The history of Nettle Tea
The idea of making a delicious, potentially beneficial tea from the stinging leaves of the nettle plant may strike you as odd. However, as you will find with a little research, nettle tea is actually extremely popular. Herbal tea enthusiasts have celebrated this brew for a long time. You may shy away from these plants while exploring the trails, but you may in fact want to consider what the nettle plant can mean for your enjoyment of tea.
This is, in fact, a highly medicinal plant with a truly fascinating history. The more you learn about nettle tea, and its numerous touted benefits, the easier it will be to see its appeal. The fact that the tea has been noted for its pleasant taste is just one of the things you are very likely to enjoy!
Believe it or not, but nettle has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. It holds a particularly significant prominence in Europe, where it has been enjoyed for centuries. Examples of the tea being used to treat conditions such as a seasonal illness or kidney/UT health can be found in Austria. Arthritis and skin condition treatment has made it a popular choice in Europe right up to the present. It has been enjoying a resurgence of interest lately from people seeking straightforward ways to manage certain ongoing conditions.
Longish tips on the leaves, combined with the striking, serrated edges, highlight this very distinctive-looking plant. It has been also linked as a means of treating symptoms associated with gout.
As for the “stinging” element of the plant, also known by the Latin name of Urtica dioica, this refers to the hairs that can be found along with the leaves. However, not all nettle plants include the stinging element. In terms of which leaves make for a better tea, you will find that it doesn’t particularly matter.
In terms of its medicinal potential, it is worth noting that nettle leaves come packed with vitamins and minerals. The list currently includes vitamins A, C, and K. Magnesium, iron, and potassium can also be found in these leaves. All of these ingredients can be connected to the individual by brewing the leaves into a tea.
The taste of nettle tea is often compared to that of green tea. This is one of the reasons for its popularity. The overall flavor can be described as being on the mellow side. The flavor could best be described as grassy, or perhaps even earthy. If that doesn’t sound very appealing, many find that adding a bit of honey, or even agave, is an excellent way to better unlock the tea’s more engaging flavors.
As we mentioned before, nettle tea contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as ingredients such as iron, potassium, and magnesium. These are just a few of the constituents of the plant, but there are in fact a few more to keep in mind.
For example, nettle contains not only vitamin E, but also vitamin B1, B2, and B5. It offers a nice boost of protein, too.
Manganese, selenium, and zinc are other ingredients you will find here. Both alpha and beta hydroxysitosterols can be found in this tea.
With ingredients such as these, it isn’t hard to see how nettle tea has been connected to a wide range of benefits. Let’s take a closer look at those benefits, which can certainly go a long towards explaining the enduring popularity of brewing nettle leaves into flavorful tea.
With so many beneficial constituents, it isn’t hard to see why this tea is so popular in so many different parts of the world. Let’s take a closer look at the numerous benefits of nettle tea:
- Good eye health: Due to the presence of both beta-carotene and vitamin A, nettle tea has received a good deal of positive attention for its ability to promote good eye health. Beta-carotene, in particular, has been celebrated for centuries as a protector of your vision.
- Pain relief: This is one of the more significant nettle tea benefits to consider. Many of the ingredients of nettle leaves point to a tea with fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used by many over the years as a legitimate treatment for headaches. In addition to this, the tea has also drawn raves for being able to help those with chronic joint discomfort or pain. Arthritis is a good example of this, and that condition, in particular, has led many to try the tea for themselves.
- The power of antioxidants: Another impressive benefit of nettle tea can be found in the litany of antioxidants that are included. Among other perks, the antioxidants in nettle tea can work against the occurrence of oxidative stress. This is essentially when cells begin to fail at functioning properly. Free radicals can then serve to worsen oxidative stress, which in turn can lead to premature aging, as well as a range of neurological issues. The antioxidants found in nettle tea can impact all of that for the better. You should also note that these anti-inflammatory components can be extremely useful at easing the symptoms associated with menstruation.
- Seasonal conditions/illnesses: Are you one of those people who find themselves fighting one minor cold after another during flu season? Nettle tea can help, given its assortment of vitamins, minerals, and the antioxidants we mentioned above. To put it another way, nettle tea can inhibit the enzymes that are responsible for causing your allergic reactions.
- Beauty benefits: On top of everything else we’ve covered here, there are also some beauty benefits to drinking nettle tea that are worth noting. Once again, we turn to how powerfully nettle tea works on the anti-inflammatory side of things. If you desire hair that is shinier and thicker, drinking nettle tea can be one of the things to help you achieve that. It has also been connected to promoting good skin health, particularly in terms of such skin conditions as acne and eczema.
The above list of benefits doesn’t cover the entire list by any means. However, it should be clear to see at this point that nettle tea has a lot to offer. Another nice consideration involves how easy it is to brew and drink the tea. There are also some possible minor side effects that you will want to note.
One of the first things we should be clear about is the notion of nettle tea side effects. In the first place, there are indeed a handful of side effects that you are going to want to keep in mind. None of the side effects of nettle tea are serious. They aren’t even particularly prominent, but there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.
Stomach issues, urinary problems, hives/rashes, diarrhea, and sweating can occur when drinking this tea. These side effects should not be debilitating, but you may want to stop drinking if any of these listed problems occur. The tea can also interact with certain medications, including heart disease and diabetes medications. It may not be a bad idea to discuss whether or not nettle tea is right for you, depending on which medications you might be taking.
Yet another nice thing about nettle tea is that it’s extremely easy to brew. You can use teabags containing the ingredients of the nettle leaves, or you can dry and add the leaves to a cup of hot water. The choice is yours.
If you plan to get your own leaves, you are only going to want to the top two layers. In doing this, you will get the leaves you want, but without causing any actual harm or damage to the plant itself. Try not to touch the leaves too much either.
The leaves can be dried in the sun, or you can add them directly to hot water. Keep in mind that nettle tea can also be purchased in tea bag form.
Regardless of where you get your nettle leaves, the instructions remain essentially the same. You are going to want one cup of nettle leaves per two cups of water. The tea should be steeped for approximately five to seven minutes. As is the case with many other types of tea, the length of time in which you steep your leaves in the water will ultimately determine how strong your brew is. Remember that if the earthiness of the tea is more than you can stand, you can emphasize its better qualities by adding a drop of honey, agave, or even sugar.
There are clearly some impressive benefits to drinking this tea. Whether you gather and boil the leaves on your own, or if you opt to just purchase teabags containing nettle leaves (which are readily available from a wide variety of sources), there is no question that this tea is at least worth trying. Simply remember to pay attention to the presence of any of the minor side effects that we mentioned above.
Nettle tea could make for a great addition to your favorite teas.