Sip on nettle tea for antioxidants, anti-inflammation, and more therapeutic perks.
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Nettle tea benefits and recipe: nettle infusion tea on a green background
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Nettle, or stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), is an herbaceous flowering plant that has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years due to its medicinal and nutritional properties. You've probably passed by these wild herbs while out on a walk or hike. Nettle plants feature long, flat, rough-edged green leaves and long stems that can grow 6 to 8 feet tall. The leaves and stems are covered in tiny hairs with tips that come off and sting when touched. If you've ever brushed your bare skin against a bunch of nettles, you'll have noticed a burning rash and discomfort caused by the stinging liquid given off by these micro-hairs on contact.

But don't hold a grudge against nettle just yet, as this plant has been found to hold many health benefits when consumed as a powder, tincture, or tea. It's well documented that all parts of nettle—flowers, stems, roots and leaves—have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial value, according to research published in the journal Molecules.

Nettle Tea Health Benefits

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1 Nettle tea contains disease-fighting antioxidants.

Nettle tea has an abundance of antioxidants in the form of carotenoids, terpenoids, and polyphenols, powerful antioxidants found in many plants. "Polyphenols play a powerful role in the prevention and management of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease," says Sarah Mirkin, RDN, CPT.

2 Nettle tea may help manage allergy symptoms.

A study from 2017 found that nettle helped mitigate allergy symptoms like sniffles, stuffiness, and sneezing. Mirkin explains this is due to nettle's anti-histamine properties, specifically its ability to block certain histamine receptors and enzymes involved in the inflammatory allergic response.

3 Nettle tea reduces inflammation.

"Studies show that nettles can help with inflammatory conditions such as muscle pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, and irritable bowel disease," Mirkin says. Research has also found positive results in those with cardiovascular disorders, such as lowering blood pressure.

4 Nettle tea provides a dose of key nutrients.

The herb nettle is full of healthy vitamins and nutrients, Mirkin says, and nettle tea is rich in micronutrients like carotene, vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, alpha-linolenic acid, antioxidant flavonoids, and phenolic compounds.

Should anyone avoid nettle tea?

As is true when incorporating any new herbal remedy into your diet, there are a few precautions to know before brewing yourself a cup of nettle tea. According to Laura Lewis Mantell, M.D., unhealthy interactions can potentially occur with certain prescription drugs. If you're on blood thinner medication, medication to lower blood sugar, diuretic medication or NSAIDS, for example, Dr. Mantell says you should check with your doctor before drinking nettle tea. Finally, if you're pregnant, consult with your doctor before consuming the herb nettle. 

Try This Nettle Tea Recipe 

Here's a step-by-step recipe from Mirkin to help you add nettle tea to your healthy living plan. And don't worry—the cooking process gets rid of the stinging properties. Here's what you'll need for a serving of 4: 

  • 2 ounces dried nettle leaves 
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 pinch of dried peppermint

Bring the water to a boil. Place the nettles in a mason jar or glass container, and fill it with boiling water. Allow the herbs to steep in the water for at least four, and up to 12 hours. Strain them from the infusion using a fine-mesh sieve or tea strainer. Add a pinch of salt to improve the taste if desired. The longer the leaves steep, the stronger the tea will taste and the more potent its medicinal benefits will be, Mirkin says. Drink right away, or store the strained tea in the fridge for up to three days. 

You can also purchase dried nettle or nettle tea online at companies such as Starwest Botanicals and Mountain Rose Herbs, adds Mirkin.