Nettle leaves are popularly used in herbal medicine and tinctures to reduce allergy symptoms, treat urinary tract infections, and reduce pain. The leaves are a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants that also make it a great-tasting tea. The earthy flavor of nettle tea pairs well with the addition of citrus, sweet, and bulk herb flavors so you can brew this tea dozens of ways to enhance or elicit new tastes. Learn how to make nettle tea with these handy tips and quick recipes.
Nettle tea is made from the leaves of the stinging nettle plant known by the botanical name Urtica dioica. The nettle root is also sometimes used to brew tea though it has a much more bitter flavor that nettle infusions made with leaves. The plant is native to Europe and can be found throughout North America. The nettle leaves feature delicate spines that can cause skin irritation when touched, but the infusion in boiling water neutralizes the sting of the plant. The tea can be brewed using fresh nettle leaves or dried nettles leaves — the latter doesn’t have any stinging properties.
This herbal tea features a flavor similar to green tea. It has grassy and earthy notes with hints of hay and an underlining nutty note. The tea can have an astringent note and many people brew it with a dash of honey or brown sugar to help balance out the flavor.
Nettle tea has been associated with health benefits thanks to a high concentration of antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows the tea may help to modulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels thanks to the presence of phenolic compounds (1). Stinging nettle tea may also help to alleviate symptoms of benign hyperplasia — also known as an enlarged prostate — which can cause urinary tract infections and kidney issues (2). Other benefits of nettle tea may include a reduced risk of infection, joint pain reduction, improved hay fever symptoms, and better overall vision health.
Nettle tea can be consumed regularly with few side effects. Always talk to a qualified healthcare professional or an herbalist before using the herbal tea if you are taking any medications.
To grow stinging nettle plants, look for a spot in your yard that has full sun. Some shade is ok, but these plants thrive when they have several hours of sunlight each day. Plant the nettle roots in rich, moist soil. These plants also benefit from nitrogen-rich soils so you may need to add some fertilizer to the roots depending on the composition of your garden soil.
If you want to make nettle tea using fresh leaves, you'll need to start by harvesting the leaves. Since the plant has stinging hairs that can cause irritation, it's important to wear gloves when handling the stinging nettle leaves. It's also a good idea to wear long sleeves and long pants as you may accidentally brush the plant when you go to harvest nettle leaves.
The best time to harvest nettle leaves is in late spring or early summer. The leaves should be removed before the flower blossoms. If you harvest leaves after the plant blooms, the leaves with have a stronger bitter flavor. Try to cut the leaves about three inches from the ground just above new offshoots. This will help encourage the plant to produce more leaves.
Stinging nettle tea contains antioxidants and polyphenols as well as vitamin C that may help to support immune system health and make this tea a popular natural remedy. A cup of this tea may help improve symptoms of seasonal allergies and reduce pain by decreasing inflammation. The tea also offers a delicious flavor with hints of grassy and earthy notes that can help you relax and unwind.
Pick up some dried nettle leaves or nettle tea bags from the health food store for easy brewing or make your own at home by harvesting nettle plants in your yard. With these handy recipes, you'll be able to brew a cup of nettle tea that suits your flavor preferences. Settle into a cozy corner and enjoy all this herbal tea has to offer.