Making stinging nettle tea

Contents

The Beauty and Benefits of Nettle Tea

Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in January 2013. We decided to update it to include more tips and helpful information about nettle tea. Enjoy!

Stingle Nettle leaves in the wild

Thanks to my sister, I’m a huge fan of stinging nettles. She introduced me to this fascinating green a few years ago.

She would take me into the woods to forage them on Vashon Island in Washington, and cook them up in delicious pasta or dehydrate them to make hot or cold nettle tea.

So naturally, when Robin Harrington, spa herbalist and formulator at the Spa at Sedona Rouge in Sedona, Arizona, got in touch about her experience with nettles, my ears perked up.

Robin shared her knowledge of the physical, mental and emotional benefits of the tea.

Here, Harrington writes about her love for nettles and everything nettle tea has to offer, perfect for National Hot Tea Month.

The Fascinating Beauty of Nettle Tea and Its Remarkable Total Body Benefits

By Robin Harrington

What is Nettle Tea?

My first homework assignment in herbal medicine school was to choose one herb and really get to know it. I chose Urtica dioica, the stinging nettle.

Stinging nettle is a member of the mint family, known for its stinging hairs that deliver a formic acid bite to the unlucky soul who touches the fresh plant. Luckily, the formic acid dissipates when dried.

Nettle tea is made from those dried leaves and has been used since antiquity for its healing properties and fibers.

Physical, mental, and emotional benefits

For two weeks I drank a really strong infusion of nettle tea and kept a journal of how I felt physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I found after two days of imbibing nettle tea I was craving my next cup. After one week my mind felt clearer. I could retain information better and solve everyday problems without the usual brain haze.

Physically, I had a lot more energy. After two weeks of continuously sipping tea, I looked a heck of lot better (even for a twenty-five year old). My skin was clear of acne and radiant. My hair had shine to it, and my body felt firmer and more purposeful. Good stuff.

Stingle nettle at the spa

Now, years later, as the spa herbalist and spa products formulator at the Spa at Sedona Rouge, I include nettles in many of my spa lotions and potions. As part of a natural product recipe or alone as a tea, stinging nettle is therapeutic on many different levels: as a nutritional powerhouse; a detoxifying, slimming, and pain relieving diuretic; as well as a skin and hair beautifier.

Nutrients contained in nettle tea

As I mentioned, after a couple of days of drinking nettle tea, I started to crave my next cup. Why? The herb is a well of nutrition.

If you are vitamin deficient (most of us are because of depleted soils), have problems absorbing nutrients or are prone to acidosis, nettle tea can restore you. And your body knows it.

Nettle is rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C (10 times more than an apple), vitamin B complex, vitamin E, amino acids and beta-carotene (five times more than a carrot) to name only a few. It is alkalizing while supporting the immune system, the nervous system, bone stability, the metabolism and skin health.

That translates into having more energy, mental acuity, disease resilience and radiant well-being.

In fact, this tea is such a great source of nourishment that some herbalists and organic farmers brew it for their crops as a fertilizer instead of using Miracle-Gro.

Nettle tea cleanse

Stinging nettle leaf is a gentle diuretic, helping the body to process and flush away toxins. It flushes the kidneys and bladder to prevent and soothe urinary tract infections.

Nettle tea is ideal for sodium induced water retention and high blood pressure. Its diuretic effect decreases bloated “water weight” and other edema, streamlining and slimming the body.

The herb’s diuretic action also flushes excess uric acid from muscles and joints, helping to relieve arthritic pain and act as an anti-inflammatory. Nettle tea is also effective in treating the symptoms of itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing – common in allergy season.

The beauty benefits

Because of its nourishing, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties, nettle tea is a natural beautifier to skin and hair. It has been shown to clear acne and eczema as well as encourage thicker, shinier hair and new hair growth.

Acne treatment

For acne prone or dull, congested skin, I would suggest drinking three to four cups of nettle tea a day for two weeks. After two weeks, take a week off drinking it and see how your skin looks and feels before resuming.

Hair care

Drinking the tea for two weeks will gift you with shiny, thicker-looking hair. To heighten the effect, you can rinse your hair with it as well. Research has shown that stinging nettle may also be effective in reducing scalp conditions, dandruff and male pattern baldness.

Nettle tea is a must-have in my herbal apothecary; I honor it profoundly. It is a simple plant with the amazing gift of whole person wellbeing. All we have to do is take a sip.

Where to find it

You can buy nettle leaf tea at most natural food stores. You can also grow your own, just make sure you wear gloves when harvesting the leaves. As the name suggests, touching the plant in the wrong way can cause a nasty bite.

How to make nettle tea

Before growing and harvesting or buying nettle leaves, make sure you use the right part of the plant for your needs. Both the roots and the leaves of the nettle can be used to treat different ailments.

Brewing nettle tea is simple. Brew one tablespoon of dry leaf to one cup of steaming water for at least twenty minutes. The tea can be sweetened as you wish. I make half gallons of the tea at a time, steep it at least an hour and drink it as a refreshing iced tea.

How to Make Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf tea is something I went many a year without knowing about, perhaps you’re in the same boat I was in. Get ready my friend!

Almost all of my life I’ve viewed stinging nettles as, well, a stinging nettle. I mean, those suckers can pack a zinger. Building forts as kids we always managed to get zapped by one of those pesky plants. They like to invade the yard and are a nuisance. Or so I thought.

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional or doctor. None of the statements on this site are approved by the FDA. If you have any concerns or questions, please consult your medical physician before use.

Nettle Leaf Medicinal Purposes

Nettle leaf is truly amazing. It is packed, I mean packed with vitamins and minerals, specifically:

  • vitamins A, C, K and several of the B’s.
  • antioxidants (hello boosting the immune system and fighting off free radicals)
  • minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium
  • amino acids
  • polyphenols

That’s a whole lot of goodness, but wait, there’s more!

Some of the most common medicinal uses for nettle leaf is to help aid:

  • seasonal allergies
  • prostate issues as it can help increase urination
  • decreasing inflammation

How can you harvest your own nettle leaf and make your own nettle leaf tea?

Harvest nettle leaves in the spring. It’s preferable to harvest the leaves before the nettles go to seed. Wear gloves and protective clothing, longs sleeves, pants, etc. Always harvest leaves where there’s no worry of chemicals or weed spray, aka, not next to a busy road way, or any road way that’s maintained by the county or government, it’s most likely been sprayed or has pollution from motor vehicles.

Rinse off nettle leaves. Lay out to dry on an absorbent towel.

How to Make Nettle Leaf Tea Concentrate

  1. Place approximately a cup of fresh leaves in a Mason jar.
  2. Pour water just off the boil (make sure your Mason Jar is warm first, I rinse mine in hot water, right before putting in the leaves and water)
  3. Cover with a coffee filter or cheesecloth.
  4. Let sit for about 10 hours or overnight.
  5. Strain, and drink a cup at a time over the next two days. Store it in the fridge.

How to Make Nettle Lea Tea

  1. Place about 2 teaspoons of dried leaves in a tea strainer.
  2. Pour boiling water over it and let it seep for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Sip and enjoy!

I like a cup in the morning and a cup in the evening.

You can dry nettle leaves as you would any herb. Here’s my tutorial on drying herbs.

Resources for Making Nettle Leaf Tea

Not convinced you want to pick these prickly stingers yourself? No problem, you can order nettle leaves in bulk here.

Or grab it in premade tea bags to try it out first. Nettle Leaf Tea Bags

Do you use any herbs medicinally?

While stinging nettle may sound like a dangerous plant, it can be prepared into a supplement with potential benefits against inflammation, allergies, and arthritis. Although it is considered safe, stinging nettles has its risks and side effects as well.

What is Stinging Nettle?

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is an herb native to parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. Civilizations as old as Ancient Greece used this plant for its medicinal properties, though our modern names for it come from the Anglo-Saxon “noedl” (needle) and the Latin “urtica” (to burn) .

Stinging nettle has been used as a food, fabric, medicine, and cosmetics for thousands of years. Its wide array of uses includes everything from enhancing male health to easing nasal congestion .

Touching the leaves of a wild stinging nettle can cause skin irritation. However, when processed for consumption, the nettle’s stinging hairs are crushed, cooked, or boiled in a way that eliminates their stinging abilities and makes them safe for consumption .

Stinging nettle is a spiny, irritating herb that has been used for food, fabric, medicine, and cosmetics for thousands of years. It must be processed, with the spines removed, to be safe for consumption.

Snapshot of Stinging Nettle

Proponents:

  • Reduces arthritis pain
  • May relieve benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • May decrease blood pressure and blood sugar
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Other possible benefits for testosterone, water retention, and healing

Skeptics:

  • Stinging spines may cause a rash
  • Rare allergic reactions to raw juice or purée
  • May have dangerous drug interactions
  • May worsen conditions with too much testosterone

Components

Bioactive Compounds of Leaves

Stinging nettle contains multiple bioactive compounds responsible for its health and antioxidant effects. These include :

  • Quercetin, an antioxidant and anti-diabetic compound
  • Rutin, closely related to quercetin
  • Kaempferol, a potent anti-inflammatory compound
  • Quinic acid, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound
  • Caffeic acid, another strong antioxidant
  • Choline, a vital nutrient with anti-inflammatory properties
  • Lecithin, a healthy fat that may help reduce cholesterol

Bioactive Compounds of Root

Stinging nettle root has a significantly different chemical profile than the leaves, with about half the quinic acid and almost no caffeic acid by comparison. However, the roots also contain some compounds not found in the leaves, such as fatty acids, plant sterols, secoisolariciresinol, vanillin, and scopoletin .

The compounds in nettle root may protect against heart disease, affect the brain, and reduce cholesterol. The root is also particularly effective against benign prostatic hyperplasia .

Nutritional Value

Fresh stinging nettle plants contains many valuable vitamins and nutrients, including provitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, and iron. It also contains oxalates, which will bind to these minerals and reduce their absorption .

Stinging nettle is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and other active compounds. Its roots and leaves have significantly different chemical profiles from one another.

Mechanism of Action

Stinging nettle is an antioxidant: it blocks the oxidation of fats, linoleic acid, deoxyribose, and muscle proteins, thereby protecting many tissues from oxidative stress .

Stinging nettle reduces inflammatory cytokine release and reduces inflammatory biomarkers like TNF-a, IL-1, IL-6, and hs-CRP. It also interferes with the way the body sends pain signals and decreases the sensation of pain .

These anti-inflammatory effects appear to also help allergies, reduce nasal congestion, help with arthritis, and more .

Why Touching a Wild Nettle Hurts

If you see a stinging nettle plant growing wild, don’t touch it without gloves! Nettle leaves and stems are covered with tiny, stinging hairs called trichomes, which will pierce your skin and inject an irritating fluid containing formic acid, histamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. Histamine is an inflammatory compound that will make your skin red and irritated, and formic acid is the chemical that causes pain from ant and bee stings .

Proper preparation of stinging nettle leaves deactivates the formic acid. A high-quality stinging nettle leaf product will not contain anywhere near enough formic acid to cause concern .

The spines of stinging nettle contain formic acid, histamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin, which together cause pain and inflammation on contact with skin.

Health Benefits of Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use and generally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.

Possibly Effective For

1) Arthritis and Pain

Stinging nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties could potentially help relieve arthritis symptoms. A combination of stinging nettle leaf extract and devil’s claw significantly reduced symptoms of arthritis compared to a placebo in a 12-week study of 92 arthritis patients .

These arthritis-relieving properties may be due to nettle’s ability to inhibit the activation of a protein called NF-κB, which would otherwise increase the production of inflammatory compounds. NF-κB is often overactive in people with arthritis .

Stinging nettle is often used by traditional practitioners. Urtication, also known as ‘flogging with nettles,’ is a technique where users apply raw, unprocessed stinging nettle leaves or stems to the body to generate inflammation. This has been used since Ancient Roman times for relieving chronic rheumatism, but researchers have only just begun to investigate its effectiveness .

There is also evidence that using stinging nettle leaves topically can help relieve pain in those with:

  • Lower back pain
  • Thumb pain
  • Knee pain

A traditional practice called urtication, by which people rub raw stinging nettle leaves onto their skin to relieve rheumatic pain. Clinical studies have found evidence that this process could work.

Insufficient Evidence For

The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of stinging nettle for any of the below-listed uses. Remember to speak with a doctor before using stinging nettle, and never use it in place of something your doctor recommends or prescribes.

2) Allergies (Hay Fever)

Taking stinging nettle leaf extracts help decrease allergies. Scientists believe this may be due to the plant’s ability to reduce histamine production and inflammatory markers.

Both freeze-dried nettle leaves and nettle tea may also help with nasal allergies and allergic reactions .

In one study, 57% of patients were said to have rated nettle as ‘effective’ in helping allergies, with 48% even saying nettle was more effective than allergy medications they had used previously .

However, stinging nettle also contains histamine – especially the leaves and hairs. More research is required to fully understand how this plant can reduce mast cell activation despite containing histamine. Many of its other bioactive compounds likely act together to achieve an altogether allergy-relieving effect .

Stinging nettle leaf extract and tea have been found to reduce allergic reactions.

3) Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition wherein the prostate gland becomes enlarged, usually due to age. This can cause difficulty urinating and various other symptoms, including sexual dysfunction .

Stinging nettle root extracts are among the most popular herbal remedies used to ease the symptoms of enlarged prostates, though the evidence is still considered insufficient for medical use .

A review of several studies showed that stinging nettle root extract effectively improves the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, with a low risk of negative effects or toxicity .

In a study of 246 BPH patients, a special extract of stinging nettle safely and effectively reduced the adverse effects of prostate enlargement when compared to placebo .

In another 6-month study of 558 people, stinging nettle roots significantly improved multiple measures of prostate health, including :

  • Relief of lower urinary tract
  • Maximum urinary flow rate
  • Residual urine volume
  • Prostate size
  • International Prostate Symptom Score

Another study combined stinging nettle and saw palmetto extract. It was as effective as and better tolerated than the prescription drug finasteride, which is used to treat enlarged prostates .

The inhibiting effects of stinging nettle root extracts were also demonstrated in rats and mice with induced large prostates .

Note that stinging nettle root has been significantly more effective than leaf or stem in studies of people with BPH. This may be due to high lignan content, which the leaves don’t contain.

Larger and more robust studies with standardized extracts and preparations will be required to determine the role of stinging nettle in BPH.

Stinging nettle root extracts have emerged as a promising remedy for benign prostatic hyperplasia, though additional research is required before it can be broadly recommended.

4) Blood Sugar

Stinging nettle leaves and stems – but not roots – may help decrease blood sugar. Chemicals in nettle leaves appear to trigger the release of insulin and other compounds that reduce blood sugar .

In a study of 92 subjects, stinging nettle extract decreased fasting blood sugar levels and other blood sugar levels when compared with the placebo .

Stinging nettle also decreased blood sugar and increased insulin in rat studies .

A leaf extract of stinging nettle improved blood sugar balance in mice and helped with insulin resistance, which delayed the onset of type 2 diabetes .

Stinging nettle leaf and stem extracts have decreased blood sugar in small human studies.

5) Inflammation

In a study of 37 arthritis patients, combining stinging nettle tea with diclofenac (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID) enhanced the drug’s anti-inflammatory effects .

In mouse immune cells (macrophages), stinging nettle extract was as effective at reducing inflammation as celastrol from thunder god vine. Both were powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories .

Nettle also inhibited human leukocyte elastase, which is known to increase inflammation .

Stinging nettle leaf extracts contain active compounds that block inflammatory markers. In one human study, stinging nettle and an NSAID reduced inflammation more than the NSAID alone.

Animal & Cell Research (Lacking Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of stinging nettle for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.

6) Free Testosterone

Free testosterone is the available blood testosterone, not bound to sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG. The less testosterone that’s bound to SHBG, the more free testosterone is available for the body to use. Testosterone bound to SHBG is unusable to the body .

Stinging nettle roots contain substances called ligans, which bind to SHBG. This reduces the amount of SHBG that can bind testosterone; hence, while nettle does not increase total testosterone in the blood, it may increase available testosterone. Bodybuilders have traditionally used similar plant substances to increase free testosterone .

Multiple cell studies have shown that lignans from stinging nettle roots reduced SHBG binding to testosterone .

There is also evidence that stinging nettle blocks the conversion of testosterone into estrogen, an effect that may be increased with the addition of saw palmetto. This combination appears to act on an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen, but does not affect testosterone receptors .

While stinging nettle is a popular supplement for boosting testosterone, there is currently nowhere near enough research to confirm this benefit. Future human studies will tell us more.

7) Blood Pressure

Stinging nettle stems and leaves may reduce blood pressure, but they could also increase the risk of blood pressure dropping too low. In rats, stinging nettle lowered blood pressure by increasing the amount of salt that the kidneys filtered out of the blood .

Stinging nettle can also lower blood pressure by triggering the release of nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to widen .

In animals, stinging nettle has reduced blood pressure by multiple mechanisms.

8) Water Retention

Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, are medications that increase urine production. They can help remove excess sodium and water from the body. In animal studies, stinging nettle increased urine flow and acted as a diuretic .

Proper use of diuretics can help with various health complications by :

  • Decreasing blood pressure
  • Compensating for poor kidney function
  • Reducing bloating

9) Wound Healing

In rats, stinging nettle leaf extracts improved the quality of healing of second-degree burns in rats when applied to their skin. It accelerated healing and reduced scarring more effectively than conventional methods (vaseline and silver sulfadiazine) .

A very limited human study of eight experimental burns using a gel with stinging nettle leaf extracts with arnica extracts seems to support this benefit .

Limitations and Caveats

Although there is a large body of promising research, caution should always be used when extrapolated the results of animal studies to humans. Also, as with any supplement, care should be used in taking it.

A few studies have demonstrated that different parts of the stinging nettle plant contain different chemical compounds and may have completely different effects. Some research that claims that nettle extracts either do or do not have certain benefits may not have investigated each part of the plant, each extract, or even the ideal extract for the job.

Side Effects & Safety

Although certain applications require the leaves to be applied directly to the skin, we do not recommend touching a wild stinging nettle with your bare hands. The formic acid and histamine in the sharp “hairs” on the nettle’s surface will likely cause a red, lumpy rash. In addition, some people may experience an allergic reaction to raw puréed nettle or nettle juice .

Stinging nettle may increase free testosterone and may, therefore, worsen any health conditions characterized by too much testosterone, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) .

Due to possible contractions of the uterus, stinging nettle may be unsafe to take during pregnancy. Contractions of the uterus can cause a miscarriage or cause women to go into early labor. There are no available studies about the effects of stinging nettle on nursing infants, so it is recommended to consult your doctor if you are considering taking it while breastfeeding .

Stinging nettle is sometimes used to increase milk production in nursing mothers, but no safety data exists; we therefore caution against using stinging nettle while breastfeeding .

Drug Interactions

Combining stinging nettle with hypertension and diabetes drugs may cause your blood pressure and blood sugar to become too low .

The active compounds in stinging nettle may block metabolic enzymes in the CYP1A family, thereby increasing the effects of any drugs broken down by these enzymes. In rats, this effect has been demonstrated with melatonin; other drugs that may be affected include caffeine, warfarin, and many others .

By the same token, stinging nettle can increase the beneficial effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) .

Talk to your doctor before supplementing with stinging nettle to prevent adverse events or unexpected interactions.

Supplementation & Dosage

Forms of Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is usually available in the following forms:

  • Tea
  • Capsules (leaf or root extract)
  • Tinctures (extract dissolved in alcohol)
  • Loose leaves
  • Dried roots
  • Cream or gel (for arthritis and pain)

If collected and processed carefully, wild stinging nettle can also be gathered and cooked into many recipes. Look for instructions from experts before attempting to harvest nettle yourself.

Always check the label to make sure which part of the plant was used to make a given product.

Dosage

There is no safe and effective dose of stinging nettle for any medical purpose because no sufficiently powerful study has been conducted to find one. That being said, many studies have found an association between certain doses of nettle and beneficial effects.

A dosage of 450 mg of dry stinging nettle root extract per day is associated with beneficial effects for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Many commercial root supplements come in 250 mg or 500 mg capsules .

Increasing free testosterone is dose-dependent. A root tincture with a concentration of 0.6 mg/ml significantly blocked testosterone binding to SHBG; at a concentration of 10 mg/ml, binding was inhibited completely .

Commercial leaf extracts sometimes come with recommendations of between 275 mg and 2 g of their product per day; note that the quality and content of these extracts is likely variable. Raw stinging nettle leaf, cut from the live plant, significantly reduces pain when applied to directly to an arthritic joint for thirty seconds, once per day .

Takeaway

Stinging nettle is a common plant that grows all over the world. People have used it to treat rheumatism and pain for thousands of years, and more recent research shows that it may reduce inflammation, relieve allergies, increase free testosterone, reduce blood sugar and pressure, act as a diuretic, and improve wound healing.

It is generally considered safe, though the fresh leaves and stem of the plant can cause a nasty, stinging rash when touched. True allergy to stinging nettle is rare, but possible. This supplement may increase the effect of NSAIDs and other drugs; caution is advised when combining stinging nettle with medication.

Stinging nettle is available in many forms, including loose leaf, capsules, tincture, root, tea, cream, or live (often wild) plant. Researchers do not agree on an effective dosage for all people, conditions, or parts of the plant.

Maybe you’ve seen stinging nettles at a farmer’s market. If you passed on the plant, who could blame you? Stinging nettle tea might not seem like the coziest mug to warm your hands on a cold day, but this rather ornery-sounding brew has some potential health benefits (and possible risks too; read on for details). Typically made from the leaves and stems of the stinging nettle plant (Latin name: Urtica dioica), this tea is used as a natural remedy for a range of ailments.

“Stinging nettle can be taken orally to improve symptoms related to an enlarged prostate, including frequent, painful, nighttime, or difficulty with urination,” says Catherine Uram, MD, a course instructor and fellow at the University of Arizona’s Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson. “It can also help improve symptoms of hay fever, such as nasal congestion and watery eyes, and may be effective in lowering blood sugar and alleviating the pain of osteoarthritis.” (Is black tea already a part of your regular routine? Check out the health benefits from your everyday cup.)

All but one of its subspecies are covered across the leaves and stem with tiny, hollow, bristle-like hairs that release histamines and other chemicals that produce a burning, stinging sensation when they come into contact with skin. Soaking or boiling the stems and leaves, however, renders the plant’s sting-producing chemicals inert. In addition to tea, the plant’s leaves are also used as a cooking ingredient, says Dr. Uram. Try blanching nettle leaves, then using as you would spinach, chard, or parsley.

It’s important to remember stinging nettle can interact with several over-the-counter and prescription medications. “Stinging nettle may lower blood sugar, and if used with diabetes medications, may cause the blood sugar to get too low,” says Dr. Uram. “It may also decrease blood pressure, so taking with blood pressure medications may cause the blood pressure to get too low, as well.”

That’s not all: “Stinging nettles can cause drowsiness, so taking with sedative medications such as sleep and anti-anxiety medications should be avoided,” adds Dr. Uram. “Stinging nettle should also be avoided if taking warfarin (Coumadin), because it may alter how well the medication works. If on lithium, taking stinging nettles can affect how much lithium stays in the body.” (Warfarin is a blood-thinning drug and lithium is a medication often used to treat bipolar disorder.)

Bottom line: Check with your doctor before using stinging nettles or any other new supplement or natural remedy. Here are the essential questions you should ask yourself before starting to take a new medication.

Curious about the plant’s health benefits? Read below for the some possible benefits of nettle tea.

Soothes allergies

In its natural state, the stinging nettle plant stimulates an allergic reaction when its fine hairs touch the skin. However, when prepared as tea, nettles may actually help soothe allergies. A study published in 2017 in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research suggests that nettles can help relieve the symptoms of hay fever. Here are other natural remedies that can help you relieve allergy symptoms without relying on medication so you can avoid sniffling and sneezing through the entire season.

Treats muscle and joint pain

Because of its natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic (aka pain-relieving) properties, nettles have been used for centuries to treat sore, stiff muscles and joints. Nettles may help alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint pain, typically in the case of hands, knees, hips, and spine, according to a review of research published in 2018 in the journal Molecules. In the review, researchers also found that nettles can work in combination with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), allowing people to decrease their use of NSAIDs. An anti-inflammatory diet may also reduce pain and keep inflammation in check. Make sure you have these staples of a pain- and inflammation-fighting diet.

Strengthens bones

Nettle tea delivers bone-fortifying calcium, magnesium, and iron, according to research, including a study published in 2016 in Food Science & Nutrition. The plant also contains vitamins D and K, which help bones use calcium to protect bone density. Magnesium is stored in the bones, supports bone strength, and aids in the absorption of calcium. Low magnesium is linked to osteoporosis, a chronic condition of weak and fragile bones. Iron deficiency is also associated with bone loss. Get to know these other, less well-known bone conditions that can cause pain, limit mobility, and interfere with daily life.

Boosts heart health

Nettles contain vitamins and minerals that are regarded as heart protectors. The plant is a source of vitamins A and C, beta carotene, and other carotenoids. Because of its high content of vitamin C and iron, which help the body boost red blood cell production, it may help prevent anemia. Nettles also contain the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. A source of iron and potassium, tea made from this spiky, leafy plant may help to relax blood vessels and aid in healthy circulation. Check out these updated guidelines for treating high blood pressure.

Soothes skin irritations

Thanks to the plant’s antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and pain-relieving abilities, nettle has a long history of being used to treat skin irritations like eczema and acne, says Jeanette Jacknin, MD, a holistic dermatologist in Solana Beach, California, and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin. It seems to reduce redness and swelling, soothe itching, and speed healing. To get these skin-clarifying benefits, you can drink the tea—or you can brew a cup, let it cool, and apply the liquid directly to your skin. However, cautions Dr. Jacknin, “there are reports of allergic skin reactions to topical nettle, so use on just a small area of skin first to make sure you don’t have any skin sensitivity.”

Don’t miss these other all-natural tricks to make your skin glow.

Boosts kidney, urinary, and prostate health

As a diuretic, nettles can promote healthy urination. The stinging nettle plant is used as a natural remedy for urinary tract infections, and to prevent kidney stones. A study of rats, published in 2014 in Molecular Medicine Reports, shows that it reduced build-up of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys, which contribute to the formation of the most common type of kidney stones. However, findings in animal studies are not directly transferable to humans. Under the care of a physician, extracts of the plant are used to treat the urinary symptoms of enlarged prostate, including a frequent need to urinate and difficulty emptying the bladder. Know these signs of a urinary tract infection.

Strengthens immune function

The nettle plant contains several immune-boosting compounds, including flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamins A and C. These antioxidants help protect immune cells against damage that can weaken immune function. Research shows nettle extract strengthens the immune response, encouraging immune cell activity. Scientists at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, found that the plant stimulates the T-cells of the immune system, which help fight infection and other disease-causing pathogens in the body. Try these everyday habits to boost your immune system.

Regulates digestion

Excessive inflammation can interfere with healthy digestion and promote the growth of harmful bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Regularly consuming stinging nettle tea, with its anti-inflammatory powers, may help you regulate digestion, and reduce constipation, diarrhea, and upset stomach. By keeping your gut stocked with the right balance of bacteria and other microbes—known collectively as your microbiome—you may also get protection against a much wider spectrum of diseases. Learn how maintaining a healthy gut may help you age more slowly—and keep you in better health.

19 Remarkable Benefits of Stinging Nettle

UPDATE 11/6/19: We now offer organic bulk herbs—including stinging nettle—in the TGN store.

Stinging Nettle

Botanical Name: Urtica dioica

Family: Urticaceae

Other Common Names: Nettle, common nettle, burn weed, burn hazel, burn nettle, stingers, devil leaf

Parts Used: Leaves, seeds, roots

Energetics: Dry

Thermal Properties: Cool

Taste: Bitter, salty

Plant Uses: Allergies, arthritis, asthma, blood deficiency, eczema, fatigue, hypothyroidism, menstrual cramps, seasonal allergies, sluggish metabolism, urinary tract infections, weak hair/teeth/bones

Toxicities/Warnings: Sting from fresh plant, possible allergic reaction

Introduction

Nettles have been used by cultures all over the world. They are a part of all major herbal medicine systems and have been used throughout recorded and unrecorded history. Nettles have been grown for food, medicine, and clothing, producing a fabric that was stronger than, and often preferred to, cotton. The fiber was also naturally insulating, thanks to its hollow core.

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The ancient Romans and Greeks cultivated huge amounts of nettle. Native Americans used nettle fibers to make cloth and cordage. Nettle fiber burial shrouds, dating back to the Bronze Age, have been found in Denmark. This is a plant with a long and widespread history.

Unfortunately, nettle fabric fell out of favor as modern industry came to fabrics. Machines were not able to remove the nettle plant’s fibers. Thus, nettle clothing began to gradually disappear.

The naming of nettles tells us a bit more about it. The first half of the scientific name, Urtica, means “sting” and might be related to the word “urine.” Each possibility makes sense in its own way, though the two ideas don’t sit comfortably together in the imagination. The second half, dioica, is Greek for “of two houses” and refers to nettles’ trait of having separate male and female flowers. Any given stinging nettle plant may have one or both types of blooms.

Benefits

  1. Increase Your Energy Levels: Nettles are used as a traditional spring tonic to strengthen and support the entire body. Their high nutritional value makes them ideal for anyone suffering from exhaustion, poor nutrition, or just general dis-ease. They’re a great choice for pregnant women (see cautions below) and those recovering from injury or illness.1)Jones, Patrick P. The Homegrown Herbalist. 2014. The seeds are adaptogens, helping us to respond to stress and strengthening the adrenals.2)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Stinging Nettle.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/stinging-nettle/#marker-864-12.
  2. Detoxify Your Body: This general detoxifier has positive benefits for the entire body, and is often used specifically as a blood purifier.3)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. Be sure to drink plenty of water to counter its diuretic nature.
  3. Treat Eczema: Nettles are useful for all varieties of eczema, but especially childhood eczema and nervous eczema.4)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
  4. Stop Bleeding: When taken internally, the astringent properties of nettle can help to relieve hemorrhage symptoms throughout the body.5)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Topical application is also effective.6)Axe, Josh. “It’s Not Just a Prickly Plant: Stinging Nettle Benefits.” Dr. Axe. May 09, 2018. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://draxe.com/stinging-nettle/. 7)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  5. Strengthen Bones and Connective Tissue: Nettles contain high levels of calcium, silica, and other minerals to strengthen the bones and connective tissues.8)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Stinging Nettle.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/stinging-nettle/#marker-864-12.
  6. Manage Blood Sugar: Nettles possess both hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic constituents. In animal studies, nettles have been shown to lower blood sugar in hyperglycemic rabbits.9)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Human studies have shown decreased inflammation markers and improved levels of fasting glucose, 2-hour postprandial glucose, and HbA1C.10)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Stinging Nettle.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/stinging-nettle/#marker-864-12.
  7. Promote Urinary System Health: The diuretic effect of nettles helps it to flush out urinary tract infections and stones.11)Jones, Patrick P. The Homegrown Herbalist. 2014. 12)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  8. Relieve Musculoskeletal Pain: Nettle’s anti-inflammatory and counterirritant properties can be beneficial for arthritis pain by either drinking infusions of the plant or allowing the plant to sting the affected area.13)Jones, Patrick P. The Homegrown Herbalist. 2014. Topical application of the stinging leaf can also help with myalgia and non-arthritic inflammation, pain, and stiffness.14)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Stinging Nettle.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/stinging-nettle/#marker-864-12. A single application may be enough to relieve symptoms for 4-8 days.15)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
  9. Promote Prostate Health: Nettle root and seeds may be useful in presentment and treatment of benign prostate enlargement.16)Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstars Medicinal Herbs: A Beginners Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2012. 17)Jones, Patrick P. The Homegrown Herbalist. 2014. One study found that nettle root may have a beneficial effect on prostate cancers, as well.18)Konrad, Lutz, Hans-Helge Müller, Corinna Lenz, Helge Laubinger, Gerhard Aumüller, and Johannes Josef Lichius. “Antiproliferative Effect on Human Prostate Cancer Cells by a Stinging Nettle Root (Urtica Dioica) Extract.” Planta Medica66, no. 1 (2000): 44-47. doi:10.1055/s-2000-11117.
  10. Gently Relieve Diarrhea/Constipation: The astringency of nettles makes them useful in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.19)Jones, Patrick P. The Homegrown Herbalist. 2014. However, they also have a mild laxative effect in cases of constipation.20)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.
  11. Prevent and Reverse Anemia: Nettles are an excellent source of bioavailable iron, making them excellent for those suffering from iron deficiency.
  12. Encourage Kidney Health: Nettle seeds are powerful kidney supporters and restorers.21)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. They have a protective effect if used during chemotherapy.22)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Stinging Nettle.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/stinging-nettle/#marker-864-12.
  13. Relieve Allergies: Nettles have the ability to reduce the allergen response of the body and help reduce excess mucous production in the nose.23)”Nettle: The Stinging Weed That Can Help You Detoxify.” Mercola.com. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://articles.mercola.com/herbs-spices/nettle.aspx. 24)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  14. Promote Lung Health: Related to its allergen-reducing attributes, nettles have been used as a folk treatment for any mucous membranes that are out of balance, including those in the respiratory system. Nettles act as a counterirritant, stimulating correct mucosal function in the digestive system (if ingested), which produces a sympathetic response in mucous membranes throughout the rest of the body. This can help to relieve the effects of asthma and bronchitis.25)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. Consuming nettles as food, as an infusion, or even breathing the steam off of cooking nettles can help the body to recover.26)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  15. Address Female Issues: Nettles are frequently used for menstrual issues, fertility problems, in PMS formulas, and for menopausal issues. They may also help to stimulate milk production.27)Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstars Medicinal Herbs: A Beginners Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2012. 28)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. 29)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  16. Promote Hair Health: Nettle juice can be used as a nutrient-rich final rinse, after washing your hair. This juice has traditionally been ascribed with the ability to stimulate hair growth.30)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. You can also use nettle-infused vinegar for this purpose.31)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. Taken internally, nettle juice nourishes and strengthens hair and nails from the inside out.32)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Stinging Nettle.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/stinging-nettle/#marker-864-12.
  17. Shrink Hemorrhoids: Nettle juice can also be used as a spray or as a sitz bath to help relieve hemorrhoids.33)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. 34)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  18. Promote Heart Health: Nettle’s high potassium content helps it moderate high blood pressure and lower the chance of stroke.35)Hunt, Benjamin D., and Francesco P. Cappuccio. “Potassium Intake and Stroke Risk.” Stroke45, no. 5 (2014): 1519-522. doi:10.1161/strokeaha.113.004282.
  19. Restore Digestive Health: Fresh nettle juice and greens help to tone the mucosa of the digestive system, and have been linked to anticancer activity.36)Axe, Josh. “It’s Not Just a Prickly Plant: Stinging Nettle Benefits.” Dr. Axe. May 09, 2018. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://draxe.com/stinging-nettle 37)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.

Nutritional Properties

Nettles are prized for their high nutrient value. They accumulate minerals and micronutrients from the soil and produce high levels of vitamins in forms that are easily accessible to the human body. Indeed, many of nettle’s medicinal properties may stem from its ability to fulfill the body’s nutrient requirements. Once properly supplied, the body can then take care of itself.

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Dried nettles are 25.2% protein, 2.3% fat, and have only 0.6 calories per gram. Fresh nettles are also a good source of chlorophyll.

Preparations and Typical Dosing

Nettles are one of the most universally applicable of all medicinal herbs. So much so, that herbalist David Hoffman is often quoted as saying, “When in doubt, use nettles.”

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Their safety, effectiveness, accessibility, and overall versatility makes them an important plant to learn how to use.

Food

One of the easiest ways to use nettles is as a food. Nettles can be blanched for 2 minutes to deactivate their sting, and then used as you would any cooked green. That are often steamed or boiled, as well, and can be used in a variety of applications, including soups, smoothies, stir-fries, and more. The cooking water can also be used in teas or soups.

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Nutritive Herb

As a nutritive herb, they are generally viewed as safe, even in high amounts and over long periods of time.

Nourishing Herbal Infusion

Another favored strategy for accessing nettle’s nutritional benefits is a nourishing herbal infusion. Unlike a typical infusion, a nourishing infusion is prepared with a much larger quantity of the herb. Thirty grams of dried nettle would be enough to prepare a quart or liter or nourishing infusion. Using dried herbs is also important for this method, as drying breaks the cell walls, allowing the mineral and vitamin content to move from the herb into the water.

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Place your dried herbs into a canning jar, and pour boiling water over them. Seal the jar, give it a shake, and then leave it to infuse for at least 4 hours. Overnight is fine. Then, strain out the nettles with a cloth, being sure to wring all of the liquid from the herbs. Drink your infusion immediately, or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Consume hot or cold. Sweeten as desired. Mint leaf can also help the flavor.

Standard Infusion

A standard infusion can also be prepared with 1-3 teaspoons of dried herb. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the herb and let it infuse for 10-15 minutes. This will typically be taken 3 times a day, but can be consumed as often as desired.

Tincture

Tinctures can be prepared using 40% alcohol. Use 1 gram of dried nettle for every 5 milliliters of alcohol. A typical dosage would be 2 to 6 milliliters 3 times a day.

Capsule

Capsules of freeze-dried nettle powder are a convenient option for reducing allergy symptoms. Start with just a few grams per capsule and gradually increase the amount until the desired effect is achieved. Capsules and tablets are used for the same purpose. If stomach discomfort occurs with any of these, take them with food.

Juice

Another favored preparation is fresh nettle juice. Five to ten milliliters is typically consumed, 3 times a day. The juice can also be used as a wash or soak for arthritic pain; as a hair rinse; or as a spray or sitz bath, as needed, for hemorrhoids.

Urtication

Urtication is used as needed, or as can be comfortably endured. Practitioners can either thrust an affected area into a patch of nettles or use fresh nettles to lightly strike the skin. Should the stinging become too intense, it can be relieved by crushing plantain, yellow dock, or teasel leaves and applying them to the area. In place of the sting, nettle root tincture or cream can also be used topically for this purpose.

Uses for Animals

Dried nettles can also be given to animals. Historically, they have been dried and used as a nutrient-dense winter food for livestock. Mammals in general, including your dog or cat, respond to nettles much as humans do. The seeds and leaves can also be fed to birds.

Precaution/Dangers/Contraindications

The nettle’s sting is our primary concern. While not dangerous, it can still be quite painful. The degree of sting will vary from plant to plant due to genetic diversity and growing conditions. Some subspecies have no sting at all.

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A nettle’s sting is caused by droplets of fluid at the ends of hollow hair-like structures (trichomes) on the undersides of its leaves and along the stem. Underground rhizomes have the capacity to sting as well. Formic acid, the same chemical found in ant and bee stings, is present in the stinging liquid and has traditionally been blamed for the sting. However, the amount of this acid is not especially high, and may not fully account for the pain of nettle stings. The current thinking attributes the stinging sensation to histamines, such as acetylcholine and serotonin.

Gloves or careful handling can lessen the risk of stings. If handling without gloves, a firm grip may result in less stinging than a gentle grip. Drying, heating, or mashing the leaves makes them safe to handle. Young leaves do not sting.

Pregnancy

Nettles are generally considered to be safe for everyone, including the very young, the very old, and the very pregnant. You will sometimes encounter controversy over its use with pregnant women, due to its ability to influence menstrual cycles. However, nettles have been safely consumed by pregnant women throughout human history. While most of the concerns we hear are probably the result of ever-repeating, ever-exaggerated warnings, it is plausible that in very large doses, nettles could influence the odds of a miscarriage. Use appropriate caution.

Allergic Reactions

Nettles have been used by people at all levels of health, including those who are immune compromised. However, some cases of allergic reaction have been reported. Side effects of an allergic reaction may include nausea, a burning sensation in the digestive tract, or hives after consuming fresh nettles. This risk is reduced by harvesting materials before the plant flowers and by drying them.

Headache

Some people report that nettle tea gives them a headache. This may be due to its diuretic effect causing them to become slightly dehydrated, or due to detoxification. Drinking more water can often fix this.

Hallucinations

One of the more interesting application is to take a tablespoon of seeds and soak them in wine overnight. Then sip the wine throughout the day to help deal with illness. Reportedly, consuming very high quantities of nettle seed or nettle seed products can cause hallucinations. Very high amounts of alcohol won’t help either.

Coagulation

Nettles could theoretically reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulation drugs, due to their high levels of vitamin K.

Plant ID

You should always be completely sure about the identify of a plant before eating it. Consult with multiple sources to ensure proper identification.

Nettles are herbaceous perennials, growing 3-6 feet tall. Though their appearance is not eye-catching, they are difficult to confuse with look-alikes. That is, they’re difficult to confuse after you touch them. In fact, nettles are more often the “dangerous” look-alike for something else.

Other members of the nettle family may strongly resemble stinging nettles. However, the stinging hairs (trichomes) help to differentiate these. Two related genera, Laportea and Hesperocnide, can sting as well. Individual species can still be differentiated. For example, wood nettles (Laportea canadensis) have a mixture of opposite and alternate leaves, whereas stinging nettles’ leaves are always opposite.

Most members of this family are edible as potherbs. A few relatives are dangerous. In some related tropical nettles, the sting can be felt for years. Another dangerous nettle is the tree nettle (Utica ferox) of New Zealand, which is toxic and has caused fatal poisonings.

Clearweed (Pilea pumila) and mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) may also be considered look-alikes. They can easily be distinguished by their lack of stinging hairs.

User:Kilom691 , via Wikimedia Commons

Mints and stinging nettles share a superficial resemblance, both having square stems and opposite leaves. However, nettles can be differentiated by the short, transparent hairs along the stem and undersides of their leaves. Nettle leaves are simple, jagged, and are often somewhat heart-shaped, though this can vary. The flowers are small and inconspicuous.

If all else fails, just start touching the plant. You’ll figure it out.

Where It Grows and Where to Find It

You can find nettle throughout most of the world, growing on every continent but Antarctica. Look for them in rich, fertile, moist soil. Common locations include along stream banks, at the edges of ponds, in low areas, beside barns and stables, along the sides of houses, and sneaking into gardens. In some places, nettles are a common lawn plant. Nettles prefer partial shade, but will tolerate full sun exposure as long as they don’t dry out.

Nettles are easy to grow and can readily be transplanted or propagated from runners. However, they spread easily, so select a site with plenty of room and where they will not interfere with your outdoor activities.

How and When to Harvest

Harvest nettle tops in spring, while the plants are still around knee high, and before they flower. If you use restraint and take only the top third, you may be able to get a second harvest. Scissors and gloves help to prevent accidental stings. You can also avoid the sting by folding a leaf over, so that only the top is exposed, and pinching it between finger and thumb.

Seeds can be harvested in fall. Rhizomes are available year-round, but will have more potency in late fall through early spring.

Conclusion

Stinging nettles are an absolutely wonderful plant, as long as you respect them. Their contribution to human culture, food, and medicines cannot be overstated. The next time you discover nettles in your yard or garden, rather than getting mad, why not give them a chance? You might even decide to transplant them to a more favorable permanent location and start your own nettle garden.

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This article was originally published February 28, 2019.

Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.

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References

In my humble (and perhaps a bit plant-biased) opinion, Stinging Nettle is one of the most amazing plants in the Pacific Northwest. Here at Wolf Camp & the Wolf College, we consider Nettle to be one of the top 10 most important survival plants, with a variety of uses such as food, technology (rope, craft, dye), and medicine.

With its sharp, stinging hairs, Nettle may seem like a plant to keep at a distance. However, this is a plant we should always have around! I like the Traditional Medicinals saying, that ‘once you have a friend in Nettle, you have a friend for life.’ Understanding how to respectfully harvest Nettle will save you from many stings and welts, and it will also guarantee a lifelong friendship with a plant that has many gifts to give.

Nettles as Medicine

Medicinally, Nettle is a powerful plant to have on hand — it is rich in vitamins, minerals, easy-to-absorb amino acids, and much more. Nettle is also rich in iron, which makes it especially valuable for women, anemic people, and those who are suffering from chronic fatigue.

It is also an amazing natural remedy for seasonal allergies like hay fever. It has been documented that those who consume nettle on a regular basis (daily), found that the symptoms associated with their seasonal allergies were greatly reduced. In fact, many Wolf Camp Instructors (and even Lily, our Camp Dog) take Nettle for seasonal allergy relief.

To me, Nettle is like a mother plant: it is deeply supportive and nurturing, taking care of our whole body, both physically and emotionally. We can easily make a tea from dried Nettle leaves, full of essential minerals and vitamins; It is one of the most nourishing drinks we can make. I really like the taste of its tea — it has a mellow, rich, and gentle ‘green’ flavor. Drinking some Nettle tea every day supports our hair, nails, organs, and other bodily systems.

What is Tea? Medicinal vs Beverage

In our society, we can walk into any given grocery store and find a whole section stocked with different types of tea. But what is ‘tea’ ? Tea, or Camellia sinensis, is actually the name of a plant that is grown specifically for making tea, most of which we classify as ‘green tea,’ ‘black tea,’ and ‘white tea.’ Somewhere along the way, the name ‘tea’ became our common word for a hot herbal beverage. Tea is made by making a herbal (hot) infusion, though we can also make tea using cold infusions (ice tea), solar infusions (sun tea), and even lunar infusions (moon tea).

Tea, or an infusion, is the second most-consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. Tea can be made for medicinal purposes or simply for pleasure; luckily for us, many tea preparations have health benefits that we can passively enjoy just by drinking a cup or two every day.

An infusion is the ideal method of preparation for Nettle, since an infusion extracts beneficial herbal medicine (in this case, the vitamins and minerals) from the more delicate aerial parts of a plant (in this case, the leaves). To make an infusion, we can use either dried or fresh Nettle leaves.

Ingredients For Nettle Tea:

  • 1-2 tablespoons dried, cut & sifted leaves OR ~ 1 cup fresh, clean leaves ** you can buy dried Nettle leaf (I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs), or you can responsibly wildcraft your own
  • Boiling water

Please remember that any new ‘material’ should be gradually introduced to the body. For those new to Nettle, a small amount (~1-2 cups of tea) is a good way to start.

* Precaution * : because Stinging Nettle has diuretic properties, those with low blood pressure, kidney failure or disease, or pregnancy should avoid Nettle or consult with their doctor before consuming.

Directions:

Tea made with Dried Nettle:

In a pot, boil some water. Once boiling, turn off the heat and add in your Nettle leaf, taking care to stir it in. Cover with a lid and let steep for a few minutes. I like to let mine steep for ~5 minutes, so it will have a stronger flavor. You can make it weaker by adding in more water.

Please note that if you steep without a lid, the evaporating steam will carry out much of the beneficial herbal medicine.

Once the tea has finished steeping, pour through a strainer into your cup or jar. You can compost your leftover nettle!

Tea made with Fresh Nettle:

In a pot, boil some water. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and add in your fresh (already cleaned) Nettle leaf, taking care to protect your hands as the formic acid is still present. Cover with a lid and let simmer for a few minutes. Turn off and let sit for a few minutes with the lid on, to let steep for a stronger flavor, or strain into your jar/cup. You can make it weaker by adding in some water.

The leftover plant material can be eaten — it’s great with some butter and salt, or even on its own!

Enjoy your Nettle tea! For maximum benefit, try to drink 1 cup of Nettle tea every day.

If you find that you dislike the flavor of Nettle tea, or that it leaves something to be desired taste-wise, there is another plant that you can add that greatly improves the flavor and makes it enjoyable to drink. It also provides a very important vitamin and can be found in most people’s backyards — needles/leaves from the pine family. I have an upcoming blog post on Pine Needle Tea, so be sure to watch for it!

Stinging Nettle Tea + a summering Japanese Maple

For more information on Nettle and other recommended resources, be sure to check out these links:

  • How to Make Stinging Nettle Shampoo
  • How to Harvest & Process Stinging Nettle + Nettle Recipes
  • Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs

Learn how to confidently identify plants using their unique family patterns in this in-depth video by author of Botany in a Day, Thomas Elpel!

*** For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We recommend that you consult with a qualified health care practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing or on any medications. ***

*** Please read our Honorable Harvesting Guidelines before harvesting any plant material. The final guideline is of utmost importance: “Never put anything in your mouth unless you are 100% sure it is safe to ingest.” ***

Hannah | 2014

Hannah began her apprenticeship at Wolf Camp in 2013 and graduated as a lead herbal instructor in 2014. Join Hannah and other Wolf College wild chefs during our annual Wild Cooking & Ethnobotany Expedition: The Herbal Foray the second week of July on Lake Sammamish near Seattle.

Hannah graduated from the University of Oregon in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages. She has her own blog, where she writes about her love for crafts, animals, plants, cooking, and the outdoors: rainmountaincrafts.com

Culpepper says that stinging nettles need no introduction. You will know them if you meet them in the dark. The sting of stinging nettles is a curse to the young but a blessing to the elder. The stinging nettle has tiny hollow hairs covering the surface of every leaf and going up the stems. Even the flowers and seeds are covered in these tiny hairs. And when someone brushes up against the plant, the tiny hairs inject a burning venom into the skin that flames up with inflammation and blistering. This quality is used in arthritis treatment as a counter-irritant to bring blood flow to painful joints.

Growing close to stinging nettles you’ll find plantain, jewelweed, yellow dock, mint, sage, rosemary, or comfrey. Any of these can be used to make a spit poultice. The use of this poultice on the nettle sting will bring immediate relief, quell the inflammation and relieve the blistering.

Nutritive and Tonic Nettles

Nettles are a nutritive herb that can be taken freely. Nettle is rich in chlorophyll. They are a significant source of vitamin C, D, and A. The nettle is 20% minerals including calcium, silicon, potassium, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.

Nettle is a spring tonic and traditionally is one of the first greens available in the spring. The nettles are already 8 leaves above the ground at Joybilee Farm. And our snow isn’t gone yet.

To harvest them as a potherb, wear stout gloves so you don’t get strung. Protect the arms, too, with a thick shirt. Cut the plants off at ground level with pruning shears. Wash them with gloves on and stick them into boiling water immediately, so that they aren’t lying around to sting anyone.

How to preserve nettles for tea

If you plan to dry nettles for tea, wash them with gloves on. Bundle them into bunches of 5 to 10 branches. Hang them in a dry, airy spot to dry. The leaves are fully dry when they crumble when crushed. When dry the venom in the plant is gone, but those stiff hairs can still cause some discomfort, so I wear gloves when removing leaves from the stem. Store the fully dry leaves in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. If protected from light and kept dry, the dried leaves of nettle will last for 18 months in storage.

Harvesting Nettles in Summer

In the summertime, as the nettle is growing tall, you can still trim off the tops of the plants and dry them in the same way that you dry spring plants. If they are harvested frequently and prevented from flowering, nettles will continue to produce leafy tops for tea all summer long. Around the middle of August, nettles will send up new plants from their underground runners. These can be harvested as potherbs or dried for nettle tea right until you get a killing frost.

Nourishing Nettle Infusion

Susan Weed recommends making a nourishing infusion of nettle leaf as a tonic supplement drink, using 1 ounce of dried nettle leaf and 1 quart of boiling water. Infuse the tea in a mason jar with a lid for 4 hours or overnight. Strain and refrigerate. Drink the infusion within 2 days as it is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Nettle Tea

2 tsp. of nettle leaf tea

1 tsp. of holy basil tea or tulsi tea

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. dried ginger

Mix the herbs and spices together in a tea strainer. Pour boiling water over the herbs into a cup. Cover with a lid and allow the herbs to steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Stain and drink.

Nettle Tea for the Garden

Your plants will enjoy a nourishing nettle infusion, too. You can feed any leftover tea, once cool, to your house plants. Or make Nettle tea for a nitrogen-rich, mineral-rich tea for your garden.

Place nettles in a bucket, you don’t need to wash them if you are using them in the garden. Pour cold water over them. Let them steep, covered for 48 hours or even longer. Use the infusion to water plants in the greenhouse or in containers. The spent nettles can be added to the compost pile.

If you don’t have fresh nettles to harvest

I buy organic nettle leaves at Mountain Rose Herbs or the Bulk Herb Store.

Stinging nettle infusions are highly nutritive tonics that nourish your body with trace minerals and vitamin K as well as many antioxidants and other plant compounds. They also help support cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation and general wellness. Herbalists often use them as an adrenal and reproductive tonic and to ease seasonal allergies. They’re also easy to make at home, and have a pleasantly mild flavor.

Jump to Recipe | What is it? | Infusion vs. Tea | Benefits | Dosage

What is nettle infusion?

A stinging nettle infusion is an herbal tonic that you make by steeping dried nettles in hot water for several hours. After steeping, you strain the liquid and drink it. Nettle infusions tend to be a good source of many micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, as well as various medicinal plant compounds.

Nettle infusions taste faintly tea-like, inky with a soft herbal sweetness. Their flavor is rich and green.

Benefits of Stinging Nettle Infusions

Stinging nettle infusion is potent medicine, particularly for women whose bodies crave the plant’s rich minerals like chromium, magnesium and calcium1Weed, S. (2008) Healing Wise. Ash Tree Publishing. And nettles are highly anti-inflammatory and rich in phytonutrients like rutin, which is also found in buckwheat. and astragalin which you can also find in the adaptogenic herb astragalus 2Fleming, T., et al. (ed) (2000) The Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicine. Medical Economics Company..

Traditionally, herbalists use nettle infusions to support general wellness, to ease growing pains in children and as a reproductive tonic for both men and women3Gladstar, R. (2008) Herbal recipes for vibrant health. Story Publishing.. Many herbalists also use nettle as an adrenal tonic, too.

Other benefits of nettle infusions:

  • Nettles support blood sugar balance and regulation4Bouchentouf, S. et al (2018) Identification of phenolic compounds from nettle as new candidate inhibitors of main enzymes responsible on type-II diabetes. Current Drug Discovery Technologies.
  • Stinging nettles also support cardiovascular health5Vajic, U. et al (2018) Urtica dioica L. leaf extract modulates blood pressure and oxidative stress in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Phytomedicine.
  • It also acts as an anti-inflammatory6Roscheck, B., et al. (2009) Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Physotherapy Research, which can be helpful during allergy season7Mittman, P. (1990) Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Medica.
  • Nettles are high in chlorophyll, antioxidants and other plant compounds that can gently support detoxification.
  • As a source of trace minerals like iron, chromium and magnesium, they can also help remineralize the body.
  • They’re a good source of vitamin K which supports blood clotting, healing wounds as well as cardiovascular and bone health8Vitamin K Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health.

Where to find stinging nettles: Stinging nettles grow wild throughout Europe and North America. You can also grow them yourself from seed. Or you can purchase organic nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs here.

Nettle Infusion vs. Nettle Tea

While teas and infusions may seem indistinct, there’s a few key differences. Herbal teas use smaller amounts of herbs and they steep for a shorter period of time – about 5 minutes. By contrast, herbal infusions use a higher volume of herbs and often steep for several hours. Therefore, they’re more nutrient-dense9Gladstar, R. (2008) Herbal recipes for vibrant health. Story Publishing.

So when making a nettle infusion, you’ll use about one ounce of herbs for every quart of water and steep it at least 4 and up to 12 hours. As a result, nettle infusions have a deeper flavor and a much higher micronutrient content than nettle teas.

How much should you drink?

Nettle infusions are, ultimately, nutritive foods. While they have many benefits, it’s wise to drink the amount that feels right to you. Even as little as a cup of nettle infusion every few days still conveys many nutritive benefits.

Some sources recommends up to two liters a day10Fleming, T., et al. (ed) (2000) The Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicine. Medical Economics Company., which is an awful lot to swallow. But a cup or two is likely sufficient and a little easier to manage.

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Stinging Nettle Infusion Recipe

Nettle infusion offers a tea-like flavor, with vegetal green notes. And it makes a particularly good tonic to help support adrenal health and systemic wellness, while also helping you get through allergy season. Prep Time5 mins Infusion4 hrs Total Time4 hrs 5 mins Servings: 4 servings (2 quarts)

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried stinging nettles
  • 8 cups water

Instructions

  • Bring two quarts of filtered water to a boil.
  • Toss nettles into a mason jar, and then fill it with boiling water. Allow the herbs to steep in water for at least 4 and up to 12 hours, then strain them from the infusion using a fine-mesh sieve or tea strainer.
  • Drink right away, or store the strained infusion in the fridge up to 3 days.

Notes

Notes: Nettle infusions, like most foods and drinks, taste best when you make them fresh. However, you can make this infusion, strain out the nettles, and store the drink in the fridge about 4 days. Tried this recipe?Mention @nourishedkitchen or tag #nourishedkitchen!

Other Ways to Use Nettles

In addition to nettle infusions, you can also use nettles fresh as a culinary green. It’s excellent in omelets and in soups or made as a nettle pesto. It’s also a fantastic herb for women throughout pregnancy, and you can grab the recipe for our pregnancy tea below.

Pregnancy Tea

A nourishing tea recipe with stinging nettles, alfalfa, milky oats and red raspberry leaf. Perfect for women who are expecting a baby, and also excellent as a general fertility tonic.

1. Cut enough nettles to fill a bucket. You should choose plants that aren’t carrying any seeds and cut them at the base so you don’t get any roots or soil. When I gathered my second batch (Dad accidentally knocked over part of my first batch while it was brewing), I had to watch out for snails who had eaten through most of the patch and were still hanging on (I didn’t want to risk killing them unnecessarily).
Attention: Use gardening gloves to protect your hands (stinging nettles sting!)
2. Trim the plants inside the bucket with pruning shears or scissors. You can leave the plants whole and get the same results, but it is much easier to handle the brew later (stirring and filtering) if the cuttings are trimmed short.
3. Fill the bucket with clear rainwater a little under the top and cover. As the nettle tea brews, a layer of foam might develop, so you need to leave some room for it. The tea will smell unpleasant during brewing, so you don’t want it to spill and overfill.
Attention: It is better to use rainwater as it doesn’t contain chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals that may inhibit the beneficial qualities of nettles.
Alternative: You can put the trimmings inside a cloth bag and tie it closed before adding water. This works like a tea bag and makes it easier to filter the tea later.
4. Place the covered bucket in a warm sunny place and stir every 2 days or more. I stirred mine every morning because it only took a few seconds.
Your nettle tea will be ready after around 2 weeks when it stops bubbling (in cold places with little or no sunshine, the brew might require an additional week).
5. Filter the nettle tea over a wide container using an old cloth (or, if you used the “tea bag” method, simply squeeze it dry) and use only the clear-ish liquid.
How to use your nettle tea
Brewed nettle tea will last up to 6 months, enough to get you through the growing season (spring).
To use as a fertilizer, mix 1 part nettle tea with 10 parts water (1:10) and pour the mixture at the base of plants where roots will absorb them more easily.
This fertilizer works best on plants that have a high demand for nourishment such as fruit trees and bushes, roses, annuals and perennial flowering plants. It works for tomatoes, leeks, brassicas, cucumbers and courgettes. However, it is not meant for beans, peas, onions, potatoes and root vegetables. Apply nettle tea to your plants every 3 weeks in the growing season.

Thanks to fermented stinging nettle tea, create your own 100% organic fertilizer and parasite repellent!

Discover fermented stinging nettle tea, an excellent fertilizer for plants in both gardens and vegetable patches, and an amazing pest control agent for most parasites like aphids.

This will help you avoid using harmful chemical products while not losing in efficiency!

Fermented stinging nettle tea is increasingly used across the world, and is even sold in specialized stores. Did you know it is perfectly possible to prepare some yourself?

  • Health: health benefits of stinging nettle

Uses and effectiveness of fermented stinging nettle tea

This nettle-based preparation has unique growth-stimulating properties on plants, and it also repels most pests, aphids, mites and ticks.

Fermented stinging nettle tea isn’t a curative treatment that would heal plants after diseases. It works preventively thanks to its immune system-boosting powers.

  • An effective fertilizer – Plants need nitrogen to grow. Nitrogen is found in all fertilizer types, and fermented stinging nettle tea naturally boasts a high nitrogen content. It thus brings target plants all the nutrients they need to stay in great health.
  • Parasite repellent – If thinned with water and sprayed on leaves directly, fermented stinging nettle tea will act as a strong repellent against all insects, aphids, mites and ticks.

Preparing fermented stinging nettle tea

The recipe for fermented stinging nettle tea has been handed down for generations, but its relevance has even increased thanks to its organic and completely natural properties.

Using 100% organic products in your garden is a key to successfully treating your plants or making fertilizer while protecting the planet.

Note that fermented stinging nettle tea is very affordable, since the only needed equipment is a sprayer for application.

The fermented stinging nettle tea recipe is very simple

  • Tear up the stinging nettles
    Place them in a basin or a bucket (absolutely avoid metal containers)
  • Mix with water
    Here are the proportions to follow.
    Fertilizer=> 35 oz (1 kg) stinging nettles for 10 quarts (10 liters) water.
    Repellent=> 35 oz (1 kg) stinging nettles for 20 quarts (20 liters) water
  • Macerate 1 to 2 weeks, remember to mix every couple days.
  • Filter the fermented stinging nettle tea
    Only collect the liquid. Get rid of the remaining nettle pulp (spread it on the compost pile).
  • Use of fermented stinging nettle tea as a repellent
    Spray on plants with a sprayer to use it against parasites.
  • Use of fermented stinging nettle tea as fertilizer
    Thin with water (10 to 20% tea-to-water ratio) and pour it on the ground as you would liquid fertilizer.

Smart tip about fermented stinging nettle tea

Although preparing fermented stinging nettle tea is very easy and shouldn’t raise any issues, a few tips make preparing it even easier…

  • Crushing or chopping the nettles will speed fermentation up.
  • For larger quantities, use your lawn mower.

Thanks to this mixture, you save on expenses and protect the environment, too.

In the good old days, a fistful of stinging nettle leaves was placed at the bottom of the planting holes when transplanting tomato seedlings to boost tomato harvest.

Read also

  • Here is how to fight aphids efficiently.

Stinging nettle manure is highly regarded as a mild plant protector and biological fertilizer in an ecologically farmed hobby garden. Prepared as a swiftly effective brew, it fights widely spread parasites found in the garden attacking the valuable wild plant like aphids. In order for the flexible natural remedy to fully take effect, it is important to properly utilize it. This instruction will explain in detail how to properly produce stinging nettle manure.

Hobby gardeners are relying on the concentrated force of stinging nettle manure in ecologically ornamental and vegetable gardens in order to strengthen their crops and to supply them with nutrients as well as to fend of diseases. The herbaceous plant renders, thanks to their valuable ingredients, chemical compounds irrelevant.

The unpleasant stinging hairs are being used for its multitude of virtues. In order to use the natural permeability of the natural remedy, you should have a vat standing ready. The effectiveness of the mixture is decidedly dependent upon a successful mixture of ingredients and the fermentation process.

Brew, manure?

Where lies the difference between brew and manure?

When producing brew and manure from stinging nettles, the time factor is the decisive variable. This means in detail, that a brew with the usage of boiling water has to be prepared within 2 minutes and should be ready for application after additional 24 hours. Opposed to this, the production of manure, on the basis of cold water – takes approximately 14 days for production.

Focusing on the significant difference in time it is obvious, that manure clearly trumps brew concerning effectiveness. Stinging nettle manure is thus solely being used in a diluted concentration, whereas brew is being administered without dilution.

Harvesting

Harvesting the stinging nettle

The little stinging nettle (Urtica urens) as well as the big stinging nettle (Urtica dioca) are the perfect ingredient for the production of brew and manure. The ideal time for the harvest lies between May and July, as long as the plants are not yet blooming. As the seeds are effortlessly surviving every form of production you can leave blooming or withered stinging nettles out of your consideration. If both varieties thrive in the catchment area, the smaller plant will be pushed into the focus as it seems more intensive.

Harvest Stinging nettles 1 of 10

Please do not miss to put on gloves as not to come in contact with the stinging hairs. Pick the leafs from the stems to collect them in a nearby basket. In order to be able to produce, if needed, stinging nettle brew or stinging nettle manure in late summer, a part of the harvest should be dried and be stored in a dark container.

Production brew

Instruction for stinging nettle brew

In order to solve a cultivation problem short term, like the healing of leaf chlorosis or the infestation with leaf lice, stinging nettle brew seems like an effective substitute in the event there is no fermented manure available for usage. If you follow this instruction, the usage can begin within the course of one day.

Required materials and ingredients:

  • 500 g fresh stinging nettle leafs
  • 5 l Water (ideally filtered rain water)
  • 1 fireproof container (no metal)
  • 1 fast cooker or water kettle
  • 1 kitchen sieve
  • 1 kitchen spoon

Instead of using herbs, you can use 75 to 100 gram of dried stinging nettle leafs, without having the effectiveness suffer from it.

Instruction

As soon as the materials and stinging nettles are ready, the actual production happens within a few minutes.

This is how it is done:

  • fill the fireproof, non-metallic container with fresh or dried herbs
  • make the water boil in the fast cooker or water kettle
  • stir for a while with the cooking spoon

Let the brew stand with the lid on top for 24 hours. Subsequently let the water herb mixture run through the kitchen sieve. Filled in a hand sprayer or a watering can, the stinging nettle brew can be used undiluted. Resourceful hobby gardeners are letting leftover leafs dry to spread them in ornamental or vegetable gardens as mulch.

Production manure

Instruction for stinging nettle manure

We recommend, in light of the time consuming production of stinging nettle manure, to create a supply in a great vat in May or June, as the mixture is lasting for many months. Aside from metal, the container be made from manifold materials like wood, plastic, stoneware, ceramic, glass or clay. This is how you produce the manure.

Required Materials and ingredients:

  • 1.000 g fresh stinging nettle leafs
  • 10 l tap or rain watering
  • 1 wood container, vat or bucket
  • 1 wooden stick
  • wire or a grate
  • rock flour or betonite
  • valerian, oak or chamomile leafs

If there is no fresh harvest available, you can use 200 grams of dried stinging nettle leafs as a substitute without any problems.

It makes sense, to place the vat in advance at an adequate location. If you aspire towards producing a higher amount of plant brew, there is a high effort to surmount to transport the filled container.

This is how the preparation is being done right:

  • place the brew container at a sunny, warm spot in the back area of a gardener
  • crush the stinging nettle leafs and stack them up in the container
  • fill up sufficiently with water as to expose an edge of 5- 8 cm
  • strongly stir the mixture with a wooden stick
  • a to prevent animals falling into it, cover the vat with a grate or wire mesh

The container should not be closed airtight. In order for the fermentation process to occur, air and liquids have to react with one another. Inside of 2 to 3 days, the formation of foam signalizes a successful fermentation procedure. An unpleasant smell with occur simultaneously, because of which a location with a sufficient distance from the house or terrace is being recommended.

Treatment during the fermentation

At sunny, warm locations, the desired decomposition of stinging nettles takes approximately 14 days. In this time period it is important, to stir the brew once or twice daily. By doing this you can keep the process of conversion going which takes place with a multitude of microorganisms.

Produce Stinging nettles manure 1 of 5

A vast majority of the invisible assistants needs a supply of oxygen and predominantly stays at the surface of the brew. With the proper stirring technique you can effectively support the work of the microorganisms.

This is how it is done:

  • move the wooden stick along the inner edge
  • as soon as a funnel is forming in the middle, pull out the wooden stick

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The stick should not decelerate the rotating herb brew, as they would be pushed down and eventually die due to a lack of oxygen. This deficit slows the process of fermentation and simultaneously promotes the growth of the intensive brew stench.

Prevent foul smell

A proper stirring technique alone is not sufficient to prevent the intensive brew smell. With the help of the following steps you can influence, that the air in the periphery does not get polluted.

  • before every stirring, add some herb brew or rock flour or betonite (clay mineral powder)
  • additionally stir the leafs of chamomile, oak or baldrian into it
  • ideally install an aquarium pump near the bottom of the container

The higher the level of oxygen in the fermenting liquid, the lower the occurrence of the smell. By installing an aquarium pump at the bottom of the container, you can solve the problem as well and just as easily. In order to prevent swimming stinging nettles to clog the device, you can fill leafs into a back with air and water permeable material, like with old drapes.

Completion and usage

Stinging nettle is finished as soon as the brown liquid ceases to foam. If the plant parts have not been in a net, pour the mixture through a sieve or remove the stinging nettles with a foam spoon. In order to counteract a secondary fermentation of the manure, a shady, cool location is advantageous.

Usage

Tips regarding usage

As part of the preparation as brew or manure, the water soaks in the valuable ingredients of stinging nettles, to supply it to the plants of the garden as a natural fertilizer, tonic or ecological fungicide and insecticide. We have summarized in the following overview the most frequent methods of usage for you.

Stinging nettle brew

Fighting parasites

In combination with boiling water, stinging nettle brew will have mobilized after 24 hours those antibodies which counteracts sucking or stinging parasites. If you observe on your plants an infestation of leaf lice, spider mites or thrips, then the brew already contains a high concentration of unsolved nettle toxins.

One will not have to wait long for a success if applied undiluted to the upper and lower sides of the infected leafs. In the early stage of infestation, one application can already be sufficient. Otherwise spray the stinging nettle brew with a distance of two days repeatedly.

Leaf fertilizing

If there is yellow or brown coloration occurring on your crops and the green leaf nerves sticking out, it is mostly due to leaf chlorosis. A surplus of lime in the substrate determines important nutrients, which will not find their way into the plant pathways and thus not transported to the leafs.

The actual cause for a surplus of lime in the ground should be analyzed and mended. This problem is usually occurring when plants with a preference for a sour pH value are being watered with hard tap water.

Stinging nettle manure

Stinging nettle manure produced in adherence to this instruction contains a strong load of valuable nutrients like nitrogen, sodium, potassium as well as trace elements and vitamins. Your ornamental and crop plants will profit from this, without the necessity of using chemical additives.

In light of the high concentration, plant manure should only be used in a diluted manner with the ratio of 1 : 10 for the watering can and 1 : 50 for a pressure sprayer. It is furthermore important to make sure, that the solution is not being spread under the condition of direct sun exposure or on dry earth.

Please adjust the dosage on whether you are dealing with a plant with low, moderate or strong nutrient demands. Even though you are holding with the stinging nettle manure a natural fertilizer in your hands, there is still the possibility of overdosing with the respective disadvantages. With some exceptions, crop plants welcome a dosage of the nourishing plant manure.

Only for the usage with salads, peas, cabbage or vegetables the usage of stinging nettle manure is not suited. On flower and blossom groves you should add the natural fertilizer merely onto the growth of buds, as the high level of nitrogen carries negative implications for the blossoming.

Acceleration of the compost rotting

It requires a lot of patience to wait for a self-grown pile of compost which supplies the desired organic solid fertilizer. The stinging nettle manure has proven useful when it comes to accelerating the rotting. It is being used, as an exception, in an undiluted state.

Now and then shower the compost pile with the flower manure, this way the composition proceeds faster as the first diligent microorganisms are being vitalized. The stinging nettle manure counts as an especially effective accelerator if you want to create a sour compost with foliage leafs.

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