One of my most popular blog posts happens to be on Slippery Elm. I continuously receive emails, questions, and comments about this subject. Because of that, I am reminded of how many people are suffering from various diseases and illnesses. Not everyone wants to jump on a prescription for a “quick fix”, knowing those can be loaded with side effects. Please note, I am not bashing all prescriptions. There is certainly a time and a place for them, but with that said, there are so many natural remedies right at our fingertips. They often go untapped because of lack of knowledge. So when I learn of something super cool for our health, I am excited to share it with you!
Most of you have probably heard of nettle tea or stinging nettles (Urtica dioica). My husband and I started drinking it consistently about a year ago when we learned how beneficial it can be to your health. I was intrigued at its bone building properties, while my husband needed a good cleanse as he was battling gout. Gout is not fun, let me tell you! Recently, it was brought to my attention that you can take your standard cup of nettle tea (from a tea bag) a bit further and get some major, and I mean major health benefits. This is done with nettle infusions.
This highly nourishing, rejuvenating, remineralizing and alkalizing herb can heal your body in so many ways. It builds stamina and energy levels by strengthening your adrenals and kidneys. If you struggle with anxiety, working on healing your adrenals is definitely something to focus on. Some other benefits worth noting are that nettle keeps your blood vessels flexible (this lightens the load on your heart and helps prevent heart problems), promotes hair growth and gives it shine, improves skin tone, helps with allergies as it is a natural anti-histamine, it strengthens your immune system, is a natural liver detox, and helps regulate blood sugar. Nettles is beneficial to those with neurological disorders, muscle & joint pain, congestion, celiac disease, skin problems, UTI’s, enlarged prostate glands, parasites, Lupus, is an anti-inflammatory, and serves as a blood purifier.
Because of its anti-inflammatory and blood purifying qualities, people suffering from gout or arthritis can greatly benefit from this powerful herb. This is what led me down the nettles path in the first place. I have some family and friends who suffer from gout and arthritis. Both can be extremely painful, and sometimes crippling disorders. As a matter of fact, a few days ago, I was talking with my friend George. He was telling me about his arthritis and how he had been dealing with quite a bit of pain from it. I suggested he try some nettle tea, which he was not familiar with. I was excited to share the benefits of this special herb with him because I think it can make some great improvements in his daily life and hopefully serve as an excellent pain reducer. Using a standard tea bag is a great place to start if you are new to nettle, so that is what I suggested he do. I’m excited to hear George’s feedback as he implements nettles on a consistent basis. And who knows, maybe he will end up trying the infusions!
My husband battles gout and has tested very high for uric acid. Nettles helps to release uric acid from the joints, often times providing great relief from the painful symptoms associated with gout. So as I said earlier, we quickly jumped on the nettle tea bandwagon last year, and within a month, his gout symptoms were gone! However, he still battles with joint pain and tends to lean on the arthritic side. I continued to search for something that would give him that extra boost his body was needing. That is when nettle infusions captured my attention. The infusions are much more concentrated than your traditional tea bag. My husband has been doing the infusions for 3 weeks now, so I will update you with his progress in the near future.
As for me, the bone building properties are astounding! That is such a huge deal in my family. Both my grandma and mother have osteoporosis. With a clear family history of this disease, I need to be proactive and protect my bones. Iron, calcium, magnesium, silicon, potassium, manganese zinc, copper, and chromium are all key minerals packed in nettles which are critical for bone health. Those minerals, along with Vitamin C & K, make stinging nettles very rich in nourishment for our bones. So yeah, I’m diving in head first!
What makes nettles to special that it has all of this ability? Probably the most obvious answer when looking at the brewed infusions is its dark green, almost black appearance. That is because it is extremely rich in chlorophyll. We already touched on this, but it’s worth repeating. Stinging nettles are full of calcium, magnesium, iron (helps with anemia), B complex vitamins, C complex, vitamins A, D and K as well as protein, cobalt, trace minerals, potassium, iodine, boron, manganese, zinc, copper and sulfur. You will be hard pressed to find something quite as nutrient dense as stinging nettles.
Using bulk herb is the proper way to make the infusions. Tea bags or taking capsules will not give you the strength needed to get the most powerful effect. With that said, I can’t speak for the capsules as I have never tried them, but I personally believe if you don’t want to jump into infusions, drinking nettle tea from a tea bag 2-3 times a day will benefit you. Just be consistent. And it may not be as beneficial as it could be by way of infusions, but it still offers you some nourishing qualities.
Using a quart sized mason jar, fill it with about one ounce in weight of nettle, which equates to about one cup in volume.
Then pour in the boiling water and cover tightly.
Let it steep 4-6 hours, or overnight.
You will then strain the herb out. Do this by pouring the contents of the mason jar into a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Squeeze the herbs in the strainer so that the excess tea is released into the large bowl. The herbs hold a lot of tea and you don’t want that to go to waste! The large bowl will then hold the nettle infusion tea.
Pour the liquid back into your mason jar (rinse out any nettle leaves that are left behind in the jar). Put the lid on and store the nettle infusion in your refrigerator.
Drink within 2-3 days for the best quality.
I enjoy it cold but you can drink it warm as well. You can pour it over ice or add a little lemon juice if you would like. The positive health benefits are seen by drinking 2-4 cups a day for 6 weeks. Some people see results even sooner than that. Many people continue drinking the infusions as a part of their daily life because of the enormous health benefits. After the 6 weeks is up, even if you have a couple of glasses a week, you will still reap benefits. With that said, start the process slow. One-half cup may be a good starting point and then gradually move up your intake as long as you are feeling good. Some people can have a reaction to the detox so you don’t want to overload your body too quickly.
*A word of caution when making the infusions, when you pour the boiling water into the mason jar, do so very slowly and maybe even place the jar in your sink while pouring. The reason being, it is possible for the boiling water to cause the glass to shatter. This has never happened to me, but it is definitely something to think about. I feel like there is a greater risk of this in the colder months which can cause a big temperature difference between your jar and the water. Make sense?
I buy my herb in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs. The quality of their products is top notch! Along with the herbs, you will need a large bowl with a spout if possible, at least one quart sized mason jar (I brew 3-4 jars at a time because my husband and I go through it quickly!), and a fine mesh strainer. Once you have all of your supplies, you can start brewing this nutrient rich tea. If you want to introduce nettle at a slower pace, try brewing it like a standard cup of tea. You can brew it with loose tea or tea bags. If you try the tea bags, steep the tea for 10-15 minutes to get the most out of it as you can. Squeeze the tea bag into your mug before removing. One more thing, if you are currently seeking medical attention or taking any medications, make sure you talk to your doctor about nettle infusions before you start the process. I will be updating you on our progress and things we have noticed. I hope you will do the same.