Meghan Hintz


Herbal Medicine Meets Fermentation by Meghan Hintz

We're super excited to have guest blogger Meghan Hintz writing this fantastic blog on herbal medicine, fermentation, and sharing her recipe for Nettles Kraut! Meghan is a Fermentationist, Functional Nutrition Health Coach, and creator of Herba Flora, ( a line of herbal digestives free from alcohol, sugar, and other common allergens. She lives in the Pacific Northwest where she is currently fawning over the glorious awakening of spring.



While fermented foods are celebrated – and rightly so – for their digestive and

immune support, they are also notable for the increased bio-availability of their

nutrients. As friendly microorganisms break down cellulose, vitamins and minerals

are liberated making them especially easy for our bodies to absorb. Beyond the

nutrient value, fermentation releases a more mysterious and nuanced quality of

plants – their medicinal actions.

Just as the fermentation process frees nutrients, it is able to extract the therapeutic

properties of herbs. This can be a fabulous alternative to alcohol-based tinctures, as

alcohol can increase intestinal permeability and may not be suitable for children,

pregnant women, and those experiencing alcohol sensitivity or addiction.

When choosing herbs for your ferment consider flavor and herbal actions. Food

herbs like fennel, ginger, and turmeric are naturals and help ease gas, settle an upset

stomach and decrease inflammation, respectively. Rose is calming to the nerves and

pleasantly floral, but also astringent so start with small amounts. Remember that

your ferment will take time so herbs that become harsh after a long steep (think

lavender) may not be the best fit. Likewise, steer clear of herbs with strong

antimicrobial actions that could kill off friendly bacteria and halt fermentation.

Favorite spring tonic herbs, all suitable for sauerkraut and miso, include burdock

root for the liver and skin, dandelion root and leaf (the leaves can be quite bitter, the

root more mild) for the liver and kidneys, and my favorite: nettles.

Stinging Nettles, Urtica dioica, are exceptionally high in minerals, anti-inflammatory,

and supportive of the adrenal glands. With their bright color, grassy flavor, and

nutritional boost they are the epitome of spring. They grow wild in parts of North

America and can be found at farmers markets this time of year, but you can also use

dried nettles. They lose their sting when cooked, dried, or fermented, but be sure to

wear gloves while handling them fresh!

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. It’s the perfect time to look beyond the well-loved

traditional benefits of fermentation and experiment with the new flavors and beneficial actions

spring herbs have to offer.


Nettle Sauerkraut (1 quart)

1.25 lbs Green cabbage, evenly sliced (reserve the core and one outer leaf)

½ cup packed fresh nettle leaves, chopped (don’t forget the gloves!)


2 Tbsp dried nettles moistened with 1 Tbsp heated water

2-3 scallions, sliced into rings

2 ½ tsp coarse grey Celtic sea salt

Use your favorite fermentation technique to make your Nettle Sauerkraut. I use

Sandor Katz’s technique.

Now that you’re wildly curious about nettles, here’s a lovely write-up for more info:

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please consult

a medical professional before beginning any healthcare regimen.