In the video and this article we will cover the following:
What nettle is
Nettle health benefits which will help you understand a bit better why there is such a hype with nettle tea
How to make nettle tea and I will recommend other ways of consuming nettle
A few things to keep in mind before incorporating nettle in your diet
What is Nettle Tea?
Nettle, also known as stinging nettle, is a plant which goes by the name urtica dioica in the scientific community. Nettle leaves look like hearts and the stem is covered with tiny hair that release stinging chemicals when touched. However, when stinging nettle is soaked in water, the stinging chemicals are neutralised. Unless you are allergic, these symptoms do not last long, maybe a few minutes. Commercially, nettle leaves, stem and/or root are dried and turned into tea, powder or added in supplements. Nettle has been used as herbal medicine for centuries and a significant number of nettle health benefits is supported by modern research.
100 grams of nettle based on U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE contains 88grams of water, meaning that 88% of nettle is water. Nettle contains protein and is rich in fibre. As you can see in the list provided, nettle contains important vitamins and minerals, like folate that is important especially during pregnancy and beta carotene, vitamin A as well as lutein and zeaxanthin that promote eye health.
You can find nettle in mountains or in parks. London parks for example are full with nettle and this is the place I last foraged nettle. To dehydrate nettle, first wash it and let it dry on newspaper or a cloth under the sun for 5 to 7 days.
Health Benefits of Nettle Tea
Reduces Pain & Inflammation
A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showcased that nettle contains a variety of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial compounds (1). This means that a cup of nettle tea may be able to relieve a headache, a bruise, or a sore muscle.
Supports Blood Sugar Management
There is also a significant amount of studies that show that nettle can support blood sugar management and may safely improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients that need insulin therapy (2).
May Treat Prostate Symptoms
If you have ever bought a nettle supplement, you may have noticed that it mentions on the container that it supports prostate health. Now supplements at least do that. One of the most common diseases among men is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH and nettle based treatments are a common practice. There has been lots of research done on nettle and its effects on symptoms of BPH. Specifically, a double-blind study where 100 BPH patients were monitored showed that after 8 week of treatment, the group that followed a nettle based treatment saw a relief of BPH symptoms (3).
One of the anti-inflammatory compounds present in nettle is histamine which can minimise the tension in arteries and blood vessels, promoting better circulation and oxygenation, limiting cardiovascular-related issues.
Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
In The Journal of Rheumatology, a study published shows that nettle anti-inflammatory compounds can be used against autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Axe and healthline.com mention that nettle leaf can relieve pain or sore muscles if applied topically and can treat arthritis. Nettle can also reduce inflammation and pain linked to osteoarthritis according to The Arthritis Foundation (4,5,6).
There are claims that nettle can strengthen hair, nail and eyes but more on this in a video in the following episodes.
How to Make Nettle Tea
Nettle can be used to create a delicious beverage. I foraged nettle leaves last year, dried them and now use dried nettle leaves in hot or cold beverages, basically as hot nettle tea or as cold nettle tea.
To make nettles tea, brew dehydrated nettle leaves in hot water for 5-10 minutes. I use this cup which was a gift, it contains a tea strainer so it makes the process so much easier. Then I remove the strainer and I either drink this straight from the cup or I add a few ice cubes and turn this into a cold tea. There are times I make more and save in the fridge and can have it another day or use it in my smoothies.
You can also find nettle in tea bags and you can prepare your tea as you would normally do in such cases.
Nettle can also be cooked and then consumed. I met a couple of ladies when I was foraging nettle and they mentioned that a great way to consume nettle is in soups or stews. They can also be a great addition to pies. Don’t eat nettle raw because, unless it is cooked or dried, it still contains the stinging hair.
A Word of Caution
Just because there are plenty of health benefits to nettle it does not mean that it is appropriate for everyone. My word of caution would be to talk to your doctor if you suspect that it may affect you negatively or if you have allergies or suffer from some type of disease or if you are taking medication as it interacts with some. Not all herbs and supplements are appropriate for everyone.
I drink nettle once a week, nowadays, as part of a cold beverage. It is a super easy way to show love to my body and soul. I know that it is not a miracle herb but consuming it when I need to wind down offers mental calmness. Plus by choosing nettle I know that I consume a nourishing drink that supports the lifestyle that I have chosen for me.