Known as a potent panacea herb, nettle was used for thousands of years as medicine that treated a number of ailments – from arthritis and gangrene to allergies and inflammation. In fact, the founder of modern medicine and the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC) used nettle leaf in over 60 of his natural remedies. Likewise, the herb was used by Native Americans as a gynecological remedy, among other treatments.
So, what are the benefits of nettle tea? There are many, and you are in for a pleasant surprise about one of my favorite go-to herbs for keeping the body pH-balanced! For one, nettle is currently used in modern naturopathy to help remineralize and alkalize the body and reverse chronic inflammation – the underlying cause of most modern diseases. The herb is not only rich in essential electrolytes and minerals that provide vital energy for cellular function, but it also speeds up the body’s detoxification and healing process.
What I love about nettle is its versatility and use in various cultures, especially in Europe from where it originates. I’ve personally witnessed its incorporation into cuisine and medicine in Southern Europe – from being steamed and stuffed into various dishes, and being the staple ingredient in soups, to being made into tea and medicine. In fact, raw nettle is often sold in farmer markets in Europe, and I had a blast experimenting with its many uses!
Nettle, The Panacea Herb
Known for its astringent, diuretic, and laxative properties, nettle is the ideal herb for detoxification and regeneration. Phenotypically, it has stings that protect it from insects and predators, highlighting its protective and martial essence. In astrology, nettle is traditionally ruled by the planet Mars, which mirrors its fiery nature and medicinal essence.
But contrary to the belief that its fiery nature contributes to the body’s heat, or inflammation, nettle’s Martian quality enables it to stimulate the flow of fluids and the purgation of acids from tissues and elimination organs. In addition to its eliminatory qualities, nettle’s rich chlorophyll and tannins make-up promote hydration and healing of tissues, making it an all-in-one medicinal cabinet for almost any ailment.
Tannin-containing herbs are known to contract and tighten tissues, dry up excessive watery secretions, protect tissues, stop bleeding (particularly beneficial for heavy menstrual flow) and keep infections in check. Nettle is also abundant in vitamin A and C, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, flavonoids, sterols, and amines (US Department of Agriculture, 2003).
Nettle’s Amazing Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Given that nettle is one of the most mineral-packed herbs, it is no wonder it is incredibly beneficial for inflammation-based diseases. When the body becomes acidic due to diet, lifestyle, emotional/mental patterns, and the environment, it strives to preserve the pH of its terrain (or its survival) by leaching calcium and other minerals from tissues and bones.
Since these compounds are essential components of alkaline chemistry, the body requires them to offset inflammation and degeneration of its cells. In its intelligence, through this compensation, it seeks to preserve all its vital functions by sacrificing the non-essential components.
Nettle introduces essential alkaline compounds that balance out the body’s pH and provides the cells with the chemistry they require to offset acidic degeneration. Minerals are also known as the conductors of electricity, providing cells with the charge they need to properly function and the energy they need to self-heal.
Ultimately, alkalinity promotes youthfulness, health, vitality, and longevity, while acidity advances pain, decay, aging, and death. Both sides of chemistry are required for the body to function, but each element has to be in proportion with the natural law of homeostasis, which is in perfect balance at the 80 alkaline/20 acidic ratio.
Top Health Benefits of Nettle Leaf Tea
Here are some of the most studied and scientifically-backed benefits of nettle tea, and all the reasons why nettle should hold important space in your kitchen cabinet. Let’s look at why nettle is often hailed as a heal-all herb!
1) Eczema and Psoriasis
Eczema and psoriasis are inflammatory conditions caused by thickened, flaky, and oozing skin due to a combination of glandular, elimination organ, and skin weaknesses. Nettle has all the properties to strengthen the function of these weak areas and cool down the skin’s inflammatory responses.
Nettle should also be frequently consumed for improving skin function and reversing the appearance of aging. Since nettle contains silica, vitamin C, the B vitamin complex, and many essential amino acids, it stimulates the production of collagen, keeping one’s skin glowing, firm, and plump.
The best way to utilize nettle for skin conditions is to consume nettle leaf tea internally and make a nettle paste with a carrier oil to apply externally.
Arthritis is caused by high body inflammation, or acidosis, that has started to degrade joints and bones. The anti-inflammatory properties of nettle leaf will lower the overall inflammation levels in the body, helping to relieve pain and restore joint flexibility. Nettle is also ideal for sufferers of fibromyalgia and any other painful conditions.
To treat joint pain due to arthritis, take stinging nettle orally (as a tea, in a salad, or as a tincture) and apply a nettle paste topically to decrease pain in target areas.
3) Bone and Tissue Health
Since an acidic body is the root cause of brittle bones and tissue degeneration, nettle leaf’s anti-inflammatory properties alkalize the body and prevent it from leaching calcium and electrolytes from bones and connective tissues. Nettle is abundant in calcium, minerals, and vitamin K (which strengthens bone density), making it one of the best herbs to help rebuild the body’s structural systems.
For best results, drink a cup of nettle tea with lemon every morning, and use nettle leaf in cooking as a garnish in salads. To complement the regenerative effects of nettle, eat as many alkaline foods as you can throughout the day – mainly, organic fruits and vegetables.
4) Hypoglycemia and Diabetes
According to a study (Farzami et al, 2003), the administration of nettle leaf extract reduced blood glucose by 33% in rats. Likewise, a six-fold increase in blood insulin levels occurred after intravenous administration of nettle leaf to diabetic rats, with a corresponding drop in blood sugar levels as compared to a control group.
Interestingly enough, nettle has the ability to mimic insulin and takes the burden off of the pancreas, giving it an opportunity to regenerate.
By rebalancing the pH balance of the body, nettle leaf creates homeostasis in the body, weakening opportunistic pathogens and parasites and strengthening the immune system and the body’s self-healing mechanisms. Likewise, the alkalizing nutrition in nettle helps strengthen the function of the liver and pancreas, alleviating the strain on the organs caused by the processing of inflammatory chemistry.
5) Kidney and Urinary Tract Issues
Nettle is the quintessential kidney regeneration herb, as it provides the kidneys with the right balance of electrolytes that they require to denature and eliminate water-soluble acids and chemicals in the body. In fact, low electrolyte levels are very common in many kidney diseases.
When consumed as tea, in particular, nettle immediately stimulates kidney function and urine flow. This helps to remove toxins and acids from the body faster, which eliminates the burden of storing acidic urine for a lengthy period of time from the bladder. Nettle likewise treats bladder infections and any urinary tract abnormalities.
6) Enlarged Prostate and Prostate Cancer
A randomized control study of nettle’s effects on prostate health looked at 558 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and showed that 81 percent of the men who took stinging nettle had their symptoms improve significantly and prostate size decrease. Compared to this tremendous improvement, only 16 percent of the control placebo group saw improvements but with no prostate size changes.
The study concluded that the use of the nettle herb is beneficial in the treatment of prostate-based health problems.
Yet another study found that an extract of stinging nettle root was also able to slow down the progression of prostate cancer (Konrad et al 2000).
7) Bleeding, Menstruation & Pregnancy
Nettle is also known to help reduce nose, hemorrhoid, post-surgery, and other sources of bleeding by strengthening the body’s ability to heal and regenerate tissue due to its high vitamin K content. This vitamin is known for its blood-clotting abilities and well as its bone and tissue-strengthening properties.
Nettle is also a wonderful tonic for the womb! The herb is known to minimize the extent of bleeding, cramping, and period length in menstruating women, as it nourishes the womb and minimizes the need for its cleansing.
Women in labor can also minimize pain and bleeding during delivery by consuming nettle leaf ahead of delivery as well as drinking its tea during labor. Likewise, consuming nettle after delivery can ensure a faster recovery.
Nettle leaf contains anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties, which are antidotes to allergies. A sluggish lymphatic system will weaken immune function, causing it to go into overdrive and produce histamine to counteract any potential threat.
Histamine causes uncomfortable symptoms often associated with allergies, such as sneezing, itching, and congestion. Stinging nettle leaves contain histamine, creating a protective effect against allergies.
9) Glandular Function
The minerals and electrolytes in nettle strengthen the function of the endocrine glands, which in the Ayurvedic tradition are known to be the central vortexes of energy in the body. Without electrolytes, the body cannot produce vital ‘electricity’, or energy, it needs to function and stay in optimal health.
The endocrine glands are central directors of bodily functions, letting cells know what to do and creating hormones and other compounds to regulate all the processes. Strong endocrine glands are known to cultivate physical robustness and strong life force vitality. They are also a sign of strong spiritual power and an indicator of a profound ability to manifest.
Overall, nettle acts as a catalyst to “jump-starting” sluggish glandular function, which is akin to lighting an “on” switch on a conveyor belt that runs the whole factory.
10) Hormonal Balance
Since nettle helps strengthen the function of endocrine glands, it is able to maintain appropriate levels of all hormones in the body. Nettle also aids the liver in its multitude of functions (known to be over 2,000!), one of which is to regulate estrogen dominance and excess hormonal circulation in the body.
When there are excess hormones that dysregulate body function, nettle prevents them from binding to proteins, which inhibits their allocation through bodily systems.
Essentially, by lowering inflammation and improving the function of cells, tissues, and glands, nettle helps to keep hormone production in check from its production stage to its excess break-down stage.
How to Prepare and Consume Nettle Tea for Most Healing Benefits
If you get nettle fresh, it is ideal to consume it quickly, since it wilts fast and loses much of its energy and potency over time. This is usually true with all herbs, and the best approach to take is to always consume herbs (as well as fruits and vegetables) as close to their harvest as possible.
If it is summer, the best thing to do is to immediately sun dry nettle leaf and other herbs to preserve their nutritional value and healing capacity. In addition to drying, the sun’s vital energy gets stored in the preserved herb and when consumed in a salad or as a garnish (not boiled or cooked), it will add to the additional healing components of the herb.
This ancient practice of herbal preparation should be revived more frequently in our modern times, since it calls for us to be involved in the process of bonding with herbs from the harvest to the consumption stage (and understanding the cycles of the moon to find the best time to do so). Making our own organic dried herbs is the best quality medicine we could find!
When selecting nettle leaf tea from a store, always choose organic to ensure that the herb is not contaminated with chemicals and filler compounds. This is an absolute must when using herbs for healing!
To prepare nettle tea, boil a tablespoon of dried nettle per two cups of water. I like my teas very concentrated, since that contributes to their medicinal value. Nettle is a great combination herb, and since it does have a strong earthy/grassy taste, you can pair it with my top aromatic herbal choices – thyme, mint, lemon balm, or rosemary.
Next, once the tea boils, keep the boil going for five more minutes on a lower temperature setting. This will ensure that you extract as much nutritional value from the herb as possible. Finally, let the nettle steep and cool for five more minutes before consumption! To get the best benefits of nettle leaf tea, I recommend consuming nettle tea every day for at least three months (preferably, it should be your top herbal remedy for life).
If you would like to consume nettle like other greens, you can cook or gently boil fresh nettle, which will denature its prickliness. It is truly delicious with olive oil and garlic and in stews, soups, and baked dishes. Just don’t overdo it with cooking, since high temperatures always have an impact on lowering the overall enzyme and nutritional content in foods.
If you’d like to buy nettle online, one of my favorite sources for herbs and spices is Starwest Botanicals!
Starwest has existed since the 70s as one of the few all-organic herbal stores in the US. Today, it is one of the largest herbal stores in the country and commits to in-house testing for quality assurance, environmental-friendly waste management and packaging sustainability, solar energy usage, and so much more.
*Please note that Starwest Botanicals is the herbal store of my preference and is my affiliate partner. You won’t be charged anything by purchasing herbs through the link on my website, but a small part of the proceeds of your purchase will help support the growth of my small business. Thank you!
Nettle leaf tea is a great herbal remedy for many ailments and has been used by wise natural healers for centuries for remineralizing and alkalizing the body. Before the pharmaceutical industry took over medicine production and distribution, herbs were seen as nature’s true healers that were honored and respected for their ability to fuse their consciousness with our cells in order to bring them back to their original state as they were created by the Source.
Ancient cultures watched sick animals graze on the fields and documented which herbs they consumed to get better. This observation of nature led to a greater connection to the universe, seasonal cycles, and planetary processions. All was one and every living being had a purpose in the big scheme of things.
By connecting to our food source, we can better understand nature and apply her wisdom to every facet of our lives – including health! If you like what you learned here, my question is: “what are the intended benefits of nettle tea for you?” Let me know in the comments below, and I can’t wait for you to experience them!
In the meantime, I truly recommend checking out my article Healing With Herbs: Herbs as Medicine and How to Use Them for Body Detox to help you discover more about the healing power of herbal medicine.