Stinging nettle is dreadful to encounter in the wild due to its burning bristly hairs; however, when it is tamed by careful gathering and drying it makes an excellent and healthful tea.
In fact, the bristly plant, whose Latin name (Urtica dioica) actually means “to burn”, contains an astonishing number of nutrients and healing properties. In this article, we will discuss the excellent qualities and many benefits of drinking stinging nettle tea. Read on to learn more.
Green leafy plants are almost always good for you!
If you have ever seen stinging nettle in the wild, you know that it is an attractive and vigorous plant with a deep green color. Sometimes it has traces of purple or red incorporated in the leaves. These rich colours indicate the presence of an ample amount of chlorophyll and carotenoids, which are phytonutrients.
All parts of the plant (leaves, stems, flowers and roots) have beneficial and medicinal properties that are extremely good for your health.
In addition to these valuable phytonutrients, stinging nettle also contains:
In addition to these vital nutrients, stinging nettle also contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals such as:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin E
Along with the minerals:
The mineral content of nettle tea made of the dried leaves of the stinging nettle plant is unparalleled. The calcium and magnesium content are especially high. In fact, they rival any other medicinal herb.
While it is difficult to state exact amounts because of differences in growing environment as well as preparation methods, generally speaking an ounce of dried nettle leaves that has been steeped for half an hour in a cup of water will deliver a little over 80 mg of magnesium. This makes up about 25% of the recommended daily requirement of magnesium for both men and women. This amount can be increased by using a smaller amount of water and steeping for a longer period of time.
Stinging nettle tea benefits
- Because of its high vitamin and mineral content, stinging nettle has traditionally been used as general health tonic. It is also very beneficial in treating scurvy.
- The analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of stinging nettle tea help relieve pain and encourage healing. For this reason, this powerful herbal tea provides excellent support for people suffering from arthritis. Likewise, nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties help to heal stomach irritation such as ulcers.
- The anti-inflammatory properties of stinging nettle may also be the quality that makes this useful herb such a good treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Even the most conservative of Western medical practitioners acknowledge that consuming nettle roots will help reduce enlarged prostate symptoms.
- Nettle is naturally antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral; therefore, it is advisable to enjoy a cup of this highly beneficial tea every day to help boost your immune system and fight off any negative germs or organisms you may have come in contact with. Additionally, stinging nettles’ immune boosting properties are very helpful to people suffering from asthma and allergies.
- Drinking nettle tea provides excellent cardiovascular benefits as well. It is effective in lowering blood pressure and balancing cholesterol levels.
- Diabetics can make good use of stinging nettle tea to help balance and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Nettle acts as a diuretic and it is very helpful to the kidneys because it can dissolve kidney stones and prevents their formation.
- Stinging nettle tea has laxative properties and is very good for eliminating toxins and even intestinal parasites.
- The high calcium content in stinging nettle makes it a good treatment for problems such as muscle spasms and leg cramps. It is also said to reduce pain during labor and after giving birth.
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of Department of Health recognises nettle as one of the traditional herbal remedies in the UK.
How to make the best stinging nettle tea
Stinging nettles have large, attractive, dark green semi-heart-shaped leaves. The edges are very serrated. In the springtime, nettles are quite small, but they grow rapidly as summer progresses and can reach a height of six feet. In the Autumn they die back, but don’t despair. They will return again in the same place in the spring.
If you want to try harvesting your own nettles, you’ll need protective gloves and long sleeves. Carry along a pair of sharp clippers or scissors and a bag or bucket so that you can clip the leaves directly into a container without having to handle them. If you have a source of nettles close to home, you can simply clip your fresh nettle leaves into your brewing pot and never have to handle them at all!
Although stinging nettles grow wild and free in many places including the most urban of settings, it’s understandable that you may not wish to gather and prepare your own. Not only is there some danger inherent in the act of picking wild nettles, the variation in growing conditions (e.g. contaminants in the soil and air) can make the nutrient content of wild gathered nettles unpredictable.
Plants that have been exposed to toxins could be dangerous for you. Luckily, it is easy to find very high quality, organic nettle tea at any good health food store or from reliable online suppliers. You can purchase it as a loose tea or in teabags.
To make the best and most beneficial stinging nettle tea, you should steep the dried leaves for several hours. Begin with freshly boiled water and allow the mixture to sit and steep at room temperature overnight. This lengthy steeping time ensures that you will get the most nutrient benefit from your tea. The initial hot water bath extrudes one set of nutrients, and as the water cools other nutrients are also released.
Enjoy nettle tea hot or cold
You may find it helpful to make large batches of nettle tea to save time. After the steeping process is complete, strain the tea into a large glass jar with a lid. Keep it in the refrigerator and enjoy it a cup at a time either ice or heated.
You can improve the flavor of your stinging nettle tea by steeping it with other types of herbs such as:
- Green Tea
Really your imagination is your only limit when it comes to combining teas for excellent flavor. If you simply dislike tea altogether, take heart! You can also purchase stinging nettle in capsule form at any good health food store or reliable online supplier.