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6 Health Benefits of Nettle Tea & 4 Tips for Using

Nettle tea has been used as a traditional herbal remedy for hundreds of years. Nettle grows in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. While the plant is stingy, the tea is a flavorful, somewhat sweet and herbal delicacy. Find here all of the health benefits of nettle tea, plus potential risks.

Nettle tea is made from stinging nettles — either fresh or dried. It’s a useful herbal tea for a variety of ailments. In this article we’ll cover just who will benefit from adding nettle tea to their diet, and what risks consuming nettle tea might pose.

You’ll also find some special nettle tea tips and hacks, and a recipe for the most delicious cup of healthy, vibrant nettle tea.

What Nettle Leaf Tea Is: Interesting Facts

What Nettle Leaf Tea Is: Interesting Facts

Nettle leaf tea is made from the stinging nettle plant, which is originally from Europe. Interestingly, this was only introduced to North America in the mid-19th century. Before this, only the American stinging nettle and the hoary nettle were native.

The difference between the two is that the European stinging nettle is dioecious (plants are either ‘male’ or ‘female’), while the native North American version is monoecious, meaning it contains both male and female flowers.

Native Americans also use nettles for food, ceremonies, and as natural medicine. Larger, more mature stems are used to make fishing nets, ropes, and cloth. In the past, First Nations peoples also used nettle to treat diarrhea, UTIs, worms in your intestines, eczema, and acne.

All types of nettles appear to be edible, including the wood nettle, slender nettle, and dwarf nettle.

Fun fact: if you’re foraging for nettles and using them fresh, adding them to boiled water will immediately make the stings useless.

If you want to preserve the vibrant green of the nettles, you can douse them in ice water immediately after cooking. This is particularly useful if you’re making nettle soup or another nettle-based food dish.

Origin and Where Nettle Tea Comes From

Origin and Where Nettle Tea Comes From

American nettle leaf tea appears to mostly be grown in Vermont. With that said, you can find wild nettles almost anywhere, particularly in Western US states. Stinging nettles are easy to identify and, once boiled, the stings become harmless.

What Nettle Tea Is Made Of

What Nettle Tea Is Made Of

Nettle tea is made from dried or fresh leaves of the European stinging nettle. The dried leaves can be purchased as loose leaf tea or in tea bags.

The fresh leaves are easy to forage — just make sure you pack gloves and strain them well after you’ve made your tea.

What Nettle Tea Tastes Like

Nettle tea tastes a little like spinach. Freshly brewed, it has herbal, earthy undertones and a subtle sweetness that is particularly pleasant. If you enjoy herbal, somewhat green flavors, you’ll love nettle tea.

Stinging Nettle Tea

Stinging Nettle Tea

All nettle tea is made from stinging nettles. There are nettles which do not sting called dead nettles. These are also edible, but smell strongly like catnip.

Some people do use them to make a tea, and allegedly this is a helpful laxative and diuretic.

Commercially available nettle tea, however, is always made from stinging nettles. All of the health benefits and risks listed in this article refer to the tea made from stinging nettles.

Nutritional Facts and Calories of Nettle Tea

Nutritional Facts and Calories of Nettle Tea

Stinging nettles are full of minerals and vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium.

Nettles also contain antioxidants, protein, flavonoids, and amino acids.

Nettle tea has negligible calories when brewed without the addition of sweeteners, so it’s a great addition to any diet, too.

Health Benefits of Nettle Tea

Health Benefits of Nettle Tea

Nettle tea is full of nutrients. It comes as no surprise, then, that you can reap plenty of health benefits from adding it to your diet. Here is a list of the top ways drinking nettle tea can help boost your health.

Helpful for Reducing Inflammation and Joint Pains

Helpful for Reducing Inflammation and Joint Pains

Many serious health problems, including cancer, heart diseases, arthritis, chronic myalgia, and type 2 diabetes, include chronic and often painful inflammation.

Nettles include compounds that may reduce inflammation in your body, and which can diminish how many inflammatory hormones are produced going forward.

This can even protect against the recurrence of chronic inflammation.

Protects Against Infections of the Urinary Tract

Protects Against Infections of the Urinary Tract

Nettle tea works as a natural diuretic, meaning it helps increase how much urine you produce and flushes out bad bacteria.

Diuretics are used to reduc ethe buildup of fluid in your body, which is helpful if you’re retaining fluid, have high blood pressure, or suffer from symptoms of PMS.

Nettles also contain antimicrobial properties, meaning they help kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

May Help Treat Hay Fever and Allergies

May Help Treat Hay Fever and Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergies or hay fever, you’re in luck: nettle tea is lauded for being a natural antihistamine.

Compounds in nettles inhibit some of the inflammation which causes allergy symptoms, such as rhinitis (when your nose gets irritated by allergens.)

Research has proven that nettles work effectively against allergies, meaning nettle tea is well worth a try if you’re a frequent sufferer of allergies.

Extracts Can Treat Eczema Naturally

Extracts Can Treat Eczema Naturally

Extracts from stinging nettles can naturally treat skin conditions such as eczema, as well as inflamed, itchy, and dry skin.

Drinking nettle tea also helps diminish these conditions, probably due to the anti-inflammatory compounds present in the leaves.

Nettle leaves have been shown to help with a huge variety of skin conditions, and have long been used for this by Native Americans.

Could Help Flush Out Toxins from the Kidneys

Could Help Flush Out Toxins from the Kidneys

Nettle leaf tea is a natural diuretic, which could be helpful for people suffering from kidney problems.

Drinking nettle tea can help your body flush out toxins, and may even help at naturally removing (small) kidney stones.

Nettle tea will help your body rid itself of excess fluid.

Diuretics are frequently used by those with chronic kidney disease, though you should always speak to your doctor first before trying anything new.

Might Help with Flu, Colds, and Respiratory Illnesses

Might Help with Flu, Colds, and Respiratory Illnesses

Drinking nettle tea can help with the symptoms of cold, flu, and other respiratory bugs. Nettles can reduce the inflammation that causes rhinitis and other irritating symptoms — the same ones that cause allergies.

Nettle tea can reduce the amount of histamines in your body, and fight bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

It can also apparently inhibit the growth of some of these microorganisms in your body, making it great for preventing illnesses.

Potential Risks

Potential Risks

Herbal medicines, including teas, offer huge benefits to your body and mind. However, anything that can affect your body in such a big way will also inevitably have potential risks. Below is a list of some of the side effects you could encounter when consuming nettle tea.

Some May Experience Allergic Reactions to Nettle Tea

Some May Experience Allergic Reactions to Nettle Tea

You could be allergies to nettles, in which case you may encounter some unwanted side effects. These include breathing difficulties, wheezing, throat and chest tightness, and more.

Up to 20 percent of people will experience acute nettle rash at some point in their lives. If you’ve ever experienced this, you could potentially also be at risk of having an allergic reaction to the tea.

With that said, allergic reactions to nettle tea are rare, and it doesn’t usually cause side effects.

Might Cause Mild Stomach Upset or Diarrhea

Might Cause Mild Stomach Upset or Diarrhea

In the rare case that you are intolerant to nettles, you may experience diarrhea or mild stomach upset.

This could be because you’ve had too much nettle tea, or because you genuinely can’t tolerate nettles. Most people can safely have up to 2 to 3 cups of nettle tea per day.

Could Be Problematic in Pregnancy

Could Be Problematic in Pregnancy

Nettle tea could stimulate your uterus and lead to contractions. Therefore you can potentially have nettle tea once you’ve hit term, but should avoid it before.

Certainly steer clear of nettle tea in the first trimester of pregnancy. Ask your doctor if you’d really like to have some, just to be safe.

Many herbal teas and remedies have the potential to be problematic during pregnancy, so it’s always good to be cautious and, when in doubt, ask an expert.

Is Nettle Leaf Tea in Pregnancy Good For You?

Is Nettle Leaf Tea in Pregnancy Good For You?

Nettle tea should be avoided for most of your pregnancy. It may cause diarrhea or stomach cramps, acts as a diuretic, and can stimulate your uterus. All of these are reasons why adding it to your pregnancy diet could be problematic.

At the end of pregnancy, once you’ve reached term, nettle tea may help in bringing on contractions and starting labor.

With that said, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that it’s truly safe for you and your baby, and it’s therefore better to avoid it. If you’re looking for a beneficial, end of pregnancy tea, raspberry leaf is a much better choice.

Another safe tea for all of pregnancy appears to be rooibos. Rooibos tea is full of helpful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, but free from any caffeine. This makes it an ideal alternative to enjoy if you’re pregnant.

Simple Guide for Making the Perfect Nettle Tea

Simple Guide for Making the Perfect Nettle Tea

Nettle leaf tea is easy to make at home, whether you’re using dried or fresh nettles.

If you’re using fresh nettles, you’ll arguably get more nutrients, as some are always lost in the drying process.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh nettle leaves (ideally younger plants)
  • 2 cups of water

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Add the nettle leaves to a pot of water and boil. Turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes.
  2. Strain thoroughly into two cups and serve. You’ll want to make sure no nettle pieces get through your strainer. Enjoy your nettle tea as it is or with added lemon and honey.

Tips for Drinking and Serving Nettle Tea

Tips for Drinking and Serving Nettle Tea

Nettle tea on its own tastes a little bit like spinach with earthy, herbal yet slightly sweet undertones. Some will love this, others may find it a little too herbaceous.

The tips below will give you new options for enjoying your nettle tea. Find your favorites or create new blends yourself.

Combine Nettle Tea with Rosemary

Combine Nettle Tea with Rosemary

Nettle tea is delicious when paired with rosemary. If you have a cold, just inhaling the scent of rosemary can really clear swollen sinuses.

Rosemary has great anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, plus a huge range of other health benefits.

Paired with nettle, it makes for a real powerhouse tea. Add a touch of honey for additional health benefits and a pleasant sweetness.

Enjoy a Beautiful Foraged Tea Made of Nettles and Roses

Enjoy a Beautiful Foraged Tea Made of Nettles and Roses

Nettles are amongst the easiest plants to forage — as are roses. All roses are edible, and they contain plenty of vitamins and antioxidants.

Freshly brewed rose tea smells divine and tastes a little bit fruity and sweet all on its own.

Forage your own nettles and roses for a beautiful, relaxing tisane that you’ve not even had to buy.

Just make sure you strain the nettles well after boiling, and wash any found herbs well before use.

Make a Nettle Tea Mojito (with or without Alcohol)

Make a Nettle Tea Mojito (with or without Alcohol)

Mojitos are usually made with mint. This clever take uses nettle tea for an added herbaceous, earthy flavor.

You can mix it with fresh mint leaves, honey, crushed ice, and sparkling water, or add in rum for a boozy kick. The alcohol-free version makes for a great ‘iced tea’ option in the summer, too.

Enjoy a Healthy Nettle Soup

Nettle soup offers all the health benefits of the tea, with the added fun factor of foraging for nettles yourself. It also makes use of the spinach-like flavors of nettles, which are well-suited for savory dishes.

Mix cooked nettles with cooked potatoes, leek, carrot, and onion, butter, double cream, and a bit of olive oil. Flavor with your favorite vegetable stock and some pepper, and blend until creamy.

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