Nettle tea is so beneficial that it is recommended to be taken daily by many nutritionists and herbalists. However, this plant has a bad reputation for being a weed probably because it can grow wild and spread quite easily. Also many varieties sting so its unpleasant to manage. If people knew all the health benefits of nettle they would look at this herb with different eyes. So much so that I recommend growing nettle on purpose – in a container if you want to be on the safe side.
This herb is a decongestant, expectorant, anti-allergenic, anti-spasmodic, anti-histamine, herpetic, galactagogue, diuretic, astringent, pectoral, and more. Nettle has antioxidants, fiber, flavonoids, protein, chlorophyll and carotenoids. As well as minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It is a valuable source of vitamin A, B complex, C and D. All of these compounds are essential in keeping your body energized.
Most people drink nettle tea either by harvesting leaves or purchasing dry leaves that come loose or in tea bags.
It is also possible to take capsules or use it in a tincture. It can be edible once the hairs of the stinging plant are removed (by steaming, boiling or cooking the plant).
It can be used to treat all kinds of conditions which range from anemia, eczema, gout, arthritis, rheumatism, urinary problems, hay fever, sprains, among others. Nettle is also a great plant for both men’s health (prostate) and all stages of women’s reproduction. It is on my list of one of the best herbs for pregnancy and labor, as well as for lactation, menopause, and periods.
In general, nettle is quite safe (just be careful when handling the plant!). Since it is a diuretic, people with bladder and kidney problems should seek medical advice or have caution when using this herb. Leaves and roots can interfere with blood thinners, lithium, diuretics, drugs for diabetes and medications for blood pressure. Those taking medication should also consult with a specialist.
Many beauty products include nettle because keeps your skin flawless and radiant. It also has anti-aging properties that can reduce wrinkles and age spots. Antioxidants found in this plant can speed up the healing process of skin while preventing scars and treating burns. Simply soak apply a product that contains this herb or soak nettle tea in a cotton pad. Nettle can also be applied in an oil form, but make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil since it is very potent. Drinking nettle tea can treat a plethora of skin conditions such as blemishes, irritation, acne and eczema.
The flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C found in nettle tea or capsules can give your immune system a huge boost! At the same time this combination keeps away free radicals and harmful effects of cellular metabolism which cause chronic diseases and cellular deterioration. It also works to fight off oxidative stress which cleans your immune system. This plant stimulates T-cells which help fight infections and pathogens.
Respiratory System and Allergies
Nettle tea is used traditionally to treat asthma, but it can also help with seasonal allergies and hay fever. Its nutrients are very effective in warding off allergic reactions and ease symptoms like sneezing, itching and nasal congestion. Seems like this plant blocks histamine (compound that triggers the body’s response to an allergen) from reaching receptors on the tissue. It also prevents the tryptase enzyme, which causes mast cells to open and release histamine into the blood stream.
Nettle is one of the only safe sources of boron, which is a rare mineral, which is needed to maintain calcium levels. If this does not happen, you may develop problems such as osteoporosis. Additionally, it also provides calcium (you need to have adequate levels of Vitamin D along with calcium to protect bone density), magnesium and iron. Make sure to consult with your doctor if you have a chronic disease.
Nettle tea is quite effective in improving women’s health throughout her reproductive cycle. Herbalist use it to treat menstrual cramps, bloating and other symptoms. It minimizes blood flow during menstruation since it is an astringent.
Nettle leaf tea can be drunk on its self or combined with other herbs during pregnancy. It provides the soon to be mother with so many nutrients and vitamins. Benefits include help with leg cramps, diuretics (to clean the body of toxins), reduction of hemorrhoids, clean up the kidneys (which need to clean 150% the normal blood supply), boost energy levels and improve immunity.
New mothers can drink nettle tea since it stimulates the production of milk, making lactation easier. Women who are transitioning into menopause can use this herbal remedy to reduce the hormonal shift in the body. Studies have shown potential in treating breast cancer.
One of the noticeable benefits of nettle is its ability to maintain healthy kidney functions. Nettle tea serves a diuretic, accelerating urination. It is also effective in preventing kidney stones which was shown in a study done in rats. The methanolic extract of nettle helped lower urinary creatinine levels. This herb can prevent these painful conditions from becoming worse or needing for the stones to be passed or removed.
Another study showed that nettle tea and other preparations could help with urinary tract infections. This herb helps flush harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
Indigestion happens because of imbalances of bacteria in the gut. Compounds in nettle tea can kill worms and intestinal parasites, allowing the growth of good bacteria. Thus reducing factors that contribute to conditions such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation and IBS.
We already mentioned that nettle tea can eliminate and prevent toxins that can harm gut functions. Additionally, this herb is a powerful and safe detoxifier that can eliminate chemicals, excessive salt, free radicals and more without harming your organs. Use it to improve your lymphatic system by removing excess toxins which cause damage to your kidney cells.
Compounds in nettle help correct improper urination which can cause Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in men. This common problem affects men as they age and their prostate gets larger, which can be prevented by stinging nettle. Chemical pathways of the herb can prevent it from getting larger, yet they can not reduce it. Clinical trials combined it with palmetto to reduce the urge for frequent urination and post-urination dripping. Nettle may have this effect since it affects hormones including testosterone. It is also potentially effective in treating prostate cancer.
Muscle Pain and Inflammation
Inflammation can cause chronic muscle pain, gout, and arthritis. Since nettle tea is full of analgesic compounds, it can be a great reliever of chronic muscle pain if taken regularly. Treat a headache or a sore back by simply drinking one cup of tea. It can also help alleviate bruising and bumps if applied topically. Soak a cotton ball in the tea and rub gently.
When taken orally it can help people suffering from arthritis pain, thus decreasing the need for NSAIDs and analgesics. One of the amazing properties of nettle is its anti-inflammatory properties which treats conditions such as osteoarthritis. The same components that cause the “sting” of the stinging nettles, inhibit enzymes known as COX-1 and COX-2, causing the same reaction as nonsteroidal painkillers such as Voltaren, Aleve and Celebrex.
Nettle tea can help maintain adequate blood pressure levels. High blood pressure can contribute to cardiovascular problems. Since this herb has potassium and other anti-inflammatory compounds, it can lower the tension of blood vessels and arteries, while improving proper blood circulation. Thus reducing the risk of strokes or heart attacks.
Blood Sugar Control
Nettle can also reduce blood glucose levels, helping the pancreas make or release more insulin. The plant contains compounds that mimic insulin, but more studies are need to understand how it works.
Nettle for Chickens, Dogs and Other Animals
Farmers have used nettle to boost the growth and immunity of chickens. Nettle is used as an egg colorant, like marigold or calendula, to create a more yellow color, instead of using artificial pigments. Just 6.25 grams of dry nettle per kilogram of feed can be as effective as synthetic pigments to color the yolk. This is due to the high carotenoid content, including lutein, β-carotene and zeaxanthin.
Nettle feed can be used for horses, goats, sheep, cattle, reptile and rodents. You can buy feed or make it by drying leaves. Nutrients such as potassium, iron, silica and calcium improve the animal’s health, as well as vitamins A, B, C, D and K.
It is especially good for our best animal friends: dogs! Dry or cook the leaves before feeding dogs. Nettle’s gut cleansing fiber and antioxidant chlorophyll helps dogs with urinary tract problems, systemic toxicity or digestive disorders. Make nettle tea and mix it with saline solution to rinse the eyes of your dog (can be used for cats too). The tea can also be applied on the skin as a relief for fleabites or itchiness. It also helps dogs with allergies.