Some herbal teas have been in use for over a thousand of years, so long they need little introduction. Nettle tea is one of them. This amazing plant is not only an important source of vitamins and minerals, but an indispensable plant in both traditional and modern medicine. Learn what is nettle tea and how to make it at home.
What is Nettle Tea?
Nettle tea is made by steeping fresh or dried leaves of common nettle in hot water. Other names for common nettle are stinging nettle or urtica dioica. Although stinging nettle plant is technically a weed, throughout the history, it became an indispensable plant in traditional medicines and an important source of nutrients. Nettle is growing worldwide and is still used as a homemade remedy for many health problems.
Nettle tea can be made from both fresh and dried nettle leaves. However, dried leaf is more common for making tea. Unlike fresh nettle leaves, dry leaves won’t cause a burning sensation on the skin. The less common type of nettle tea is a nettle root tea.
Nettle originates in Europe. Interestingly, the Latin name of this plant, urtica, means to burn. Nettle is most commonly found in nature, especially countryside, rather than in cities. Although nettle may provide amazing benefits, it should be handled with care. If you ever decide to collect nettle from nature, be careful to always use gloves and not to touch it with bare hands. Touching nettle leaves will cause a burning sensation and a rash .
Harvest only the nettle growing far away from roads and pollution. Because of its medicinal properties, nettle is used to treat different health issues, but as food too. You may dry fresh leaves in the oven and store them for future use.
This plant has a very interesting flavor that can be described as both refreshing and earthy, with both hay and green notes, reminiscent of cooked green chard or asparagus. When steeped, it’s richer and stronger than many herbal teas. Strength will depend on the way you brew. Dried nettle leaves will have a milder flavor than fresh nettle. If you never tasted it before, start with a short 5 minute steep first. You may add different condiments or even make your own nettle blend with other herbs.
Potential Health Benefits of Nettle Tea
Nettle tea may provide many health benefits. It has a high nutritional value and may provide very significant amounts of both macronutrients and micronutrients. Fresh nettle leaf contains chlorophyll, vitamins A, C, D, E, F, K, B, flavonoids, and large amounts of selenium, zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium . Nettle is a very good source of protein and fiber too.
Nettle tea benefits include:
- Relieving joint pain
- Treating arthritis, both topically and as tea
- Treating eczema
- Providing anti-aging effect
- Helping with bladder disorders
- Helping with hair loss
- Preventing inflammations
- Providing anti-diabetic activity
- Treating headaches
- Preventing cancers
- Preventing degenerative brain disorders 
- Reducing muscle and joint pain 
- Treating urinary retention 
- Alleviating symptoms of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) 
Although nettle leaf tea appears to be very safe for healthy adults, avoid drinking it in early pregnancy as it may cause serious side effects.  However, nettle tea has traditionally been recommended in the third trimester, mostly to increase iron levels . Always consult your doctor if you have any serious medical condition. Nettle root tea, on the other hand, may cause more side effects than nettle tea, such as gastrointestinal problems and sweating .
Nettle tea is a herbal tea, thus naturally caffeine free. Nettle is suitable for any time of the day or night, as it won’t keep you awake. However, this tea may provide a stronger diuretic effect than other teas, so keep in mind not to drink it right before sleep. Nettle is very rarely (if at all) blended with real teas. However, you can easily blend it with other herbal ingredients, such as rose petals, mint or lemon balm.
How to Make Nettle Tea
To make nettle tea you will need a teapot or a mug and a strainer and nettle leaves. Always use freshly boiled spring water. Nettle tea is steeped longer than other herbal teas, so a strainer or a teapot may be better choice than an infuser, and may result in a better flavor.
Nettle tea can be steeped or boiled. If you decide to steep your tea, use about 1-2 teaspoons of nettle tea leaves per cup of water. Preheat your teapot or a mug by pouring boiling hot water in and out of your teapot or a mug. Place leaves into a mug or a teapot. Pour boiling water over leaves. Cover with a lid or a saucer and let it steep for 10-20 minutes. Alternatively, bring water to a boil in a small saucepan on the stove, add leaves and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink. You may add a sweetener if needed.
You may re-steep both fresh and dried nettle leaves at least once without the significant change in flavor.
To make nettle tea you will needle dried or fresh nettle leaves. You will need a fresh spring water too. Depending on how long you will steep your tea, it will have a lighter or stronger flavor. You can enhance the flavor of nettle tea by adding a bit of raw honey. Lemon goes well with nettle tea as well. Add either dried lemon peel when steeping, or freshly squeezed lemon juice. You may serve it cold over ice too.
Where to Buy
Nettle tea is available from many stores and herbal pharmacies. Depending on your location, it may be available from a supermarket as well. Nettle can be cut into smaller or bigger leaf particles, or even completely crushed for tea bags.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.