For a gentle pick-me-up that is caffeine-free, this Peppermint-Nettle Tea has been a favorite. The peppermint flavors the nettles wonderfully, making the nutritious nettles quite enjoyable in my book. If you really want to go hardcore, try out the super strength nettle infusion! But even the lighter tea version has given this busy mom a great natural boost of energy many a tiring day.
I talked about whether or not we should take supplements here, but beyond that question, there is a wealth of foods and herbs that have been traditionally used to boost health and nutrition. Maybe like me, you still take some supplements, or maybe you feel that research doesn’t warrant including them in your routine. Regardless, I think most people will find the wonderful and amazing world of herbs a helpful addition for your arsenal for health.
I have been thankful to work with an herbalist years ago, and then more recently a N.D. who used herbs to treat certain health issues I was having. I found it really helpful. In those cases I was taking them in strong supplement form. Today, I want to share a gentler version, not for treating anything, but simply getting some of the nutritious benefit of one super-herb, nettles. Infusions (in the form of herbal teas, or overnight infusions) is not only one of the simplest ways to enjoy herbs, but it’s also effective and gentle. Plus, I love knowing that this method of using herbs has been used for centuries. And nettles are a great place to start for those wanting to get their feet wet in the herbal world. Another traditional herbal tea is this one using Rosehips and Hibiscus, which have their own benefits!
Nettles (that is, stinging nettles, or common nettles) have been used for centuries. According to WebMD, it is used for anything from nosebleeds, internal bleeding, to treat anemia, poor circulation, enlarged spleen, diabetes, stomach acid, asthma, lung congestion, and more. I’m not sure how valid all of those uses are considering studies are rarely done on herbs, but we do know this is a very nutritious plant.
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It’s a favorite of the well-respected herbalist, Susan Weed. She shares,
“Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a common weed throughout much of the world. The dried herb makes a nourishing herbal infusion that packs more energy per cup than any stimulant, and without the downside of caffeine or stimulating herbs like cayenne and ginger. Tired teenagers, sleep-deprived new moms, stressed executives, wakeful menopausal gals, and wise women of all ages depend on stinging nettle to restore mood, replenish energy, and guarantee sound sleep.
Nettle is amazingly rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially the critical trace minerals: anti-cancer selenium, immune-enhancing sulphur, memory-enhancing zinc, diabetes-chasing chromium, and bone-building boron. A quart of nettle infusion contains more than 1000 milligrams of calcium, 15000 IU of vitamin A, 760 milligrams of vitamin K, 10% protein, and lavish amounts of most B vitamins.” (Source)
I’ve been doing a really simple “tea” using nettles and peppermint for a while now – and it really does seem to refresh and energize me, despite being a very gentle infusion. I’m not sure if it’s because of the iron content, or the B vitamin, or all of nutrients in them combined, but I will often choose it instead of caffeinated tea for an afternoon pick-me-up. I will share both how to make a gentle infusion, and the hardcore super-strength infusion that Susan Weed recommends (and she drinks 2-3 quarts a week). I will be ordering nettles in bulk so I can try out the stronger version soon myself!
By the way, I also share a nettle broth in my cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons that uses fresh nettles too.
- I like to make my tea in this press (which we use for coffee too). It makes it all very simple! If you are using a jar, using heat-safe ones are a must.
- I have been really happy with the quality herbs I’ve gotten from Mountain Rose Herbs. I still have some of the herbs (like peppermint) bought over three years ago, and they remain flavorful still! Make sure, when ordering from them, that you buy nettle leaf, not nettle leaf powder, or nettle root.
Cautions (Source: WebMD): As always talking to your health care provider is always a good idea. Nettles may cause uterine contractions, so isn’t advised for pregnant women. It can lower blood sugar; so if you already have low blood sugar, or have diabetes, you may need to monitor your levels and talk to your doctor. Likewise, it may lower blood pressure, so if you have any issues there, talk to your doctor because consuming on a regular basis. It’s also a diuretic, so kidney issues are a concern. If you are on any medications, please check this interaction list. For the peppermint, it can decrease milk supply in nursing mothers. However, nettles were traditionally used to support and increase milk supply.
- 2 tablespoons of dried nettles
- 2 tablespoons of dried peppermint leaves
- Pour 4 cups of hot water over the nettles and peppermint. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain and enjoy. I find it best plain.
- 1 ounce of dried nettles
- Place nettles in a quart sized jar. Pour over hot water and lid. Let steep for 4 hours, to overnight. Strain well, squeezing nettles to remove the extra liquid. Refrigerate. Will keep for a couple of days.
Other beverages on TheNourishingGourmet:
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