Nettle tea is widely available, cheap, tasty and loaded with nutrients. This could be one of the healthiest and most effective detox teas out there, and there are a catalog of potential health benefits and exciting studies following this tea around.
What is Nettle Tea?
Nettle tea is simply a herbal tea that is made from an infusion of the common stinging nettle plant. It is the same plant that you see on roadsides and in the furrows of fields. The same plant that has likely stung you once or twice and that you’ve likely kicked at or sworn at in disgust just as many times.
To the uninitiated, the nettle is a weed. It is a horrible plant that serves no purpose and should be wiped off the face of the planet, lest another generation of kids be stung by its skin-reddening. pimple-raising spines. But to a nutritionist it’s different story, as this is a super healthy plant that is packed full of healthy compounds.
It can be eaten as a food and there are some nettle eating competitions in Europe, where the competitors try to fold the leaves and stuff them in their mouths in a way that won’t leave them stung and in pain. But the best way to benefit from this plant is to dry it and then boil it. As soon as it has been dried those irritating spines found all along the edges of the leaves lose their potency and when you boil it they are gone completely, taking their mildly toxic chemicals with them.
And once that happens then you’re left with something that is 100% healthy, 100% nutritious, and 100% perfect for your detox.
Nettle Tea for a Detox
Nettle tea is beneficial during a detox because it flushes excess water out of the body. In this sense it works in a very similar way to dandelion root and licorice root, but as well as the natural diuretic effects you also get all of the other benefits of nettle tea discussed below.
If you are using nettle tea during a detox then make sure you brew a fresh cup of it everyday. You can use fresh leaves that you clean thoroughly and then boil for over 10 minutes, or you can use some dried nettle leaves purchased from a health food store. We prefer the dried options because it’s easier and it’s safer. You don’t know what has been sprayed on the nettles you find in the wild. And we’re not just talking about pesticides, because nettles tend to grow in areas where cats, dogs and other wild animals urinate and defecate.
If that doesn’t turn you off the fresh variety and convince you to go dry then we don’t know what will. The better the quality of nettle leaves you buy, the more expensive they will be, but they are still very reasonably priced across the board. There is a subtle difference in tastes and potency based on the quality of the leaves and their place of origin, but as long as you’re not drinking the nettle dust found in many cheap teabags and are brewing whole, dried leaves, then you’ll be good with whatever variety you find.
Other Health Benefits of Nettle Tea
As mentioned above, there is more to nettle tea than diuretics and detoxes. This tea has undergone extensive human, animal and laboratory testing in recent years and a lot of exciting results have been drawn up, pointing to all of the following benefits:
Prostate Problems and Urinary Infections
A study conducted in 2011 found that the stinging nettle was comparable to a potent OTC drug in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is a condition characterized by an inflammation of the prostate, leading to symptoms such as frequent urges to urinate, inability to fully empty the bladder, and more.
It’s not a life-threatening illness. But this enlargement is incredibly unpleasant and leads to a catalog of problems for men who suffer from it. If you have frequent urges to urinate, for instance, then you might wake up several times during the night, which can lead to day-time fatigue, an ability to focus, and even depression.
By helping to reduce these symptoms nettle tea can make life worth living again for men who have been suffering from this disorder. It has also shown an equal amount of promise in treating urinary infections and other urinary disorders. Experts are not entirely sure why this is the case or how it is alleviating these issues, but what matters if that it works.
Arthritis and Joint Pain
One of the most exciting developments in recent years concerns nettle tea’s ability to reduce joint pain and inflammation in the joints, which means it could be used as a treatment for arthritis. One study, published in the Journal of Rheumatology, was able to show that nettle possessed powerful anti-inflammatory properties that could be used to treat autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
In other studies nettle’s unique compounds have drawn comparisons to powerful NSAIDS. And when you consider how widely used these drugs are and how many people suffer from serious side effects because of them (ranging from heart problems to internal bleeding) this research is very promising. Nettle has none of those side effects and if it really is able to compare to powerful NSAIDs then the future could be bright (or brighter) for many sufferers of joint pain and other inflammatory diseases.
Other Nettle Tea Benefits
The potential health benefits mentioned above are the most exciting, the ones that really expose the potential of this herbal tea. But there are many more potential benefits that are either in the early stages of research or have had very little research conducted on them. These are all promising as well and we could see this tea prescribed for related treatments in the future:
- Hair Loss: It has been suggested that nettle can help to stimulate hair growth.
- Reduced Bleeding: Many studies have shown positive results when applying topical solutions of nettle to the gums and mouth during dental surgeries. It could even help to reduce or stop bleeding in cases of gingivitis. It may also help to reduce menstrual flow.
- Diabetes: Nettle may be able to help control blood sugar, which means it could be used to treat conditions like diabetes.
- Allergies: It may be able to relieve allergy sufferers of their symptoms.
As with all herbal teas and supplements, there are some side effects to be aware of. You should consult with your doctor before consuming any nettle tea if you:
- Have a preexisting medical condition
- Are taking medication
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have an allergy to plants in the same family