How to Make Nettle Tea?
A Medicinal Overview
The nettle, otherwise known as the stinging nettle, is a plant that has long been put to medicinal and practical use. It is used for a wide range of maladies, including kidney and liver disorders, influenza and as a means of supporting and promoting lactation. Although the leaf is sometimes consumed whole, the most common form is as a tea or tincture. For those who plan to use nettles as a form of natural or complementary medicine, it is typically useful to know to how to make nettle tea.
Leaves: Dried or Fresh
This brew can be made with both dried and fresh leaves. The simplest option is typically to purchase dried or fresh leaves from a natural health food store. An alternative option is to look for a source of fresh nettles: one may sometimes find them at farmers markets, or even growing wild. For those who are avid gardeners, planting nettles as a crop is another valid option.
If using fresh nettles, there are two important considerations. First, one ought to be extremely careful when touching the leaves with bare hands – the name “stinging nettle” is there for a reason! The plant is covered with many fine hairs which can cause pain, irritation, and mild blisters when grasped too tightly. If harvesting the plant by hand, it is generally a good idea to wear gloves while doing so.
The second consideration is also that of a practical nature – tea brewed with fresh leaves will require a greater quantity of leaves than would with dried leaves. One rule of thumb is to to use three times as many fresh leaves as one would use dried: one will need one to two tablespoons of fresh leaves, for instance, but only one to two teaspoons of dried nettles.
How to Make Nettle Tea
Making this tea is a simple and straightforward process – one only needs a tea kettle, a mug, and the plant itself (either loose or in tea bag form is acceptable). First, place one to two tablespoons of chopped fresh nettles, or one to two teaspoons of dried nettles in the cup. Next, heat water until it is boiling, and then pour one cup of boiling water over the leaf. Steep for five to ten minutes. If not using a tea bag, one may wish to strain the loose leaves out the tea cup before drinking. If one finds the taste to be bitter or overly vegetal, one may add sweetener to taste – both honey and agave nectar are common and popular sweeteners.
Any leaves that remain may be used to make nettle cordial. This can be viewed as both an old fashioned treat and a medicinal tonic: nettles are a source of iron and vitamin C, as well as being a traditional anti-inflammatory. In order to make this cordial, first simmer 800ml water and 1 kilogram of white sugar together in a large pot, until the sugar has fully dissolved. Then add three tablespoons of lemon juice and stir. Chop the nettles roughly, and add to the syrup. Cover the pot with a clean cotton cloth, and refrigerate for one week. Strain liquid through cheesecloth. Bottle the cordial, and drink as needed!