Nettle tea is a delicious and beneficial beverage that helps reduce oxidative stress, relieve pain and inflammation, and lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. It also gives relief from urinary problems, soothes allergies and hives, gout, and improves skin, hair, and bone health. The tea is a detox drink that helps reduce hay fever, boost the immune system, protect the heart, and optimize digestion among others.
Nettle Tea Nutrition
Nettle tea can be quite a strong beverage, and has a rapid effect on the body, primarily due to the flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals found in the plant. Stinging nettle is rich in vitamins A, B, C, D, and K. As compared to leafy green vegetables, it is richer in calcium and magnesium.
Benefits of Nettle Tea
The powerful health benefits of nettle tea include the following:
1. Urinary tract health
Nettle may help flush harmful bacteria from the urinary tract. This can benefit people who have urinary conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH causes an enlarged prostate gland in men. This can cause pain or other problems urinating.
According to one 2013 study, men with BPH who took nettle extract had fewer clinical symptoms than those who didn’t.
Nettle may also help support any medications you’re taking for infections or conditions related to the urinary tract. Talk to your doctor first about any possible interactions between herbal remedies and medications you take.
2. Increases Libido
Nettle tea can be a powerful sexual stimulant. Lignans, found in stinging nettle, combine with the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) to promote testosterone levels in men. Sexual health benefits include increased sex drive, stamina, and the prevention of premature ejaculation.
3. Reduces Pain & Inflammation
Nettle has historically been used to treat pain and sore muscles, especially related to arthritis. Whether using this tea to soothe the pain of a pulled muscle, a sore back, a headache, or any bump or bruise, you can often get relief before you finish your cup. External application of nettle tea can be just as effective, and more direct, but these effects are also felt when the tea is consumed. The Arthritis Foundation suggests that nettle tea may also reduce the inflammation and pain association with osteoarthritis.
4. Improves Digestion
An ethnobotanical survey published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology lists nettle among the wild plants widely used to cure various gastrointestinal ailments. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature of nettle tea makes it great for handling digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, diarrhea, and general stomach upset caused by bacterial imbalances in the gut. It can help kill intestinal worms and parasites as well, bringing your gastrointestinal health back on track and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.
5. Blood sugar management
Nettle has shown some promising effects on blood glucose levels. It may help the pancreas make or release more insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar.
In a 2013 study, nettle leaf extract lowered blood glucose and A1C in a group of people with type 2 diabetes who were taking insulin as well as oral diabetes medications.
6. The power of polyphenols
Nettle is high in plant chemicals called polyphenols. A review of the research on polyphenols suggests that these powerful compounds may play a role in the prevention and management of chronic diseases related to inflammation, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease.
In particular, polyphenols from nettle extract have shown some exciting potential for treating breast cancer and prostate cancer. Plants like nettle also contain potent antioxidants, which are substances that protect the body from aging and cell damage.
7. Improves Kidney Health
The most promising and well-researched benefit of nettle tea has to do with its effect on the kidneys. Nettle is a powerful diuretic. This means nettle tea can help stimulate healthy, consistent urination. This is confirmed in a report by Dr. Eric Yarnell, herbalist and a professor at Bastyr University, US. Stinging nettle is often used under medical supervision in a combination with other medicinal herbs such as saw palmetto and pumpkin to treat kidney and urination problems. It aids in the removal of kidney stones since it flushes out excess uric acid from the blood.
8. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Many people suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which can affect a number of urinary and sexual aspects of their life, and there are a few reliable treatments for it. An eight-week study on BPH patients shows that nettle is effective in reducing the BPH symptoms. The patients also considered nettle tea to be a safer option compared to other drugs. Nettle tea improves prostate health, while also increasing the levels of testosterone in the body. This helps with certain sexual side effects of the condition.
9. Fights Oxidative Stress
Nettle tea has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties. A 2003 study suggests that nettle tea is rich in carotenoids. The flavonoids and carotenoids found in it, along with the high concentration of vitamin C, make this beverage an effective immune system booster. By freeing up your immune system from fighting oxidative stress, nettle tea can work as your first line of immune defense.
10. The Beauty Benefits
Because of its nourishing, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory properties, nettle tea is a natural beautifier to skin and hair. Nettle tea has been shown to clear acne and eczema as well as encourage thicker, shinier hair and new hair growth.
What is Nettle Tea?
Found in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, stinging nettle is the origin of nettle tea and has the scientific name Urtica dioica. The tea is made by steeping either fresh or dried leaves in boiling water. The flowers of the plant are also commonly used in tea preparation. The nettle plant is an anti-asthmatic, antifungal, antibacterial, an astringent, a depurative, a diuretic, a galactagogue, a homeostatic, a hypoglycemic, a blood purifier, and a stimulating tonic.
What makes this beverage particularly interesting is that five of the six main varieties of this plant are covered with small spines and trichomes, which effectively deliver histamines and other irritants into the skin when they come in contact with humans and other animals. This defensive mechanism prevents people from eating or picking plants. If you soak stinging nettles in water, the chemicals causing painful stings are neutralized, making the plant harmless.
Side effects of Nettle Tea
While nettle tea does have many health benefits, there are some concerns. These include:
- Pregnancy issues: It is not advised for pregnant women as it can result in hormonal fluctuations that may be dangerous for fetal development. It can also cause uterine contractions and miscarriage too.
- Kidney stones: Also, if you are harvesting wild nettle leaves for personal use, make sure not to wait too late in the season, as certain harmful compounds increase in concentration at that time, namely those that can harm your kidneys and increase the likelihood of developing kidney stones.
- Blood sugar: It is best avoided if you are diabetic or hypoglycemic as it lowers blood sugar levels.
- Lowers blood pressure: If you have heart disorders or are taking blood pressure medication, it is best to check with your doctor before having nettle tea.
- Blood thinners: Nettle tea has high levels of vitamin K and can interfere with anticoagulant medications (blood thinners).
- Stomach problems: It can cause nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
- Insomnia: Nettle tea should not be taken with sedatives as an excess of it causes drowsiness.
- Water pills: Due to its diuretic abilities, nettle tea is best avoided by people who are on water pills for edema.
Before adding any new herbal remedy to your dietary regimen, it is always a good idea to speak with your doctor first.
Many people feel that some of tea’s magic comes solely from the ritual of brewing it. Enjoying a hot, steaming mug may allow you a moment of reflection or peace. With its nutritional and health benefits as well, drinking a cup of nettle tea now and then may be a smart addition to your routine.