Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is one of my all-time favourite herbs and I wanted to introduce you today to its wonderful benefits, so you can fall in love with it too.:)
I like to think it’s no coincidence that nettle is one of the first plants to emerge from the frozen ground in the Spring. Nature is so wonderful, it shows up at the time our bodies need it the most: right after the long cold winter months.
I could write about nettle for ages because the list of its medicinal properties and benefits is so long, but I’ll stick to its main ones here. And keep on reading below, as I’ll explain how to consume it to get the most out of it.
Some of nettle’s properties and benefits
- Extremely rich in chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals – especially high in iron (with vitamin C helping with the iron absorption), calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin A
- Highly nourishing, rejuvenating, remineralizing and alkalizing
- Highly beneficial for anyone suffering from iron deficiency or anemia
- Particularly beneficial to women; nettle helps to replenish iron reserves during periods, but also helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce PMS symptoms
- Nettle gives energy and vitality – ideal if you suffer from chronic fatigue, have low energy or have a weakened immune system
- Very effective to prevent and treat allergies, asthma and hay fever symptoms (congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing) – taking nettle early in the Spring before seasonal allergies start to appear can be a really smart thing to do!
- When consumed over a long period of time, nettle helps to detoxify the system by gently cleansing the body of metabolic waste (perfect after the winter months where we may have eaten heavier meals or may have been less active)
- Anti-inflammatory, it can help prevent and treat eczema, arthritis, joint pain and gout
- Promotes hair and nail growth
Nettle tea vs nettle infusion
It’s important to understand the difference between an herbal tea and an herbal infusion. An infusion is very much like a tea, only it uses a larger concentration of herb and it is steeped for a longer period of time (overnight or at least 4-6 hours).
If you want to get a maximum of nettle’s wonderful benefits, infusions is really the way to go! Basically, an infusion is therapeutic, while a tea is mainly recreational (of course, you still get some of the benefits of the plant in an herbal tea, but at a much smaller dose).
What you get from a nettle infusion is a dark green, almost black liquid that is super concentrated with the plant’s vitamins and minerals – basically pure nourishment and happiness for your cells!:)
I like to drink about one cup of nettle infusion every day. The recipe below makes enough for about 5-7 days, so I make a new batch every week. You have to allow herbal infusions time to work; I’d recommend drinking it for at least 4-6 weeks to start noticing its effects.
Where to buy it
You can find dried nettle leaves in herbal stores, many health food stores, and online (Mountain Rose Herbs is a great resource for quality herbs in bulk).
Even better, if you have a garden or a balcony, I’d recommend growing your own nettle! I had a plant on my balcony last summer (it’s so easy to grow), harvested the leaves at the end of the season and dried them. It’s more fresh and tastes even better than the store-bought version.
Notes: Nettle is in my opinion one of the best-tasting herbs; it has an earthy, slightly sweet taste. I love drinking it on its own (hot or cold), but if the taste is too strong for you, you can add a slice of lemon or a few mint leaves, mix it with your favourite tea, or even add it to your smoothies.
How to make a nettle infusion
Makes 1 large Mason jar of infusion
- 1 oz dried nettle leaves (30 g.)
- 1 quart boiling water (the size of a large Mason jar) (about 4 cups)
Place nettle leaves in a large Mason jar, then cover with boiling water. Close the lid and let sit overnight (or at least 4-6 hours).
The next morning, strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discard the leaves (place in the compost), and keep the precious liquid. Store in the fridge and drink about a cup every day.
If you try this nettle infusion, please share your experience by leaving a comment below:)