If you’ve ever had an unplanned meeting with the nettle plant you’d probably remember it and do your best to avoid it in the future. The stinging nettle gets its name from the plant’s leaves and stem, which are lined with fine prickly hairs that release a mild venom when they come in contact with the skin. Its prick induces a burning, stinging sensation that can temporarily be painful and very unpleasant. So, why on Earth would anybody want to seek it out, much less ingest it? Well, there are actually many potential health benefits to consuming dried nettle leaf, especially nettle leaf tea. Read more here!
But first… What is Stinging Nettle?
Stinging nettle is a plant that originated in northern Europe and Asia. It basically looks like a shrub with heart-shaped green leaves and small flowers. A closer look will show you that the leaves and stem are covered in sharp defensive hairs, most of which contain a variety of irritating chemicals that cause a painful reaction when touched. Symptoms of nettle leaf exposure include burning and itching at the contact site. In some cases, the exposed might see redness, swelling, or raised bumps. In severe cases, numbness at the site can occur and last a few days. However, consuming nettle leaf safely may make a difference to your health!
One of the most popular ways to consume nettle leaf is by drinking nettle leaf tea. It is most commonly made by pouring hot water over dried leaves or a pre-measured tea bag and allowing them to steep for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also find nettle leaf supplements in capsules or liquid form that can be added to food or drink.
Nettle Leaf Tea Health Benefits
For such an unfriendly plant, consuming it may have some amazing potential benefits to your health. Here are five of its most impressive attributes.
01. Promotes a Healthy Bladder and Urinary Tract – Natural health experts often recommend nettle leaf tea to assist in the healthy function of your bladder and urinary tract. Studies show that it may be an effective way to relieve symptoms related to reduced urinary flow, trouble completely emptying the bladder, post urination drippage, and the constant urge to urinate. It can also be particularly helpful for men dealing with complications of the prostate.
02. Offers Post-Pregnancy Support – Women may also benefit from the daily use of nettle leaf tea, especially post-pregnancy while nursing an infant. Stinging nettle may help stimulate and support healthy lactation, which could lead to a boost in milk production. Experts also believe it may help restore the mother’s energy and endurance following childbirth. Try Lactation Support by Gaia Herbs, a tea that combines nettle leaf with a blend of other herbs, such as goat’s rue and fennel seed, which are also thought to assist in healthy milk production, as well. It’s also caffeine free!
03. Eases Joint and Muscle Discomfort – The medicinal use of nettle leaf tea dates back to medieval Europe. Traditionally, it was used as a herb to help rid the body of excess water and to help soothe painful muscles and joints. Many recent studies support this theory. It is also sometimes used in creams and compresses for this purpose.
04. Provides Immune Support During Seasonal Changes – Many studies show that nettle leaf tea can be preventative for those who suffer from persistent sneezing and itching due to seasonal changes. Although histamine is one of the chemical compounds actually found in nettle leaf venom, its consumption appears to control histamine levels inside the body that are often aggravated by seasonal changes. Just be sure to look for a brand that offers fresh freeze-dried leaves to avoid a potential reaction from mold exposure.
05. Supports Healthy Digestion – Nettle leaf tea has been known to ease discomforts associated with a number of digestive issues, including bloating and excessive gas. Some researchers believe that the nettle leaf can be effective in helping the body to rid itself of bad intestinal bacteria and promote the growth of good bacteria that is essential to a healthy digestive tract. However, further clinical research is needed to support this theory.
Do you drink nettle leaf tea? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!