Stinging nettle infusions are highly nutritive tonics that nourish your body with trace minerals and vitamin K as well as many antioxidants and other plant compounds. They also help support cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation and general wellness. Herbalists often use them as an adrenal and reproductive tonic and to ease seasonal allergies. They’re also easy to make at home, and have a pleasantly mild flavor.
What is nettle infusion?
A stinging nettle infusion is an herbal tonic that you make by steeping dried nettles in hot water for several hours. After steeping, you strain the liquid and drink it. Nettle infusions tend to be a good source of many micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, as well as various medicinal plant compounds.
Nettle infusions taste faintly tea-like, inky with a soft herbal sweetness. Their flavor is rich and green.
Benefits of Stinging Nettle Infusions
Stinging nettle infusion is potent medicine, particularly for women whose bodies crave the plant’s rich minerals like chromium, magnesium and calcium[mfn]Weed, S. (2008) Healing Wise. Ash Tree Publishing[/mfn]. And nettles are highly anti-inflammatory and rich in phytonutrients like rutin, which is also found in buckwheat. and astragalin which you can also find in the adaptogenic herb astragalus [mfn]Fleming, T., et al. (ed) (2000) The Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicine. Medical Economics Company.[/mfn].
Traditionally, herbalists use nettle infusions to support general wellness, to ease growing pains in children and as a reproductive tonic for both men and women[mfn]Gladstar, R. (2008) Herbal recipes for vibrant health. Story Publishing.[/mfn]. Many herbalists also use nettle as an adrenal tonic, too.
Other benefits of nettle infusions:
- Nettles support blood sugar balance and regulation[mfn]Bouchentouf, S. et al (2018) Identification of phenolic compounds from nettle as new candidate inhibitors of main enzymes responsible on type-II diabetes. Current Drug Discovery Technologies.[/mfn]
- Stinging nettles also support cardiovascular health[mfn]Vajic, U. et al (2018) Urtica dioica L. leaf extract modulates blood pressure and oxidative stress in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Phytomedicine.[/mfn]
- It also acts as an anti-inflammatory[mfn]Roscheck, B., et al. (2009) Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Physotherapy Research[/mfn], which can be helpful during allergy season[mfn]Mittman, P. (1990) Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Medica.[/mfn]
- Nettles are high in chlorophyll, antioxidants and other plant compounds that can gently support detoxification.
- As a source of trace minerals like iron, chromium and magnesium, they can also help remineralize the body.
- They’re a good source of vitamin K which supports blood clotting, healing wounds as well as cardiovascular and bone health[mfn]Vitamin K Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health.[/mfn]
Where to find stinging nettles: Stinging nettles grow wild throughout Europe and North America. You can also grow them yourself from seed. Or you can purchase organic nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs here.
Nettle Infusion vs. Nettle Tea
While teas and infusions may seem indistinct, there’s a few key differences. Herbal teas use smaller amounts of herbs and they steep for a shorter period of time – about 5 minutes. By contrast, herbal infusions use a higher volume of herbs and often steep for several hours. Therefore, they’re more nutrient-dense[mfn]Gladstar, R. (2008) Herbal recipes for vibrant health. Story Publishing.[/mfn]
So when making a nettle infusion, you’ll use about one ounce of herbs for every quart of water and steep it at least 4 and up to 12 hours. As a result, nettle infusions have a deeper flavor and a much higher micronutrient content than nettle teas.
How much should you drink?
Nettle infusions are, ultimately, nutritive foods. While they have many benefits, it’s wise to drink the amount that feels right to you. Even as little as a cup of nettle infusion every few days still conveys many nutritive benefits.
Some sources recommends up to two liters a day[mfn]Fleming, T., et al. (ed) (2000) The Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicine. Medical Economics Company.[/mfn], which is an awful lot to swallow. But a cup or two is likely sufficient and a little easier to manage.
Stinging Nettle Infusion Recipe
- 2 ounces dried stinging nettle leaf
- 8 cups water
- Bring two quarts of filtered water to a boil.
- Toss nettles into a mason jar, and then fill it with boiling water. Allow the herbs to steep in water for at least 4 and up to 12 hours, then strain them from the infusion using a fine-mesh sieve or tea strainer.
- Drink right away, or store the strained infusion in the fridge up to 3 days.
Other Ways to Use Nettles
In addition to nettle infusions, you can also use nettles fresh as a culinary green. It’s excellent in omelets and in soups or made as a nettle pesto. It’s also a fantastic herb for women throughout pregnancy, and you can grab the recipe for our pregnancy tea below.