The Healthy Properties of Nettle Tea

Grasp the nettle -- when it's nettle tea
Grasp the nettle -- when it's nettle tea

One of my favorite herbal teas is tea made from the top leaves of stinging nettles. Stinging nettles are considered nuisance plants because of the painful sting. But these often hated plants are one of the most delicious and nutritious of wild herbs. When I was homeless in England, one of the mainstays of my diet was nettles which I harvested from the wild. Fortunately, I picked a very healthy herb to rely on.

What's It Taste Like?

Nettle tea is very grassy in taste, much like the cooking water after spinach or cabbage is cooked, but smoother and more interesting. Nettle tea was my favorite tea to have with lunch or dinner. It compliments savory dishes and even cheese sandwiches or a bag of chips (crisps in England) very well.

My first cup of nettle tea tasted really freaky. I'd never tasted a tea like it. I think I used to add sugar to it, but eventually didn't add anything to it and really enjoyed the taste.

If you are not used to nettle tea, then only have one cup per day for a week and then you can increase to two or three cups a day. If you don't, you might get sudden diarrhea or painful gas, just because your body isn't used to it. If you drink a cup of nettle tea for the first time and get rashes, sudden itchiness, nausea or trouble breathing, stop drinking the tea and call the doctor. You're having an allergic reaction.

Making Nettle Tea

If you are having nettle tea from teabags, you don't have to worry at all about the sting. The sting (from histamine and formic acids) has been dried out.

If you are harvesting fresh leaves, then you have to be a little more careful. Don't harvest from areas where pesticides or car diesel fumes might coat the plants. Use gloves. Snip the brighter green tops and place in your collecting bowl or basket. Give them some rough chopping with a pair of clean scissors. Place them in your pot or teapot. Pour boiling water over them. Let it brew for AT LEAST ten minutes. This was the sting is removed. Then, you can strain the herbs and drink the tea. And the cooked nettles are edible and good for you.

What's In Nettles?

There's a lot of good stuff in nettles, including:

  • Flavanoids (These are antioxidants that are also found in rooibos (redbush), black and green teas)
  • Iron
  • Vitamin C
  • Malic Acid (helps the cells to work)
  • Polysaccarides (a complex carbohydrate)

What's Nettle Tea Good For?

Nettle tea is a great overall healthy tonic, helping your blood cells build, function and circulates properly. Because of its iron content, it helps with anemia. Nettle tea is an old folk remedy for hayfever. It does seem to help clear up chest congestion. The herb nettle (usually in capsule form) is often prescribed for women with a yeast infection (candida) but I am not sure how to administer nettle tea to that situation.

Although nettles and nettle tea are reputed to increase a mother's milk flow, it is not recommended for pregnant or nursing human mothers. Nettles and nettle tea can often regulate or even stimulate menstruation in many women, so if you want a baby, steer clear or talk to your doctor.

Another reported healing benefit of nettle tea is helping the body heal itself of hemorrhoids (called "piles" in England). One cup of tea - as well as taking over the counter painkillers - is said to help heal them faster. However, I've never put it to the test myself.

And, most important, nettle tea provides a wonderful and interesting alternative to your usual cuppa.

How to make a cup of nettle tea change color. Film by woodlandsforsale

More by this Author

Comments 30 comments

aprilkerr profile image

aprilkerr 9 years ago from UK

I've never had nettle tea but I have eaten nettles. When I was at school we went to the Island of Raasay and we picked and cooked them. I was surprised at how good it tastes. I also saw Ray Mears just cook it over a flame and he said it was delicious.

Becky 8 years ago

Thanks for this info!

chermarie profile image

chermarie 8 years ago from Wisconsin

Good information on this wild edible plant.

Adarsha Rah 7 years ago

Great information! I've had a patch of nettle in my yard for years, and I knew they had something for me, thanks for that!

Kratom 7 years ago

I used to buy Kratom tea in england. They sell it in tea bags in health food stores. It actually tastes very nice. Anyone know where to buy Nettle tea in England ?

Kim 7 years ago

When I lived in Italy a family I knew would make the most delicious pasta using nettles ......... loved it!

Keith 7 years ago

I gave up caffeine about 3 years ago and stumbled upon nettle tea - it is all I drink now - I absolutely love the stuff!

Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

Do nettles always have prickles? I found some plants that I thought were stinging nettles, until I discovered that the stems were smooth to the touch.

Robthom43921717 profile image

Robthom43921717 7 years ago


Good information

I also really like drinking nettle tea and it is very benefictial to health wich is a huge plus.

Sterling Sage profile image

Sterling Sage 7 years ago from California

Thank you so much! I never heard before that nettle tea is good for hemorrhoids, which I've been battling for a while now. Time to give it a try!

gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 7 years ago from North Texas

I like what nettle does, although I haven't drunk it as a tea.

I have used the freeze-dried capsules of nettle, available at health food stores, when I have unexplained itching. It makes all the difference in the world.

I need to learn more about nettle cookery.

leigh 6 years ago

This article is just in time. I've lately become obsessed

to grow my own veggies and herbs. I've never heard of

Nettle..but I'm gonna know alllllll about it....I'm on

a mission to live more "meager" stop being so be energy conscious..and

some homemade herbal remedies will help me avoid the doctor..ofcourse with no insurance..I simply cannot

spend $80.00 - $100.00 on a doctors visit. Of course

common sense will take over when I do get really ill..

but knowing some natural ways to combat illness will be great.

tony 6 years ago

is helpful washing hair with fresh nettle. tony ahmed.

pippap profile image

pippap 6 years ago from Surrey, BC

I'm new to drinking nettle tea; and, your hub has convinced me that I am on the right track. Thanks.

deejmckay profile image

deejmckay 6 years ago from USA

Very interesting article about this herb for tea. What do you think about chamomile tea? I find it soothing at night and it is very tasteful, too.

May 6 years ago

I loved ur article! I was just wondering umm I've heard that taking nettle internally can actaually decrease mensturation flow is this true? Because there are these "brewers yeast + nettle" capsules I'd like to try for my hair, but i'm terrified that the nettle may mess with my cycle. If nettle encourages mensturation I wud absolutely lovee that, but not the other way around lol. If u could please help me and offer any info or advice I will be very grateful! Thanku so much for your time!

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

I never knew you could injest stinging nettles. It certainly sounds like a healthy drink. Interesting hub.

Sue from Leicester 6 years ago

I have just been to buy nettle capsules from health food store, always had nettles as a kid, I would eat nettle soup & experiment with oxo I want to get the energy back that I felt back then. I will take one tablet daily from today & let you know the outcome in 1 weeks time

almasi profile image

almasi 6 years ago

Informative hub

marge 6 years ago

nettle tea IS great to drink for pregnant and nursing women, mostly for the iron content

Maya 5 years ago

Yes, Nettles are one of the few herbs that are deemed totally safe for daily consumption by pregnant and nursing women. I am an herbalist, and I drank gallons of it each week with both babies, all through pregnancies and nursing. This site is the first I have ever heard otherwise, and I don't see any supporting evidence. The only reason nettles would ever increase menstruation is if you are too anemic or physically weak to support proper cycles in the first place. Nettles is tonifying and strengthening, and rich in tons of nutrients, so it will strengthen all your bodies processes. It is also very anti-inflammatory (another wonderful thing for many pregnant women).

HerbalMama profile image

HerbalMama 5 years ago from United States

Mmmmm. I love nettles. Another recipe for nettles: steam them! Takes longer than spinach, but then add vinegar and honey to taste. Simply delicious!

thespicehut-alex profile image

thespicehut-alex 5 years ago from Bellingham

Do you need to prepare the nettles in a specific fashion in order to neutralize the stinging portion of the nettles?

fishinranger 5 years ago

I was just wondering if the plant of mother nature has any afect on asma? They say it is good for other illnesses. P.S. Im not a body Builder

laurie 5 years ago

I read it was great for hot flashes. I am giving it a try. I got the tea bags, I hope they are potent enough. here's hoping!!!

Naz 5 years ago

Imteresting that I just read on another site that it's great for women wanting to have babies or menstruating and here it says to 'steer clear". Confusing info.

Karen 4 years ago

Thanks for the info, heard it recommended for allergy suffers, which I have been for years. Will give it a try.

Shannon 4 years ago

It takes a muscle to fall in love.

Cuoco 4 years ago

Honey with nettle ?! :(

It's so American.

sweta 4 years ago

is nettle tea good for heart patients with grade four kidney?

Submit a Comment
New comments are not being accepted on this article at this time.
Click to Rate This Article