or boiled before eaten. It will remove it’s urticant power.

      About the hair and skin lotion, each spring I prepare a concoction based on olive or castor oil. I slice some Plantago and Nettle leaves(with a ceramic knife) and put it into a bottle with the oil. I put it in a cupboard(dark) and softly shake the bottle once a day for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks of maceration I filter the mix with a tea filter to remove all the plant material from the oil(the medicinal virtues have been transfered to the oil by maceration) and it’s ready for use. You can use it on irritated skin, dry hairs, acne, abcess, bugs stings, etc…

  2. Frederik! Hello, I have one more question about plantago.
    I believe I have found it, can you tell me what this is?
    http://imgur.com/a/VzPV9
    It is very rare here near the Gulf of Mexico, as I am seeing. I hope this is what I’ve been trying to find.
    Please excuse my freakishly large fingers if it obstructed the second picture. Thank you!

    • Okay, I know this looks nothing like it in the picture, but I know for sure it is Broadleaf Plantain. Just a little dirt that obstructed the veins there.

    • My friend, unfortunately I have to tell you it isn’t. What you have here looks like a small tree or bush leaf. In order to help you as much as I can I made my own research about the distribution of the Plantago in Louisiana. Here’s a few links:

      http://plants.usda.gov/java/county?state_name=Louisiana&statefips=22&symbol=PLMA2

      http://luirig.altervista.org/flora/taxa/north-america.php?state=LA&famiglia=Plantaginaceae&genere=Plantago

      http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PLMA2

      http://doctorschar.com/archives/greater-plantain-plantago-major/

      Search for it on the roadsides, grass fields, trails, etc.. I hope it will help you find it. If you have any other questions, don’t be shy my friend.

      • Hey, I just want to follow up on you by just saying I feel a little foolish. But don’t take that as regret. This is a process of trial and error right now, and I’ve never dabbled in the lores of herbs and botany before. I’m just glad to say I’ve stumbled onto Ancestral Cult and made myself some recognized character on Varg’s blog and that I could be introduced to all of this so early in my current physical life.
        Though I am not finding what I need, I will continue. Not just because I want to use Plantago for ritualistic and nutritional purposes but that I have spent maybe a week or so looking for it and I am now determined. And I will apply what ever factor of nature may come across as useful to me later in life as a learning process, I am due to go spend a week in the foothills in the Swiss Alps for spring break.
        So I bid my last thanks before I go to bed here, and by the way, that leaf was just a dehydrated, dirty, and probably polluted to a degree, leaf on a blueberry bush. So I went back and made use of it once I realized what it was. Unfortunately not enough to make a pie, though.

  3. Do you advice to only harvest the nettles during spring time, or can they be used the whole year?
    I always make tea of the nettle, but I’ve noticed the taste getting much stronger and more bitter after the summer. But I would nevertheless drink the tea, even in the winter when there are nettles to be found. Shouldn’t I be doing this during autumn and winter? or does it makes no difference?

    • It can be used from spring until it start to die. It is preferable to harvest late spring and during summer because the plant is perfectly healthy and powerful but also the taste is way better in this period. You can dry the leaves up and stockpiled enough for winter season. Still there is no reason to think it is bad to use autumn or winter harvested nettle. But like you said the taste is way more bitter…

  4. Pingback: Baldr shining – The Development of the Garden | Longing for Thule

  5. nettle consumption is not so bizarre here, we see nettle tea all over the place, Scandinavia at least has “nettle soup”, and in the west country (Somerset I think) there is even a horrific-sounding raw nettle-eating competition! Nettles are obviously very nutritious, and they are all over the place even if we prevent them from growing in our own garden, so we should be making use of them really….I rather fancy picking some down the road myself soon (away from the road of course…)

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