Have you ever been foraging? Picking wild berries, snuffling out truffles, scouting the coastline for seaweed … what about nettles? According to Roy Lamb, co founder of Nasslor Health Drinks, nettles are a superfood and he should know being a pharmacist by trade and having a great grandfather who was a Welsh herbalist who used to forage for nettles to make a “cure all drink”. Roy is like a walking “nettles” encyclopaedia so I caught up with him recently to find out more! Hi Roy & welcome..
Hi, my name is Roy Lamb and along with Nasir Isaji we are the co- founders of UK-based Nasslor Health drinks Ltd makers of the Emunity drink range.
We are both pharmacists with a passion for helping people stay healthy and we want to let the world know about the benefits of nettle – the forgotten herb.
What inspired the development of your health drink, Emunity?
In 2016, my Locum company was engaged to help support professional services to the pharmacist manager at Thornton Health Centre on the Fylde coast . This is where Nas and I began working together and,over lunch one day, we were discussing the health benefits of herbal teas .
I told Nas about Moses Bellis my great grandfather who was a herbalist that foraged for nettles to make his famous “nettle cure-all tea”.
The trouble was my grandmother said that she had to put 2 spoons of honey with it to make it palatable.
Our light bulb moment was to decide to create a great tasting, refreshing nettle drink blended with fruits and English garden herbs in a still spring water all in a ready-to-drink slim can.
We wanted it to be 100% natural with no artificial ingredients, low in calories and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Emunity comes in two varieties – Gooseberry and Wild Strawberry. Which variety is the most popular?
In terms of sales, the varieties are equal at moment as buyers are trying both!
On a more personal level, I love to drink the Nettle Dandelion Gooseberry Rosemary and Thyme combo as it gives me a mental lift and leaves me refreshed and invigorated.
Nasir loves the Nettle Chamomile Wild Strawberry Meadowsweet and Cucumber combo in the evening when he gets home from a long day at the surgery as he finds the drink refreshing and helps him to unwind and relax.
What are the main benefits attributed to nettles?
Nettle contains a significant concentration of biologically active compounds particularly carotenoids and polyphenols that benefit the body. It is known to lower blood pressure due to its mild diuretic action. Clinical studies in Iran have found a mild lowering effect on blood sugars when nettle is administered in trials. Nettle also reduces the effects of skin photoaging and has been shown to be able to boost the immune system.
Nettle has antibacterial properties and has been trialled in animal feeds to various species to improve the welfare of the animals. And nettle helps fight the symptoms of hay fever.
Nettles are known as a “superfood” – is it possible to forage for wild nettle leaves? Any tips?
Nettles grow abundantly in all types of soil and hence they appear in every garden, hedgerow and woodland in the UK.
A ready supply of nettles for foraging is, therefore, in easy reach for most people. However, always wear thick gloves to protect your skin from potential stings from the leaves. To remove the stings from your gathered nettles the easiest and quickest way is to drop them into a large pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. To retain the bright green colour plunge your boiled nettles into a bowl of ice water then leave them to drain and dry. The nettles can be safely frozen after this process or left to completely dry out. When using dried nettle, steep in water to rehydrate before adding to your recipes.
Have you got any favourite drink or food recipes that contain nettles?
There are various recipes are readily available on the internet such as: Nettle pesto, nettle soup, nettle spanakopita, nettle and blue cheese rarebit.
There are also nettle infusions – dried nettles can be easily made into tea. Chop your nettles finely, add boiling water, leave for 5 minutes and strain. Unfortunately, nettle tea on its own isn’t delicious despite the health benefits. Instead try a ready-prepared infusion such as Emunity.
As you are currently based in the UK, is “Emunity” available to purchase worldwide?
Emunity can be purchased direct from our website at Emunity.co.uk or from specialist health food wholesalers (list provided on website and social media). It’s currently only available in the UK.
Is Emunity suitable for everyone ( eg vegan, gluten free, sugar content etc) or are there any exceptions/recommendations?
Emunity is suitable for vegans and vegetarians and is gluten-free. The total fructose content per 100g serving is 11.2 grams, so it is low in sugar.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Clark’s shoes – I may need therapy as I now have over 40 pairs!
Next and M&S suits – I’m too embarrassed to say how many .
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Cheshire Oaks outlet and Next online.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes for work, boots for gardening and rambling andtrainers for sports and play!
Links you would like to share e.g.website/facebook/twitter/ instagram etc so that readers can find out more about Emunity
Website and shop: https://emunity.co.uk
Facebook: ‘Emunity Drinks’ – https://www.facebook.com/Emunity-Drinks-101222345096132/
Wow, I’ll treat the humble nettle with more respect next time….
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Nasslor Health Drinks