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 not result in the full benefits of nettle.  When I was beginning, I measured this ounce out with a scale, but I have measured nettle out enough times now to visualize an ounce of the herb in my quart jar (and I must note my newly x-stitched napkin!).

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 over night.

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.).

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!

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7 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

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