Nettles have so many health benefits, they should be one of our most valued plants. They are a powerful anti-inflammatory, high in Omega 3's, and great for cleansing and detoxing. We're lucky they grow like weeds in the semi-wild places around our town. Nettles can be used in so many beneficial ways it's totally worth it to learn about this plant, and find ways to use it on a regular basis. Here is one of our favorite uses.
When they're in season, in very early spring, nettles can be harvested in semi-urban wilderness areas. Check your local parks and forests for this plant, and wear gloves! The dried herbs are safe to touch, but fresh nettles will leave you with a painful, temporary rash. If not available in the wild, you can buy dry nettles by the pound from Mountain Rose Herbs.
I drink an infusion of the leaves every day, and have felt the health effects since we started drinking them. As an anti-inflammatory, nettles encourage the immune system to not overreact to every little thing. I used to easily get rashes from the slightest scratch; I just thought I had "sensitive skin", but it seems like my inflammatory response was a little off-kilter. Nettles have definitely helped.
Add boiling water to 1/2 c dried nettles (or a big handful of dried leaves) in a 4c French press or mason jar for 4-8 hours.
After steeping for a few hours, it's dark green and lovely. You can steep it for less time if you're in a hurry, but it gets stronger with time.
I like it hot, some like it cold, and my 6 year old likes it warm with honey.
I find that I can use the same nettles for two batches of tea, as long as the second batch steeps overnight or all day. Then, after straining out the infusion, the old tea leaves can be fed to the chickens! I usually mix them with whatever bowl of scraps I've got for them that day. I love that nothing is wasted. If you don't have chickens, you could put them in the garden as a nutritious mulch, or just add them to the compost.
For info on using fresh, wild harvested nettles, check out my article on raw nettle smoothies.
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We Drink Nettle Tea
4/ 5Oleh Mellow