Nettle tea has been used for thousands of years to help remedy respiratory and skin ailments, as well as relieve joint pains and arthritis. Even if you are in excellent physical health, a cup of nettle tea can regulate your hormones, soothing your mind, as well as provide a boost of much needed vitamins and minerals.
What makes this simple tea even more amazing? You can easily make it at home!
Obviously, the first step in brewing your very own homemade cup of nettle tea is being able to identify a nettle plant. If you do not know what a nettle plant looks like, a quick internet search will provide you with plenty of visual aids.
When dealing with Mother Nature, always make sure you know exactly what you are dealing with. Some plants look very similar but one may be good for you while the other may be incredibly toxic. When in doubt, ask a professional before ingesting anything.
Once you know what you are looking for, any woods, thickets or even the side of the road are ideal places to find the nettle plant – it grows like a weed, because…well, it is one! The number one rule of nettle plant collection is to wear gloves and long sleeves and to use scissors, minimizing your contact with the leaves as much as possible. Nettle leaves are covered with almost invisible hair-like stingers that leave a nasty rash on your skin. Also, be sure to harvest your nettle leaves from areas not treated with pesticides or are exposed to other chemicals (such as car exhaust right next to a busy road).
When selecting your nettle leaves pick younger plants (around spring time) and trim off the bright green tips to take home (the leaves get increasing bitter with age). The nettle leaves should be washed to remove all dirt and insects and then they can either be dried out for future pots of tea or used right away fresh.
To dry the nettle leaves, layer them on a paper towel and let them air dry. They can then be stored in an airtight container for future use.
There are many recipes available on-line as to how to make the perfect cup of nettle tea; however, these are subjective as some people may choose to use more or less nettle leaves depending on how bitter they prefer their tea. A traditional recipe is to take a tablespoon of dried nettles and to seep it in boiling water for at least ten minutes.
This step must be taken for the full ten minutes in order to deactivate the stingers. Otherwise, you won’t die, but you might get a mild stomach ache or “tingling” sensation when drinking the tea (which you might get anyway, if you have a sensitive system – this should go away as your body builds up a tolerance to the tea).
The leaves can then be drained and the tea safely consumed. If you are looking for more of a power punch from your nettle leaves, you can create a nettle infusion, which is basically a nettle tea that has seeped a bit longer. A suggested recipe is to take one ounce of nettle leaves and one quart of boiling water and to let them soak for, at the very least, a few hours, or overnight in the fridge. Be sure to continue to refrigerate the infusion so it does not spoil (and if it does, it makes an excellent fertilizer for your garden).
The infusion can be reheated to enjoy as an extra strong tea or poured over ice or added to fruit juice for a cold, tasty beverage.
If you love the health benefits of a cup of nettle tea, but cannot get past the taste, adding lemon, honey or simply sugar will make your cup of tea that much more enjoyable for you. Additionally, other herbs and plant leaves can be blended in with the nettle leaves to create your own custom super tea!
A popular addition for those suffering from indigestion is rosemary, which aids in the release of bile to help process fats. Red raspberry leaves combined with nettle leaves can create an amazing tonic for an expectant mother, as both help to alleviate excessive bleeding after childbirth. Test out some marvelous combos of your own!