Updated: Jan 16
Nettle is also called Urtica dioica and it has been used for centuries medicinally and even in some food recipes. It has many uses but is commonly known to be a nutrient-filled plant, thus its use in food like stew or soups. In Europe, it was used to treat people with lung disorders. In North America, some Native American communities used it to help with pregnancy and childbirth.
Nettle tea is beneficial in many areas of the body such as the skin, lungs, and bones, and helps reduce anemia. Nettle is a plant rich in iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and K. The biologically active compounds contained in the nettle plant are a source of terpenoids, carotenoids, fatty acids, choline, quercetin, and more.
Traditional uses of nettle include cleansing and detoxifying due to its diuretic action activated by the flavonoids quercetin and high potassium it contains which help many skin conditions and arthritic problems.
Nettle is a natural astringent which means that it helps to stop bleeding if applied to the wound and helps reduce heavy menstrual bleeding.
Another common use is the treatment of the nettle “stings” with its juice, as the plant itself is filled with small hairs that can irritate the skin. Thus, the beauty of this plant is it treats any skin rashes, such as diaper rashes, hives, and insect bites by applying and drinking its juice.
Nettle is an excellent anti-inflammatory helping any condition caused by inflammation and helping in reducing the need for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Nevertheless, nettle tea is safe to use alongside NSAIDs.
Nettle leaf extracts have shown anti-diabetic activity in animal studies. Diabetes-induced rats demonstrated improving blood sugar levels upon administration of nettle leaf extract. They also exhibited lowered cholesterol levels.
An interesting fact about the nettle plant itself is that the fibers of the plant can be used similarly to hemp and flax to make rope, cloth, and paper.
Fresh nettle leaves should be cooked or dried before eating. They can be used much like spinach or collard in omelets, soups, stew, sauces, pasta, and more.
Nettle tea is great in a blend or by itself. It has an earthy and smoky flavor.