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Nettle Tea: Benefits, Side Effects & How to Make It

Nettle tea, a beverage first brewed in China, has been consumed around the world for centuries for its amazing health and medicinal benefits. 

From possessing anti-inflammatory properties to being a potential treatment for diabetes while also being great for weight loss, there’s no better time to start drinking nettle tea than now. 

Here at OriGym, we’ve created a comprehensive guide on everything that you need to know about the nettle leaf tea benefits, some side effects and how to make it. 

Contents

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What is Nettle Tea?

Before we delve into the medical benefits of nettle tea, a definition may come in handy. 

Scientifically termed ‘Urtica dioica’, nettle tea is derived from nettle plants. Nettles are herbaceous plants that have stinging hairs all over the leaves. When they make contact with skin, stinging nettles can cause an itchy and burning sensation. In some cases, rashes can develop as a result. 

However, despite such reactions, nettles are safe to consume when soaked in water. You can make your own nettle tea by growing and harvesting the leaves yourself by mixing with hot water. Alternatively, you can purchase loose nettle tea or nettle tea bags. 

You can also consume nettle leaves in capsule form (like many of the best multivitamins for men and women), or eat young nettle leaves by steaming them, as you would with spinach. 

Historically, Ancient Egyptians would use stinging nettles to treat arthritis and back pain, both of which we’ll touch upon with this article. Moreover, Roman’s were known to rub stinging nettles on their skin to keep warm.  

Different variations of nettle tea exist such as nettle and peppermint tea, with benefits of their own. This article will discuss these in more depth shortly. First, though, let’s answer the question of “what is nettle tea good for?”

9 Health Benefits of Nettle Tea 

Now that we’ve covered a nettle tea definition and some of its history, let’s look into OriGym’s top stinging nettle tea benefits! 

#1 - Can Reduce Inflammation for Arthritis Patients

First up on the list of nettle tea benefits is that it can help to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a bodily response to an injury or infection. An area of your body will typically look swollen as your immune system strikes into action to fight the infection or to fix the injury. 

But, what does nettle tea do to help with this process? 

Stinging nettles possess compounds that are known to reduce inflammation and so may be useful for those with arthritis. This is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the joints, and is incredibly common across the UK and the rest of the world.

One study found that using stinging nettle products reduced the pain in arthritis patients compared with placebo treatments. Arthritis sufferers are encouraged to consume 1-3 cups of nettle tea each day, especially as herbal teas (like nettle tea or green tea) are good for helping with swelling and joint pain. 

So, if you wanted to get an insight into the benefits of drinking stinging nettle tea, its anti-inflammatory properties may well be a good enough perk for you to implement a cup into your daily routine. 

#2 - Reduces Hay Fever Symptoms

Drinking nettle tea bags benefits you by reducing seasonal allergies such as hay fever. Hay fever is an allergy to pollen, dust or mould that can irritate your nose and cause cold-like symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes.

This may be a more viable option than taking antihistamines when allergies strike without having to experience the drowsy side effects such medicines can bring. We’d recommend coupling it with other solutions, too - explore our complete guide to the best vitamins for tiredness for suggestions.

But, how does nettle tea reduce these symptoms?

There is significant evidence to suggest that nettle tea properties block histamine receptors while also blocking immune cells from releasing chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms. 

So, whether you’re looking to grow and harvest your own nettle leaves, or you’d prefer to use nettle tea bags, the benefits of either option stretch to you being able to enjoy a summer’s day even in peak pollen season. 

#3 - Promotes Good Urinary Tract Health

Another way that stinging nettle tea benefits you is by reducing urinary tract infection symptoms. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by microbes disrupting the body’s defences within the urinary tract, affecting the bladder and kidneys. But, why is nettle tea good for your health when it comes to these infections? 

Nettle tea benefits you by flushing harmful bacteria from the urinary tract and can detoxify your organs to prevent UTI symptoms from developing. 

In fact, nettle leaves, similar to pomegranate seeds and other superfruits, also have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to prevent inflammation of the urinary tract, which can be incredibly painful.

Moreover, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called prostate gland enlargement, is a condition where a male’s prostate gland can enlarge, causing discomfort and urinating problems. 

Research suggests that those with BPH who consume nettle tea saw fewer symptoms compared with those who didn’t consume nettle tea. This proposes that the benefits of drinking nettle tea have medicinal properties aiding those with urinary infections. 

It is recommended to consult your doctor should you experience symptoms of urinary infections.

#4 - Improves Hair Health

Did you know that nettle tea has benefits for your hair? From helping with hair loss, promoting hair growth and treating dandruff, there are ample benefits of nettle tea for your hair health. 

Nettle tea is one of the oldest treatments used for those who experience hair loss. By consuming nettle tea and nettle capsules help to promote hair growth from the inside out. 

Those who consume nettle tea find that hair re-growth comes through thicker and stronger compared with growth that is uninfluenced by the properties of nettle tea. Additionally, many also find that massaging the scalp with oils containing nettle extract enhances these effects.

Nettle tea is also thought to help tame an oily scalp and treat dandruff. There are two ways that you can benefit from this:

  1. Consume your nettle tea as normal to promote a healthy scalp from the inside out.
  2. Make a nettle tea and leave to brew. Once cool, massage the water and leaves on the scalp after shampooing to see a reduction in dandruff flakes and oiliness. 

These nettle tea hair tips will be sure to give you thicker, healthier looking locks in no time. Looking to improve your hair even further? Check out our complete guide to the benefits of coconut water, and how it can strengthen your hair, giving it a beautiful sheen.

#5 - Can Lower Blood Pressure 

Nettle leaf tea benefits you by lowering your blood pressure. It’s often been said that high blood pressure affects 1 in 3 adults within the UK, but that many don’t realise they’re affected by it. If left untreated, this increases the risk of serious problems such as strokes and heart attacks. 

Studies have been conducted over the years to evaluate the effects of nettle tea on blood pressure. It is thought that nettle tea can increase nitric oxide production, which helps blood vessels to widen and encourages greater blood flow. 

Interested in learning more about nitric oxide? We’ve compiled a complete guide.

Stinging nettles have been shown to lower blood pressure levels in animals by increasing the heart’s antioxidant defences. Furthermore, while these medical benefits of nettle tea have only been researched on animals so far, it is thought that similar results would come from human trials. 

If you’re someone who wants to get a better insight into the benefits of drinking nettle tea, then recognising that it can reduce your blood pressure may well be the deciding factor in getting you started. 

#6 - A Treatment for Diabetes

Stinging nettle tea benefits you by helping to manage your blood sugar levels, which is incredibly helpful for those who suffer from diabetes. Diabetes is a disease where an individual’s glucose levels are too high. There are 2 types of diabetes: 

  • Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body being unable to produce enough insulin, a hormone that controls blood glucose. Type 1 diabetes is not linked with lifestyle, weight or age.
  • Type 2 diabetes is often linked with being overweight, inactive and/or having a family history of type 2 diabetes. This is a common condition that also causes the level of sugar (glucose) to become too high. 

Now, you may be curious as to how stinging nettle tea benefits those with diabetes. 

Nettle tea has been shown to positively affect blood glucose levels, which in turn helps the pancreas produce more insulin. This means that glucose levels are able to be managed more efficiently for those who struggle to produce enough of it.

We’d strongly advise combining these nettle tea benefits with the additional benefits of healthy eating and an active lifestyle, as this can help to magnify those advantages, and counteract some of the causes of Type 2 diabetes.  

Since diabetes affects 1 in 3 adults in the UK, consuming a cup of nettle tea each day may be a viable solution to prevent diabetes symptoms from developing. This may also reduce the risk of you experiencing a heart attack or stroke as your glucose levels are better managed. 

#7 - Promotes Healthy Skin

“What is nettle tea good for?” may have been a question you had earlier in this article. But, did you know that the benefits of drinking stinging nettle tea stretch to promoting healthy looking skin? 

The properties of nettle tea include being made up of Vitamins C, D and K (all of which are great vitamins for the immune system) as well as being rich in minerals such as zinc and selenium. These minerals have a fundamental role in promoting healthy looking skin. 

Let’s run through how they are a benefit of nettle tea: 

  • Zinc: Is responsible for ensuring your body’s defence system works efficiently. It also ensures that the process of cell growth, cell division and wound healing occur properly. Each of these promotes healthier looking skin. 
  • Selenium: This mineral works closely with zinc in that it makes antioxidant enzymes that are responsible for preventing cell damage. This also goes for preventing skin cell damage.

It is thought that to reap these benefits of nettle tea, just 2 cups per day is enough. Why not consider incorporating this into your day?

So, what are the other benefits of nettle tea? Nettle tea is great for giving you an energy boost without caffeine. Read on to learn more. 

#8 - Energy Boosting Properties

Organic nettle tea also benefits you by providing a good energy boost without containing caffeine. While many of the benefits we associate with black coffee come from its high caffeine content, it can have some adverse effects.

Caffeine has a few side effects on the body that can be off-putting, such as an increased heart rate, shakiness and feelings of anxiousness. The benefits of nettle tea, therefore, is that it doesn’t contain caffeine, so you can still get an energy boost without caffeine’s side effects. 

Moreover, while nettle tea is ideal for an energy boost, it’s also known for not compromising the consumer's ability to sleep. This is because nettle tea does not increase your sugar levels, thus actually helping you to drift off at night. 

In fact, this can make it an ideal drink post-workout, especially if you’re looking to fall asleep more easily - rest days are hugely important, and sleep is a massive factor in ensuring you rest enough.

In summary, if you’re someone who would like an energy boost to get through your day, then nettle tea bags have benefits that you ought to take advantage of. 

#9 - Promotes Weight Loss

“What are the benefits of nettle tea?” may have been a question you had when beginning this article. But, did you know that nettle tea promotes weight loss? If you’re wanting to be more mindful of the number on the scale, then this section is worth checking out. 

The benefits of nettle tea for your weight loss journey include helping to reduce water retention and promoting fullness. Let’s run through these individually. 

Firstly, nettle tea's nutritional information outlines that it is rich in magnesium, an important mineral that helps with bodily functions. A high magnesium count is known for reducing bloating and water retention in the body. Furthermore, consuming just a cup of nettle tea each day can help you to lose some water weight. 

Secondly, herbal teas are a great way to temporarily fill your body up without contributing much to your calorie intake. As you consume a cup of hot herbal tea, your metabolism burns more calories to cool the liquid down, helping facilitate weight loss.

Did you know that there are different variations of nettle tea that exist? An example is nettle and peppermint tea, the benefits of which can help to boost weight loss effects even more than nettle alone. Peppermint tea is a great go-to for suppressing your appetite to help promote fullness.

OriGym have compiled a complete guide to the benefits of peppermint tea, including how you can implement it into your diet. Together, nettle and peppermint tea benefits you by giving your weight loss efforts an extra boost! 

However, it’s important to note that nettle tea alone isn’t enough for you to attain your weight loss goals, as a nutritious diet and a consistent exercise routine is so important for weight loss. Nettle tea can just help nudge your efforts forward.

While these medical benefits of nettle tea can be what influences your decision on including it in your diet, our next section will run through nettle tea’s nutritional information so that you know exactly what you’re fueling your body with. 

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Here are 3 more articles to help you make healthy nutritional choices:

Nettle Tea Nutritional Information

Now that we’re familiar with all the main health benefits of nettle tea, it’s a great idea to understand what makes up a hot mug of this beneficial beverage. Per 1 cup (89g) serving of nettle tea has the nutritional content of: 

  • Calories: 35
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbs: 7g 
  • Sugars: 0.9g
  • Protein: 2.4g
  • Salt: 0.1g

Additionally, nettle tea is a good source of vitamins and minerals that can help to reduce inflammation, symptoms of urinary tract infections, and even hay fever. Nettle tea contains:

  • Vitamin A: 35%
  • Calcium: 45%
  • Vitamin K: 580%
  • Phosphorus: 8%
  • Iron: 8%
  • Magnesium: 10%

These percent values are based on the daily recommended amount per each vitamin and mineral. Now that we’ve covered what it is that nettle tea is good for and the nutritional information, we’ll now cover some of the side effects of stinging nettle tea. 

Potential Nettle Tea Side Effects

While herbal teas are generally very safe to consume, there are some potential side effects of nettle tea that you may wish to consider before implementing the drink into your daily routine. 

These include:

  • Gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhoea or nausea 
  • Stings on the skin if picking leaves yourself
  • Allergic reactions
  • Rashes

If you're handling the nettle leaves yourself, ensure that you cover any exposed skin before harvesting leaves to prevent allergic reactions and rashes. Our section will run through some harvesting tips for nettle leaves safely. 

While some of these side effects of stinging nettle tea are unpleasant, they are relatively short term and most likely needn’t require treatment. Should you experience some of the side effects, consider taking some time to rest, drink plenty of water and take painkillers (or a CBD oil for pain) should rashes sting. 

How to Make Nettle Tea

The properties of nettle tea are certainly attractive, but now you may be thinking about how to make it. There are various options available in how you choose to consume nettle tea. They come in tea bags (such as this option from Amazon), loose tea form, and can also be foraged and harvested should you prefer. 

Let’s firstly run through some tips on how to harvest your own nettle tea before we delve into a nettle tea recipe!

  • Get The Right Tools: Before starting your nettle-picking endeavour, it is important to equip yourself with the right tools. You’ll firstly need some good gardening gloves, gardening scissors and a bag to put your nettle leaves in. Also, cover any exposed skin before foraging for nettle leaves. 
  • Selecting the Nettle: When selecting your nettles, you want to look for “young” leaves. This means that they are no greater than 3” wide. Check the undersides of the leaves to ensure that there’s no spittle - a white, antibacterial foam that bugs produce. 
  • Quantity: You will require a good handful of nettle leaves to make one cup of nettle tea. Use this measurement to determine how many nettle leaves to pick. 

But, once you’ve harvested, how do you make nettle tea? We’ve put together a short, step-by-step guide on making the perfect brew. We’d also suggest pairing it with a healthy paleo snack for an ideal afternoon boost.

Step 1

While wearing your gloves, cut off the leaves from their stems. Put the leaves into a bowl of warm water for 10-minutes to clean the nettles. Should the water turn an orange colour, don’t worry, this is normal. 

Step 2

Using a colander, dispose of the water and transfer the leaves into a bowl of boiling water. Add a few pinches of salt and leave for 5-minutes. 

Step 3

Using a pasta serving spoon, remove the leaves from the water and transfer them to another bowl with ice. 

Step 4

Once cool, rest the leaves on a dish cloth or kitchen roll to dry. These can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Step 5

To make a brew of nettle tea, simply add a tablespoon of nettle leaves from the container into a mug of boiling water.

So, there we have it - everything you need to know of the benefits of nettle tea, some side effects and how to make your own brew. The following section will run through some FAQs that you may have about nettle tea.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it Safe to Drink Nettle Tea Every Day?

Going outdoors and picking your own organic nettle tea benefits you in a variety of ways, from reducing inflammation to being a treatment for diabetes. But is it safe to consume every day? 

In short, it’s completely safe to consume nettle tea every day, and this can be an excellent way to make the most of the benefits of stinging nettle tea. 

As mentioned earlier, we’d suggest aiming to include 1-3 cups of nettle tea in your diet per day, as this is the optimum amount for helping to alleviate swelling and pain in joints. 

You might also choose to augment this reduction in inflammation with some of the best foods for the immune system, as these can increase nettle tea’s effectiveness.

However, drinking in excess of this recommendation increases the risk of you experiencing some of the side effects of nettle tea. These include potential gastrointestinal problems, allergic reactions and rashes if in contact with the skin.

Consider sticking to the daily recommended amount of nettle tea to reap the benefits outlined in this article without posing risks of acquiring the side effects. 

Can Pregnant People Drink Nettle Tea?

Now that we know why it is that nettle tea is good for you, is it safe for pregnant people to consume? 

While some consider it safe to consume nettle tea when pregnant, studies have found that nettle tea can affect your menstrual cycle, and may even contribute towards more serious issues during pregnancy.

However, other schools of thought believe that nettle tea can help with pregnancy-related cramps and aches, and therefore deem it perfectly safe to consume.

Due to the conflicting studies and reports, it may be preferable for you to just steer clear of nettle tea while pregnant just in case. We’d suggest replacing it with a beverage that’s high in folic acid, as this is incredibly helpful during pregnancy.

It is also recommended to consult your doctor before consuming nettle tea while pregnant. That way, you can reduce the risk of experiencing the potential side effects of stinging nettle tea while also ensuring your safety while pregnant. 

Does Nettle Tea Help You Sleep?

There are an array of herbal teas available to you that promise a more restful night’s sleep, but you might be wondering if nettle tea is included in that. The short answer is a resounding yes - one of the main benefits of nettle tea is that it can help you to sleep. 

The properties of nettle tea mean that it can help you to drift off to sleep more quickly and deeply. It has soothing qualities that help you relax and feel less stressed, ideal after a difficult day of work.

Additionally, when compared with other herbal teas such as green tea, nettle tea contains no caffeine. This will also help you to drift off easier at night as your heart rate and glucose levels remain at a normal level. 

Caffeine does have incredible benefits, however - read more in our complete exploration of cold brew coffee benefits.

Due to these sleep-aiding qualities, it’s encouraged to be wary of consuming nettle tea and sleep medications, as this may cause too much drowsiness if taken too early before bedtime. 

Before You Go!

With this article, we’ve covered some ways that you can harvest your own herbal tea remedies and some potential side effects of nettle tea that you may wish to be aware of before making it.

In summary, when consumed in moderation, nettle tea is a safe and refreshing drink that can be beneficial in a variety of ways. We’d recommend aiming to include it in your diet, especially if you’re looking for a caffeine-free alternative to other teas on the market.

If you’re looking to develop your nutrition expertise further, though, how about a career as a nutritionist?

OriGym’s prestigious sports nutrition course provides the complete package, with ultra-flexible, 0% interest payment plans, expert guidance available 7 days a week, and a revolutionary online learning platform.

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References:

  1. Randall C, Randall H, Dobbs F, Hutton C, Sanders H. Randomized controlled trial of nettle sting for treatment of base-of-thumb pain. J R Soc Med. 2000 Jun;93(6):305-9. doi: 10.1177/014107680009300607. PMID: 10911825; PMCID: PMC1298033.
  2. Kregiel, D.; Pawlikowska, E.; Antolak, H. Urtica spp.: Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Properties. Molecules 2018, 23, 1664. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071664
  3. Ghorbanibirgani A, Khalili A, Zamani L. The efficacy of stinging nettle (urtica dioica) in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a randomized double-blind study in 100 patients. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2013;15(1):9-10. doi:10.5812/ircmj.2386
  4. Qayyum R, Qamar HM, Khan S, Salma U, Khan T, Shah AJ. Mechanisms underlying the antihypertensive properties of Urtica dioica. J Transl Med. 2016 Sep 1;14(1):254. doi: 10.1186/s12967-016-1017-3. PMID: 27585814; PMCID: PMC5009491.
  5. Hailemeskel B, Fullas F. The use of Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) as a blood sugar lowering herb: a case report and a review of the literature. Diabetes Res Open J. 2015; 1(5): 123- 127. doi: 10.17140/DROJ-1-119

Written by Emily Evans

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Emily studied English Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2021 with a 2:1 BA honours degree. Alongside her degree, she also gained experience in student publication as Forge Press’ Lifestyle Editor and Deputy Editor for Post-Production. This is where her love for content writing stemmed from, which also led her to OriGym. Outside of her work, Emily will either be found on a long hike, at the gym or making a mess trying new healthy recipes in her kitchen!

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