Nettles Urtica Dioica herbal tonic

Sips + Trips: Weetamoo Woods + Nettles

Happy Friday, friends! Welcome back to our series of “Sips + Trips”, where we celebrate fun, simple ways to nourish our bodies + spirits locally!

SipsWhat herbal nourishment can you enjoy this weekend?
TripsWhere can you visit over the next few days?

Spring is an especially fun time for Sips + Trips. Everywhere you look something green is growing; and the next time you look, you’ll see something new! We love exploring our backyard, local land trusts, and just about everywhere we go, to see which plants are returning and which new herbal friends we might meet. One of the most incredible things about plants is how they respond to people. Believe it our not, they feel our attention and intention. Yes, believe it. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought to myself, “I wish [insert plant] was growing here in my yard…” or “I hope soon I will cross paths with [insert plant]…” and that very week or season, that very plant appears! Coincidence? I think not ūüĆĪ‚ú®

Today we want to introduce you to (or commence mutual adoration for) just such a plant friend. This plant is somewhat notorious for pricking you when you least expect it, but also notorious for nourishing us when we most need it. Maybe your body is calling for this ally this spring? Ours sure are! So with that introduction, enjoy our “locally-inspired & herbalist-crafted” sips and trips.

Sips: Nettles 

Nettles Urtica Dioica nutritive herb, adaptogenic, kidney and liver support, musculoskeletal system, endocrine system

Even if you don’t know Nettles with your brain, you surely know this prolific wild plant with your body; Nettles is otherwise known as “Stinging Nettles”, for the prickly bite it gives to legs, arms, and hands of unassuming visitors. While that sting can be quite strong, it’s actually not a pricker that’s getting you – the sting comes from tiny hollow hairs (trichomes) that cover the surface of the leaves. These little hairs contain acids that cause that burning, tingling, itching feeling that lasts a little longer than most of us would like! Folklore tells us though, that it was once common practice to purposely sting oneself in the springtime, especially in our joints, to stimulate healing and revitalizing blood flow. (Hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it.)

Here at Town Farm Tonics, we prefer a more enjoyable route to work with Nettles: infusions! Steeping your Nettles for an extended time brings out the rich nutritional compounds that Nettles are packed with. Elder herbalist Susun Weed describes that:

“Nettle is amazingly rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially the critical trace minerals: anti-cancer selenium, immune-enhancing sulphur, memory-enhancing zinc, diabetes-chasing chromium, and bone-building boron. A quart of nettle infusion contains more than 1000 milligrams of calcium, 15000 IU of vitamin A, 760 milligrams of vitamin K, 10% protein, and lavish amounts of most B vitamins.”Nettles Urtica Dioica herbal tonic

Through this nutrient density, Nettles builds our vital energy slowly and surely from the inside out. They “feed” our adrenals, which are often so taxed due to the stresses of modern life. And this support of our adrenals means hormone balance and balanced energy. Hence whey Nettles is foundational in our Nourish blend — there is literally no other herb more nourishing!

Aside from drinking Nettles, which is just divine, you can eat them, too. Think of Nettles as a sort of wild spinach. Carefully harvest them with gloves while they are young (once they go to seed it’s far too late, even better if they are no taller than your knees). Clip off the top couple inches of the plant, and when you get home simply cook them up for about 10+ minutes to make them easily digestible and totally delish.

Trips: Weetamoo Woods

weetamoo woods, tiverton rhode island, town farm tonics, tiverton four corners local adventures

Okay, grab your hot or iced jar of Nourish tea (and maybe bring along a slice of Nettles quiche?!) and let’s take to the woods. Not far from the Tiverton Four Corners is a place where wild Nettles abound. Along old fences and well-worn trails, you don’t have to look far to get your introduction. It’s a truly no-fail place to meet this herbal ally and many others face to face: Weetamoo Woods.

This is one of those places in which you can get lost all day — purposefully or not, thanks to the 7 beautiful miles of trails (not to mention the additional 2 miles of connected Pardon Gray Preserve). The trails boast a diverse landscape, from winding paths among twisting mountain laurel to rocky paths by flowing brooks. You can also stumble upon a number of old foundations and meet a wild variety of animals and plants along the way.weetamoo woods, tiverton rhode island, town farm tonics, tiverton four corners local adventures

The impressive 650-acre expanse is the namesake of an equally impressive Wampanoag leader: Weetamoo. A Wampanoag Chief, Weetamoo was a powerful and revered sunksqua, or female sachem, of the Pocasset tribe. Weetamoo was well-known as a brave warrior, a skilled hunter, and a wise leader of her people. She lived during a time when clashes between the indigenous peoples and colonial settlers were intensifying, and she is remembered for leading her people in their fight to retain sovereignty in the face of great odds. Most notably, Weetamoo allied with her brother-in-law Metacomet, also known as King Philip, to drive European settlers off of the land they were systematically stealing and extracting from. It was in this battle that Sachem Weetamoo lost her life.

Whenever we walk at Weetamoo Woods we are sure to remember and pay our respects not only to this great Sachem, but to the Wampanoag people upon whose lands we walk and live each day. We urge you to take the time to do your research — there is so much more to the story of Weetamoo’s life. And learn more about the indigenous peoples whose lands you live on and walk about each day.

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