Introduction to Nourishing Herbal Infusions – Nettle

Many people have jumped on the green juice bandwagon, and for good reason — these juices are a welcome addition of vitamins, minerals, and other nourishment to our diets.  They work well at helping people to feel more energized and healthy. Unfortunately, many green juice recipes call for produce that is not always, if ever, in season in my region.

Are there other ways to get a local, sustainable, and easy punch of chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals?

Why yes there is.  Hello lady nettle.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

I remember my first encounter with nettle.  It happened as a young child when I was helping my mother to weed the garden.  I innocently pulled this ‘weed’ and soon thereafter had a nasty irritation all over my hand. Ow, nettle! She certainly has evolved an excellent defense mechanism.

Luckily, that early interaction did not deter me from learning about nettle and her many benefits.

Susun Weed reports an impressive list of nourishment found in nettle:

Nettle is a superior source of protein; 10 percent by weight.

Nettle is a rich storehouse of  readily-absorbable minerals, trace minerals, and micro-nutrients:

calcium (1000 mg per quart of infusion)

magnesium (300 mg per quart of infusion)

potassium (600 mg per quart of infusion)

zinc (1.5 mg per quart of infusion)

selenium (.7 mg per quart of infusion)

iron (15 mg per quart of infusion)

manganese (2.6 mg per quart of infusion)

    plus chromium, cobalt, phosphorus, copper, sulphur, silicon, and tin.

Nettle is super-charged with vitamins:

    Vitamin A (5000 IU per quart of infusion)

    Vitamin B complex, especially thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate

Plus Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K

All of this combines to provide an excellent source of energy and nourishment that is easy to come by and easy to use!

After experimenting with nettle infusion for about a year now, I would not turn back and I drink this infusion about 3-4 times a week.  I find that I crave the nourishment of this drink when I haven’t had it for a few days.  When I drink it, I feel as though I am drinking Earth milk (but I have not tried it on cereal!). I feel nourished and more connected with the natural world.  Plants (commonly considered weeds!) right outside my door can contribute to my health and well being.

The process starts by measuring out an ounce of dried nettles.  I’ve seen other people write about nettle infusions using just a few tablespoons of herb — this will still be a healthy drink, but won’t pack quite the same punch of minerals.  When I was beginning, I measured this ounce out with a scale, but I have since measured nettle out enough times to simply visualize an ounce of the herb in my quart jar.

Ounce of dried nettle

Next, I boil water and distract myself with teeth brushing or other before-bed chores.  When the water is ready, I pour it over the herb, seal the jar, and am off to bed.  The minimum time to leave an infusion is 4 hours, but it is fine to leave it overnight.

(Tip: pour the water over a knife placed across the jar lid to help diffuse the heat and avoid breaking jars!)

Nettle infusion ready to sit for the night

In the morning, I strain the herb and drink the resulting infusion throughout the day.  I drink it cold and straight out of the fridge, but it could also be warmed.  When I first started drinking nettle I added honey a few times to see if I preferred it that way (I didn’t, but I know that others do.  Mint is also a popular addition — just add a tablespoon to the ounce you measured out.).

Straining the infusion

What isn’t used right away can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.  If it isn’t used in that amount of time, it can be used as a hair rinse or to water houseplants.

Don’t forget to compost leftover herbs!

So where do you get this much nettle?  It’s awesome if you can harvest it somewhere local to you, but Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite source for organic bulk herbs.  You can find their nettle HERE.

FTC DISCLOSURE: As a way to support my blogging and related activities, I may receive monetary or other compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services within this article. However, it is my promise to you that I am sharing my honest opinion and that I only recommend products or services that I have personally used or recommend and are in alignment with Light Footsteps ideals.

15 thoughts on “Introduction to Nourishing Herbal Infusions – Nettle

  1. The stinging nettles in my area will be ready for gathering in mid May though its a pleasant thought to be just a little over a month away from visiting them again. I usually dry a good supply for the year. I’m kind of an old school nettle tea drinker who boils the dried leaves for 5 to 15 minutes, but I’m going to break from tradition and give your recipe a go, I like the idea of slowly steeping overnight and drinking this tea cold, I suspect this will make the tea have even more nutritional properties still intact.
    Again another great post, thanks for sharing.

    • The long steep definitely helps to let more of the nutritional properties out. I think you’ll be able to taste the difference! Let me know what you think if/when you give it a try!

      • I made some last night and enjoyed the results today. I find it is tastier and I prefer this version of nettle tea to the ones I’ve made for decades. I drink Chaga and other mushroom and herb teas throughout the week and this nettle tea will find a spot in the tea rotation. ciao for now and thanks

  2. I have not used the leaves for anything yet, but I have used the roots of the nettle for teething pain in babies. If you strip the root like you would when you strip the plastic coating off of wire, the root has a hollow center. You string it on some stretchy jewelry cord. Be careful not to make it too tight or too loose, you don’t want it to get wrapped around the babies neck. It will last a few days before needing to be changed.

  3. Pingback: Nourishing Pregnancy Tea | These Light Footsteps

  4. Would fat soluble vitamins A, D & K actually be extracted? It is my understanding that they need to be extracted using oil. Or by actually consuming the leaf.

  5. I don’t know if you are still checking this page out or not, but thought I would give it a whirl. I have tried nettle infusions from the dried nettle that I have purchased from the health food store. Would love to find fresh but live in the city and seriously have no clue where to find a source…anyway. When I brew the dried herb..usually overnight..the resultant tea is dark brown. What color is it supposed to be?? Quite a long time ago, I had some dried nettle, infused it and the tea was green. Tasted quite nice…but with it brown I nearly gagged. The child I am brewing this for refuses to drink it, and says it makes her sick. I have resorted to buying freeze dried caps and giving her those….but have noticed that they make her pee like crazy. Wondering if the whole nettle thing is just not for us. BTW the nettle worked quite well on the first…then not. Just went to the bathroom non stop and allergy symptoms were back. Bummer. Does anyone know how much of this stuff you can actually take without it become not good for you. Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • Hi Bev! I’m still checking this. Thanks for your comment.
      It seems like you’ve been having some mixed experiences with nettle! It seems like the nettle you’re using might not be the best if it’s turning a dark brown color. It should be dark green and might have a tint of brown, but I don’t think it should be dark brown. And then the flavor still is very Earthy, but it shouldn’t make anyone gag. For some reason, to me, I describe the taste as Earth milk – I quite like it! Another option to increase the taste is to add a spoonful of peppermint to the mix, or add a spoonful of local honey to the finished product (local honey can also be quite helpful for allergies).
      Nettle is a diuretic so it can increase peeing…maybe that is what happened. I only use the infusion about 2-3 times per week and rotate with other infusions so that I get the benefits of nettle without having too much of the diuretic side-effect.

      What type of allergies are you talking about?

      I like to buy bulk nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs. MAybe that’s a good place to try ordering more herb in the future:

    • Forgot to much of the freeze dried caps can be taken without causing a problem…caps are 435mg in size. Thanks again.

  6. Do you know if this would work with purple deadnettle? I have a ton of that stuff in my yard and I know it’s edible & safe.

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