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Stinging Nettle Tea: What is it, How & Why You Should Make It

Updated on June 21, 2011

Spring in the northern hemisphere is a magical time. In the temperate climates of Europe and North America, the environment literally explodes into the life, with growth exceeding all efforts to control it.

Amongst this explosion of life, one particular plant stands out – though usually for the wrong reasons!

The stinging nettle. Known for the uncomfortable and sudden sting administered in the form of a mild irritant poison by its leaves, the stinging nettle has a reputation for all of the wrong reasons. With the right treatments though, the same poison that makes stinging nettle such a menace can become an excellent natural remedy for a range of conditions, including arthritis, anaemia, hay fever, kidney problems, or general pain relief.  

Stinging nettles can also be used in natural remedies for acne and as an aid to weight-loss.

This article will show you how to transform stinging nettles into a natural tea.

The Stinging Nettle.
The Stinging Nettle.

What is it?

The stinging nettle – urtica dioica in Latin – is typically considered a weed. Growing to approximately 1 – 2 m in the right conditions, stinging nettles are a hardy plant with a tendency to grow almost anywhere.

Where Can I Find it?

Stinging nettle is easy to find in temperate climates. It tends to grow everywhere, though grows particularly well in areas of recently disturbed soil, road verges, forgotten parts of the back garden, or in an ungrazed paddock – basically anywhere it is not actively prevented from growing.

How to Eat Stinging Nettles Raw!

Ouch! How Can I Stop the Stinging?

Be careful when picking stinging nettle! As the name suggests, being pricked by it does sting – particularly if you are unaccustomed to stinging plants.

Fortunately, there are two ways to stop the stinging from this plant if you become affected in the course of picking it for your stinging nettle tea. The first is to break open the stem of the nettle – again, taking care to avoid further stings! – to release the liquid inside the stem. The liquid inside the stem of the stinging nettle acts as a natural antidote to the irritant poison of the leaves.

The second – and often easier solution to nullifying the stinging nettle’s sting, is to find Dock Leaf – a companion plant to stinging nettle which is almost always found nearby stinging nettles. Break a leaf or two off the Dock Leaf plant, crush it to release the fluids inside the leaves, and then rub the mix on the affected areas of your skin. Relief should generally be almost immediate.

Of course, the sting caused by stinging nettles is not fatal, or even dangerous really – just uncomfortable.

The Dock Leaf - companion plant and natural antidote to the sting of the nettle.
The Dock Leaf - companion plant and natural antidote to the sting of the nettle.

Make Stinging Nettle Tea with Dried Leaves

How to Prepare Stinging Nettle Tea

Stinging nettle tea can be made in numerous ways. Nearly everyone who loves it has their own method. Popular methods include allowing the leaves to dry, blending this herb with other herbs, or even making stinging nettle juice!

For this method though, i’m going to show you the most basic, simple method to make stinging nettle tea.

Find the Right Plant: Ideally, you want a plant that is small enough you can comfortably reach the parts you will need for the tea. I find that younger nettles tend to produce a better quality tea.

Cut Off The Leaves: The leaves are where the principal goodness of this plant is stored. Cut off as many leaves as you feel would make a decent cup of tea.

Boil Your Water and Serve:  Boil your water, add the leaves. You may wish to do this in a separate container, as it’s always difficult to gauge the correct amount of water and leaves you will need for a single cup.

Allow it to Infuse. This is incredibly important! Unless you allow the tea to infuse for at least 10 minutes, the sting will still be there – ouch!

Enjoy! Enjoy the tea that gives so much, yet costs so little.

A Few Words of Caution...

This is a powerful natural remedy. Until your body is used to its effects, you should avoid having more than a single cup per day. Even once you’ve become acclimatised to it, never exceed three cups per day. Ignoring either of those guides can result in digestive irregularities.


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      Reyna 4 years ago

      hi I cant believe how good this stuff is for you!! we have it growing in the back yard like crazy!!! I was pulling it out to plant my tomatoes, Now i want to think twice about it!!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      I like your hub on stinging nettle! I know it has so many beneficial uses and remedies. Thanks for sharing your method of making the tea. I'm headed out to my yard to pick some nettle!

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      emma 5 years ago

      illgive you a hint the first 6 are....


      weight loss

      high blood pressure

      back pimples



      can you find the rest?

    • profile image

      emma 5 years ago

      nettle tea has twelve uses. can you find out what they are?

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      Tony Garrod 5 years ago

      ref the info regarding nettles as having higher iron content than spinach. Does this mean, as with the latter, iron is actually stripped from the body by spinach consumption?

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      Sam 5 years ago

      It is proven treatment for hives. Worked after just one glass of tea for my 1yo child. Prior to that, she had tried every traditional medicine available.