You might know nettle as that stinging bush that gives you a rash when you accidentally brush past it in the garden. But for herbalists, nettle is one of the most beneficial plants in the inventory.
For centuries the stinging nettle leaf has been used both as a food and herbal medicine. An extract of nettles such as tea or tincture is used as detoxification for the entire system.
A medicine cabinet isn’t complete without nettle, for some very significant benefits and reasons that we are about to find out!
Here are the 11 benefits of Nettle tea
1. Rich in minerals
Salts and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium form the foundations of good health. You can think of them like the oils that help to keep the gears changing smoothly. One of the most important benefits of nettle tea is that it is jam-packed with minerals.
Nettle contains hefty doses of iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and boron.
Ok, enough with the periodic table jargon.
These are more than just words that are hard to spell. The absence of these minerals in the body can mean all kinds of problems, such as fatigue, muscle soreness, and overall weakness.
The food we eat today is not as rich in nutrients as it used to be, what with the depletion of micro-organisms in soil and the number of chemicals used to grow food.
Using herbs such as nettle to supplement the diet can keep mineral levels where they need to be. Which minimizes the need to use supplementary tablets – such as iron pills, for example. In fact, nettle tea is the perfect iron supplement for those who are anemic.
2. Pain relief
One of the oldest ways to use the stinging nettle leaf was as a remedy for joint pain. It has analgesic properties, probably because it is high in magnesium. Also, it can be used as a topical treatment over the area that is inflamed or painful.
A headache or a backache doesn’t stick around in the face of a cup of nettle tea.
Both internal and topical use of nettle can induce anti-inflammatory effects. This is what makes it an interesting, yet controversial herb to use for those who experience allergies. Due to the carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals, and proteins in nettle, the anti-inflammatory effect can be felt before even finishing the cup!
4. Lowers blood sugar
There is research that supports that nettle has the power to reduce blood sugar levels. This makes it a perfect remedy for those who experience diabetes. It also encourages the body to produce insulin. It can be used before food, after food or even during a fasting period.
5. Boosts immunity
Did I mention that nettle is also full of vitamins? Rich in vitamins A, B, and C, a warm tea of nettle is perfect for warding off chronic diseases and even just the common cold. The abundance of vitamin C makes it a strong contender for free radicals and other cellular deterioration.
6. Healthy detox for the body
Just like coffee, nettle is a diuretic, meaning it makes your bladder move much faster. This is part of its detoxifying quality, cleansing the liver, kidneys and lower intestinal tract. For this reason, herbalists often prescribe nettle as a way to rid the body of harmful contaminants.
7. Encourages healthy kidneys
As we just mentioned, nettle helps to detoxify, meaning that it helps your kidneys do their job better! Consistent urination is key to kidney health, and nettle can help to encourage that. Since it helps to detoxify, it is sometimes prescribed by herbalists as a way to expel kidney stones. It can even be drunk as a treatment for urine infections.
8. Keeps a healthy heart
Earlier, we talked about the abundance of minerals inside the nettle leaf. Potassium, in particular, is responsible for the dilation of arteries and blood vessels. The nettle leaf reduces any stress or tension in the arteries, promoting the overall health of the heart. This also means that drinking nettle tea can improve circulation.
9. Digestive care
Antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory properties make nettle the perfect warrior against any digestive complaints. For those who experience Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acid reflux or even parasites can use nettle to re-balance gastrointestinal flora.
10. Combats menstrual problems
In the nettle leaf, there is very high vitamin K content. This vitamin is something called a styptic, which is a compound that reduces bleeding. However, there is much more vitamin K present in the fresh leaf than there is in the dried leaf of nettle.
This quality of nettle makes it an excellent remedy for women who experience heavy bleeding during menstruation or even postpartum bleeding. The analgesic effect can also ease any cramping that happens during menstruation!
11. A blood purifier
A cup of nettle tea contains generous servings of chlorophyll, which is well known for purifying the blood. Sometimes nettle is even turned into a tincture to be taken as a blood tonic. It also encourages the production of hemoglobin in red blood cells.
Over to you
This list of benefits isn’t even exhaustive! There are so many, we could barely fit them into one article! Now you know why nettle is such a staple herb in the cabinet of every naturopath!