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The Stinging Nettle - Nettle Tea Benefits and Other Uses!

Updated on February 1, 2013
Young nettles (Urtica dioica) in the grass
Young nettles (Urtica dioica) in the grass | Source

The Stinging Nettle - Urtica Dioica

The stinging or common nettle grows abundantly in wastelands, woods, hedgerows, banks and gardens, and is native to Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. Although considered a weed by many, the nettle has many health benefits if taken as a tea, eaten (either cooked or raw) or as a lotion applied to sore joints or to the scalp. The nettle has had many uses throughout history, not only for it's health benefits, but also for the fibres in the stalks. In Neolithic times nettles were used to make string, and the Germans made their uniforms for the first world war out of nettle fibres!

Health Benefits

The nettle is highly nutritious, containing a high concentration of vitamins, including vitamin C and B2, minerals, and chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps to build and replenish our red blood cells, boosting energy and improving well being almost instantly, and can be used to treat anemia. The nettle also helps boost the immune system, and it contains anti-inflammatories and natural pain relief, being of huge benefit to people suffering from rheumatic disorders and arthritis.

The yellow root of the nettle has been found to help treat an enlarged prostate, a condition that affects many men in midlife. After taking nettle root extract for a few months, both urine flow and frequency were shown to improve.

Nettles can be made into a lotion or rinse to use on the scalp, this helps with dandruff, improves growth and gives hair a healthy and glossy shine.

The nettle has also been found to lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and is a powerful diuretic. As with all herbal remedies, if you are currently on any medication then you should check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking nettle, particularly if you are already taking a diuretic or blood pressure medication, or if you are diabetic.

The nettle should not be harvested once it has started flowering, as this has been found to contribute to urinary tract infections.
The nettle should not be harvested once it has started flowering, as this has been found to contribute to urinary tract infections. | Source

Nettle Tea

50g fresh young nettle tops

500ml boiled water

Steep the nettles in the boiled water, cover and leave for 10 minutes. Strain and serve. This will make 3 cups that can be drunk through the day to ease the pain of arthritis.

The roots of the nettle, always see your doctor before taking this for an enlarged prostate, to rule out cancer and to check for contra-indications.
The roots of the nettle, always see your doctor before taking this for an enlarged prostate, to rule out cancer and to check for contra-indications. | Source

Harvesting Nettle Leaves and Roots

Nettles shoud be harvested from young plants in spring before they flower. Be sure to wear gloves to prevent getting stung, and cut the top 15cm from the plants. The tops will quickly regrow and can be harvested again throughout the season. The leaves can be dried to store for a year. The roots should be harvested in the autumn.

Alternitively, root extract and dried leaves can be bought from phamacies and health food shops.

Vegetable stock can be made by boiling up a selection of vegetables in water.
Vegetable stock can be made by boiling up a selection of vegetables in water. | Source

Nettle Soup

450g fresh nettle tops

25g butter

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves

400g potatoes peeled and chopped

150ml double cream

1 litre vegetable stock

grated nutmeg to taste

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Melt the butter and gently fry the onion and garlic in a large pan for 10 minutes. Add the nettles and potatoes and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and turn the heat down to simmer for around 15 minutes.
  3. Puree the mixture with a handheld blender, then stir in the cream.
  4. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve immediately

Indian Toilet by Alfred Jacob Miller
Indian Toilet by Alfred Jacob Miller

Hair Tonic

1 large bunch of nettle leaves, fresh or dried

500ml water

500ml white wine vinegar

1 tbsp lavender (or 10 drops essential oil)

The lavender can be replaced with any aromatic herb of your choosing!

  1. Put the nettles, water and vinegar in a large pan, cover and simmer over a gentle heat for 2 hours.
  2. Stir in the lavender (or herbs of your choosing) and allow to cool.
  3. Strain through a sieve lined with fine weaved muslin, and filter into bottles.

This will keep for 1 month, use as a final, leave in hair rinse after shampooing, or apply to the scalp every other night to strengthen your hair.


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    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      Jennifer, It's clear that you know your herbal remedies. Your presentation is thorough and well written. The images complement your words. I especially appreciate the painting by Alfred Jacob Miller; it's one of my favourites by him. Up + UABI.

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 5 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thank you stessily, your feedback is important to me and I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 4 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      oh..i think i've seen one. bt can't tell. you really have the passion for herbal medicine as seen on your writings. great info i love it!

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thanks snowdrops, I appreciate your comments! :-)

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I recently found some Nettle tea at the natural health food store and bought some. I let it steep for 10 minutes and drank some - it's very good! Thank you for this interesting article. Voted up, useful, interesting.

    • traslochimilano profile image

      traslochimilano 4 years ago from USA

      HI jennifer,

      you shared very helpful hub for everyone. I liked it and bookmark it for later sharing with friends. Thanks

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thank you traslochimilano, I appreciate your feedback! :-)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Great information, Jennifer! Voted up and shared.

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 4 years ago from Cardiff

      Great hub! I use nettle tea to help with my hayfever symptoms!

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Nice article on using the Nettle plant for tea and what ails ya.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Thanks for this hub and the recipes, Jennifer. I have been looking for a nettle based hair shampoo or rinse and this will work fine.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I've heard of nettle soup, but never of using nettles for a hair tonic. It's good to know, as nettles are easy to come by here in Peru. They're often used here as a home remedy for anxiety and stress. The patient is actually pummeled with the nettles and walks on the nettles with their bare feet. It sounds like torture to me, but they say it really provides relief. Anyway, thank you for this helpful information!

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      TT, thanks, I'm lad you liked it! Thanks for the vote and the share, all the best, Jen

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      daisydayz, nettles are really useful aren't they... kinda makes up for the stinging thing they have going on.... All the best and thanks for reading, Jen

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Angelo52, Thanks! All the best, Jen

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Phyllis Doyle, thanks for reading. The hair tonic is good! All the best, Jen

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      vespawoolf, that sounds horrific! Let me know if you ever try it and I'll add it to this hub... we could get people pummelling and walking bare footed on nettles all over the world.... LOL... All the best, and thanks for reading, Jen

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