Nettle tea has been used as a natural folk remedy for centuries. Also referred to as stinging nettle, the botanical is known for its tonic properties. It is rich in a number of nutrients, including calcium, vitamin K, beta carotene, and iron.
Nettle is sold in dry-leaf form or in pre-made tea bags. Though, you can easily gather your own nettle, as long as you have a pair of thick gloves (to avoid skin irritation) and a pair of gardening scissors. Nettles lose their sting once they’re added to boiling water to make tea.
While nettle tea has a long history of use as an herbal elixir, the plant has not been widely studied, so there’s little scientific information available to back up the many health claims. Still, for those believing in its curative properties, stinging nettle is used to help ease a number of infections, allergies and disorders, including:
It is important to note that nettle should never be used as a replacement for seeking advice and care from your doctor. Rather, the herbal brew should be viewed as a supportive treatment.
In many countries, the drinking the herbal tea serves as a general tonic to improve health, strengthen the immune system, and detoxify the body. Because nettle tea is a diuretic, it can be used to stimulate the kidneys to cleanse themselves and eliminate toxins. The plant is now being studied as a potential treatment for rheumatism and gout.
Stinging nettle contains an impressive amount of nutrients. A cup of tea contains 500+ percent of your daily needs of vitamin K, 43 percent of your daily requirements of calcium, and 36 percent of the daily needs of vitamin A.
It also contains vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and folate. That single cup also provides you with 25 percent of your daily fiber needs.
How to Drink the Tea
The brew from nettle has a bitter taste – somewhat similar to mustard greens but "wilder" – that might put some people off. You can soften the flavor by adding a touch of lemon or some honey.
The longer you steep nettle leaves or tea bags in boiling water, the stronger and bitter the tea will turn out. If you haven't tried drinking the brew before, start with a lighter infusion.
Cold tea might be easier to drink than hot tea if you’re not used to the flavor, especially when you add a touch of sugar. Because the tea is a diuretic, don’t drink more than two or three cups per day.