The fountain of youth growing in your own backyard

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Photo by Amanda Bear

You probably most associate nettle as the annoying weed growing in your backyard that you shout expletives at when you accidentally brush up against it. Touching the sharp, stinging nettle leaves will leave you with a rather unpleasant rash and skin inflammation, though ironically enough, by ingesting the nettle as a tea, you’ll reap endless health benefits and as a bonus, innumerable beauty benefits.

My sister was the one to introduce me to the magic of nettle tea though I initially was a little hesitant to try nettle as it looked ah… green. But I’m glad my sister is ever so persuasive as nettle tea’s flavor and pleasant taste surprised me. It tasted simply like green tea. And even if a green tea isn’t your go-to favorite refreshment, the volume of benefits will convince you to add nettle tea as a new staple.

Health Benefits

The entire nettle plant is valuable: leaves, roots, stems, and flowers. Incredibly nutrient dense, nettle is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals including calcium, cancer-fighting selenium, immune-boosting sulphur, memory-enhancing zinc, anti-diabetes chromium, bone-building boron, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. I feel like I’ve just listed half of the alphabet.

All of these vitamins and trace minerals in nettle work to detoxify your system and clean and purify your blood. It will help your digestion, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, soothe joint pains, help clear asthma, and treat urinary tract infections.

And, if you’re still on the fence about nettle tea, I say if not for health, then for vanity:

Beauty Benefits

Nettle tea is an incredible anti-aging agent. By regularly adding nettle tea to your routine, you’ll soon notice a new shine, swing, and strength to your hair. Your fingernails will strengthen, eczema disappears, and you’ll enjoy clearer and firmer skin.

Along with the external beautifying benefits, stinging nettle also packs a power punch of energy without any of the negative side effects of caffeine or other stimulants. Nettle helps restore your mood, replenishes your energy, and guarantees you sound sleep.

Make the Tea

Compared to matcha and other current ‘trendy’ herbs, teas, and supplements, nettle has flown under the radar and as such is radically economical for all its tastiness and nutrient dense capabilities. You only need a little bit to make your tea infusion and I find Mountain Rose Herbs has a good price and quality product.

Directions:

  • Measure out 1 cup of dried nettle into a quart-sized jar.
  • Boil 1 quart of water.
  • Pour boiling water into jar with the nettle.
  • Stir mixture. (I use a wooden spoon instead of metal)
  • Screw on the lid and let the tea infusion sit on your counter for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • After you let the tea sit, strain the nettle leaf from the liquid infusion. (You can come up with your own method, but I use either a french press or a regular metal strainer over a pot with a lip for easy pouring)
  • Be sure to squeeze the nettle leaf to extract all the liquid goodness out.
  • After you strain the nettle infusion you can pour your tea back into the jar or into another glass. (The leftover nettle leaves are also great for compost)

The nettle tea tastes great poured over ice. Some do add mint during the infusion process for additional flavor. Another option is to add a little salt, honey, or apple juice for more sweetness though I find the nettle tea tasty without any extras. You can even freeze the nettle tea in ice cube trays to add to other beverages.

If you want to save the nettle tea infusion for later, stick it in the fridge. The infusion doesn’t last for too long so it’s best to drink it up within two days. Not to worry if you don’t drink it in the two days, it’s also a great rinse for your hair.

Cheers to your newfound energy, health, and beauty as you embark on your nettle tea adventure.