“One day he (Jean Valjean under the name Monsieur Madeleine) saw some peasants busy plucking out Nettles; he looked at the heap of plants uprooted and already withered, and said – “They are dead. Yet it would be well if people knew how to make use of them. When the nettle is young, its leaf forms an excellent vegetable; when it matures, it has filaments and fibers like hemp and flax. Nettle fabric is as good as canvas. Chopped, the nettle is good for poultry; pounded it is good for cattle. The seed of the nettle mingled with fodder imparts a gloss to the coats of animals; its root mixed with salt produces a beautiful yellow color. It is besides excellent hay and can be cut twice. And what does the nettle require? Little earth, no attention, no cultivation. Only the seed falls as it ripens, and is difficult to gather. That is all. With a little trouble, the nettle would be useful; it is neglected, and becomes harmful.”” ~ Victor Hugo in “Les Misérables“.
That quote there was written by the French author back in 1862 and the goodness of stinging nettle was known among people much before that and even then nettle remained an under utilized herb, much neglected and detested owing to its notorious stinging tendencies on being touched. Scientific advent today allows us to know that it is the presence of acetylcholine, formic acid, histamine, hydroxytryptamine, and serotonin on the hairy foliage of the plant that irritates the skin and leaves a man with a twinging sensation on touching the nettle. Perhaps that is the reason that such a supremely beneficial plant remained so neglected, judged by its outer appearances for so long. Our ancestors however, did know of the positively efficacious nature of the plant and employed it to remedy numerous health issues.
Present day research has corroborated that nettle tea is indeed a storehouse of myriad vitamins and minerals that are friends of the human body and that the ancients were correct in their assessment and utilization of the basic nettle tea health benefits. Experts today can gauge the nettle leaf benefits and to what possible extents one can profit from the ingestion of nettle roots and stems. It is, therefore, that whole nettle roots and leaves or powdered versions of it have been widely made available to people, so that one can brew this and reap all the stinging nettle tea benefits. Let us now see some of the benefits of this dark green infusion.
Health Benefits of Nettle Tea
So, what are the health benefits of nettle tea that are so hailed and celebrated? To begin with, nettle is a storehouse of vitamins, such as A, C, D, E, and K as well as the B vitamin varieties of thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2). It also has phenolic tannins. When it comes to minerals, the nettle plant is loaded with calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sulfur, and zinc. Its deep, plush green foliage is ultimately evident of its high chlorophyll and β-carotene content. Moreover, scientists have reasons to believe that it is the polysaccharides or complex sugars as well as lectins or big protein-sugar molecules present in nettle that act as the active components of the plant. So, some of the nettle tea benefits are as enumerated below.
♣As proven by a German study, nettle leaf extract, hox alpha, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and curbs the action of cytokines which induces inflammation and pain in joints. Nettle tea is known to alleviate gout and arthritic pain in patients of rheumatism. Besides nettle leaves also prevents the production of chemicals called prostaglandins which are known to induce bodily inflammation.
♣A storehouse of sterols, nettle tea limits the activity of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgenic hormone that is derived from testosterone. This in turn harnesses adverse conditions such as the enlargement of the prostate gland also referred to as hyperplasia.
♣The lectins present in nettles are glycoproteins that function like antibodies, in spite of not being antibodies. These lectins happen to combat and neutralize toxic antigens in the body. It is, therefore, immunomodulatory in a positive way. The University of Kansas State reinforces that nettle tea does strengthen the immune system of the body. (along with meliorating hair and skin conditions of a person). A Turkish study has proven that nettle is active against at least 9 types of harmful microbes and annuls their effects.
♣The flavonoids in nettle act as diuretics. Drinking nettle tea de-obstructs the passage of urine flow, thus bringing down the need to urinate during sleeping hours.
♣Another advantage of nettle tea being diuretic is that it helps the body to expel increased and unnecessary amounts of uric acid and bacteria from the body, which in turn limits the chances of developing urinary tract infections (UTI). Also, nettle tea acts as a renal detox wherein it dilutes any formed kidney stones, washes toxic wastes and metabolic rejects out of the system, purifying blood by forcing the kidneys to discharge higher levels of water in the process, and also ousts bladder gravel. All this makes it a rather effective depurative. It prevents and cures nephritis.
♣The high iron content of nettle helps patients suffering from iron deficiency anemia. It helps in regeneration of red blood cells by helping the body to produce sufficient amount of hemoglobin in RBCs. For similar reasons, expecting mothers should consume nettle tea as lot of women suffer from anemia while carrying a child.
♣Nettle is loaded with vitamin K, a vitamin which is used for the purpose of boosting blood clotting. It is the presence of K vitamin in nettle tea that not only harnesses excessive catamenial bleeding but also reduces the chances of unrestrainable bleeding during child delivery, and possible chances of hemorrhage in newborns. Pregnant ladies are, therefore, advised to drink handsome amounts of nettle tea during the last few months of pregnancy by herbalist Susun Weed in her book “Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year”.
♣Weed goes on to say, “Since the kidneys must cleanse 150 percent of the normal blood volume for most of the pregnancy, nettles’ ability to nourish and strengthen them is of major importance. Any accumulation of minerals in the kidneys, such as gravel and stones, is gently loosened, dissolved, and eliminated by the consistent use of Nettle infusions.”
♣Nettle tea is known to eradicate worms living in the enteral tract, act as an intestinal wash, and in the process ups the body’s resistive and combating abilities.
♣Nettle tea consumption post childbirth is also considered to be a healthy habit, because this infusion boosts the milk production in lactating mothers.
♣Nettle tea is reputed for relieving people from multiple types of allergies. While some people are greatly assuaged from cat allergy, others with problems such as eczema and bronchial allergies like asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis can greatly benefit from nettle tea by a long-term stimulation therapy. It clears up the respiratory tracts, helps eject phlegm from the body, and aids treatment of chronic diseases related to the mucus membranes of the bronchi. Drinking 3 healthy cups of nettle tea a day can keep springtime pollinosis away, as per the University of Maryland. In fact, one should begin consumption of the tea before the season of allergies commences for optimum protection.
♣Drinking nettle tea can not only treat diarrhea but also relieve patients from the pain caused by venous excrescence at or inside the anal sphincter known as hemorrhoid or piles.
♣Nettle plant is very rich in vitamin C and, therefore, the early Europeans were correct in employing this herbal tea to treat cases of C vitamin deficiency or scurvy.
♣Drinking about 2½ liters of nettle tea for a few days can remedy chronic headache patterns.
♣Nettle tea is a wondrous muscular spasmolyte and magical curative of leg cramps owing to its high calcium content.
♣Nettle tea is known to lower blood sugar levels and thus is sometimes used to treat diabetics.
All in all, the medical benefits of nettle tea encompass all bodily parts. Experts are of the opinion that drinking nettle tea also helps to boost one’s cardiac, pancreatic, hepatic, and splenic health due to its all-round servicing tendencies. So, how do you go about brewing this magic potion? Let us see.
How to Make Nettle Tea
Nettle Tea Recipe
You will need,
- Water, ⅔ cup
- Dried root or leaves of nettle, 4 tsp.
- Lemon juice, yield of a slice
Just get the water to boil, take it off the flame and add the nettle root or leaves to it. Allow this to stand for 5 minutes and you’ll have your nettle tea almost ready. Add the lemon juice and your cup of pink nettle tea is ready to soothe you! Scientists believe that the active ingredients of the nettle roots or leaves get activated when mingled with hot water.
Nettle Tea Infusion
As one of my readers very generously pointed out, you can opt for the nettle tea infusion as well. All you have to do is boil 1 quart of drinking water, pour it into a thick, clean glass jar. To this add an ounce of dried nettles and cover the glass jar. Let this stand undisturbed for approximately 4 hours. After that, you can enjoy this concoction whenever you want. All you got to do is strain to keep the nettles out of your soothing cup of bliss. This process of making nettle tea actually helps to retain all the active components present in the tea. Also, you can consume nettle tea either hot or cold and up to 3 cupfuls per day. Add a little sugar if you like.
I hope that I have been able to give you a rather comprehensive view of all the nettle tea health benefits. Scientific researches are on and soon the experts believe to unearth more wondrous qualities of the nettle. To sum up, it would be rather apt to quote the assessment of Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D. in their 1898 “King’s American Dispensatory”, which said,
“Common nettle is astringent, tonic, and diuretic. A decoction is valuable in diarrhea and dysentery, with profuse discharges, and in hemorrhoids, various hemorrhages, and scorbutic affections, and has been recommended in febrile affections, gravel, and other nephritic complaints.”
So, go enjoy a warm cup of steeped nettle tea with some honey to relieve that blocked nose or rid yourself of the febrile affections pretty soon.