Date of the last update: 21.04.2023
We tend to avoid the ‘stinging nettle’ on our walks in the woods, but in fact, the nettle (Urtica dioica) offers a great variety of health benefits, and has been used for thousands of years to support the treatment of common health problems. The number of nutrients in this one plant is surprising, and they include vitamins A, B, C, and K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, flavonoids, and antioxidants, as well as several healthy fatty acids and amino acids. Therefore, incorporating nettles is beneficial whether you’re looking to support the treatment of a particular ailment (see the many specific benefits below), or simply to add some variety to your nutrient intake. There are many ways to consume nettles, such as adding the leaves and stems to soups, stews, and other cooked dishes. However, possibly the most simple and common way to get the nettle’s health benefits is by infusing the leaves into a tea.
Table of contents:
- What are the benefits of nettle tea?
- What are the side effects of nettle tea?
- How do you make nettle tea?
You can read this article in 3 minutes.
There are plenty of ways that nettles can support our health, including:
- reducing muscle and joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) properties;
- soothing skin irritations such as eczema and acne due to its antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial qualities;
- acting as a natural diuretic, making nettles a top supplement for urinary tract infections;
- boosting the immune system due to the flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins A and C, and other antioxidants that encourage immune cell activity;
- increasing heart health due to high levels of ‘heart protecting nutrients’: vitamins A and C, beta carotene, and carotenoids;
- lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease due to the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol;
- strengthening bones due to its high levels of calcium, magnesium, and iron; and,
- soothing allergies due to its antihistamine qualities.
Although the benefits are plenty, the nettle plant’s impacts on the body can counteract with some pharmaceuticals and medications. For example, stinging nettles can lower blood sugar, which may be dangerous for people taking diabetes medications, whose blood sugar may become too low. Nettles can also reduce blood pressure, so it should also be taken with care by anyone taking blood pressure medications.
Pregnant women should also avoid nettle tea, as it may cause uterine contractions, potentially leading to premature birth. Stinging nettles can also cause drowsiness, so combining them with sedative medications such as sleep and anti-anxiety medications should be avoided. Lastly, nettles can also interact with warfarin and lithium.
In conclusion – if you’re in doubt, check with your doctor!
Nettle tea has a very subtle flavour, tasting quite similar to green tea, and it is incredibly simple to prepare – simply take the leaves, and infuse in recently-boiled water for 5 minutes. You can either buy the dried leaves online, or even better, take a trip to the woods where you’ll find fresh nettles throughout most of the year (especially in springtime). The fresh and recently-picked leaves are the most nutrient rich, and it’s also a great reason for going into nature and receiving the many mental and emotional benefits that nature provides.
Check out also: Birch Extract Tea: Benefits, Side Effects, and How to Consume
While the fine hairs found on the stinging nettle’s leaves can be a nuisance when out for a walk, the leaves carry an abundance of vitamins and minerals, and can be a great way to support our health naturally, whether to support the treatment of one of the ailments listed, or simply to fill your system with some naturally-occurring dietary supplements. While the benefits are numerous and the side effects are fairly rare, if you have a particular health condition and are considering using nettle tea to support a particular treatment, make sure to consult a health professional first.
Finally, using natural remedies and foods to consciously support our health is also a great way to connect ourselves to the healing powers of nature. To discover more about the wild food lifestyle and its abundant benefits, see our dedicated article here!
- Breus, M. (2022). ‘8 Surprising Health Benefits of Nettle Tea’. The Healthy.
- Clancy, N. (2022). ‘Nettle Tea Is an Age-Old Herbal Remedy—Here Are Its Top 4 Health Benefits (and How to Make It at Home)’. Real Simple.
- Healthline (2023). ‘6 Evidence-Based Benefits of Stinging Nettle’. Healthline
- Nutra Tea (2022). ‘6 Amazing Benefits of Nettle Tea’. Nutra Tea.
- Sencha Tea Bar (n/d). ‘Benefits, Brewing Instructions, and Side Effects of Nettle Tea’. Sencha Tea Bar.