Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in January 2013. We decided to update it to include more tips and helpful information about nettle tea. Enjoy!
Stingle Nettle leaves in the wild
Thanks to my sister, I’m a huge fan of stinging nettles. She introduced me to this fascinating green a few years ago.
She would take me into the woods to forage them on Vashon Island in Washington, and cook them up in delicious pasta or dehydrate them to make hot or cold nettle tea.
So naturally, when Robin Harrington, spa herbalist and formulator at the Spa at Sedona Rouge in Sedona, Arizona, got in touch about her experience with nettles, my ears perked up.
Robin shared her knowledge of the physical, mental and emotional benefits of the tea.
Here, Harrington writes about her love for nettles and everything nettle tea has to offer, perfect for National Hot Tea Month.
The Fascinating Beauty of Nettle Tea and Its Remarkable Total Body Benefits
By Robin Harrington
What is Nettle Tea?
My first homework assignment in herbal medicine school was to choose one herb and really get to know it. I chose Urtica dioica, the stinging nettle.
Stinging nettle is a member of the mint family, known for its stinging hairs that deliver a formic acid bite to the unlucky soul who touches the fresh plant. Luckily, the formic acid dissipates when dried.
Nettle tea is made from those dried leaves and has been used since antiquity for its healing properties and fibers.
Physical, mental, and emotional benefits
For two weeks I drank a really strong infusion of nettle tea and kept a journal of how I felt physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I found after two days of imbibing nettle tea I was craving my next cup. After one week my mind felt clearer. I could retain information better and solve everyday problems without the usual brain haze.
Physically, I had a lot more energy. After two weeks of continuously sipping tea, I looked a heck of lot better (even for a twenty-five year old). My skin was clear of acne and radiant. My hair had shine to it, and my body felt firmer and more purposeful. Good stuff.
Stingle nettle at the spa
Now, years later, as the spa herbalist and spa products formulator at the Spa at Sedona Rouge, I include nettles in many of my spa lotions and potions. As part of a natural product recipe or alone as a tea, stinging nettle is therapeutic on many different levels: as a nutritional powerhouse; a detoxifying, slimming, and pain relieving diuretic; as well as a skin and hair beautifier.
Nutrients contained in nettle tea
As I mentioned, after a couple of days of drinking nettle tea, I started to crave my next cup. Why? The herb is a well of nutrition.
If you are vitamin deficient (most of us are because of depleted soils), have problems absorbing nutrients or are prone to acidosis, nettle tea can restore you. And your body knows it.
Nettle is rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C (10 times more than an apple), vitamin B complex, vitamin E, amino acids and beta-carotene (five times more than a carrot) to name only a few. It is alkalizing while supporting the immune system, the nervous system, bone stability, the metabolism and skin health.
That translates into having more energy, mental acuity, disease resilience and radiant well-being.
In fact, this tea is such a great source of nourishment that some herbalists and organic farmers brew it for their crops as a fertilizer instead of using Miracle-Gro.
Nettle tea cleanse
Stinging nettle leaf is a gentle diuretic, helping the body to process and flush away toxins. It flushes the kidneys and bladder to prevent and soothe urinary tract infections.
Nettle tea is ideal for sodium induced water retention and high blood pressure. Its diuretic effect decreases bloated “water weight” and other edema, streamlining and slimming the body.
The herb’s diuretic action also flushes excess uric acid from muscles and joints, helping to relieve arthritic pain and act as an anti-inflammatory. Nettle tea is also effective in treating the symptoms of itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing – common in allergy season.
The beauty benefits
Because of its nourishing, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties, nettle tea is a natural beautifier to skin and hair. It has been shown to clear acne and eczema as well as encourage thicker, shinier hair and new hair growth.
For acne prone or dull, congested skin, I would suggest drinking three to four cups of nettle tea a day for two weeks. After two weeks, take a week off drinking it and see how your skin looks and feels before resuming.
Drinking the tea for two weeks will gift you with shiny, thicker-looking hair. To heighten the effect, you can rinse your hair with it as well. Research has shown that stinging nettle may also be effective in reducing scalp conditions, dandruff and male pattern baldness.
Nettle tea is a must-have in my herbal apothecary; I honor it profoundly. It is a simple plant with the amazing gift of whole person wellbeing. All we have to do is take a sip.
Where to find it
You can buy nettle leaf tea at most natural food stores. You can also grow your own, just make sure you wear gloves when harvesting the leaves. As the name suggests, touching the plant in the wrong way can cause a nasty bite.
How to make nettle tea
Before growing and harvesting or buying nettle leaves, make sure you use the right part of the plant for your needs. Both the roots and the leaves of the nettle can be used to treat different ailments.
Brewing nettle tea is simple. Brew one tablespoon of dry leaf to one cup of steaming water for at least twenty minutes. The tea can be sweetened as you wish. I make half gallons of the tea at a time, steep it at least an hour and drink it as a refreshing iced tea.
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