As I am sipping my nettle tea, I am inspired to share with you the incredible virtues of Stinging Nettle (Urtica, dioica or U gracilis). It does not taste like any other standard tea. It is not bitter like Green tea, sweet like Rooibos, lemon like or minty. It tastes like an earthy broth. This weekend I simply ate too much, so today is a great day to fast and nourish myself with nettle tea.
People have been using nettle for food, medicine and fiber since the Bronze Age. Many of the benefits are due to the high levels of minerals. It is especially high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, silica,
iodine, silicon and sulfur. Nettles provide chlorophyll, and are a good source of Vitamin A, C, beta-carotene and B- complex. They also have considerable levels of absorbable amino acids and are high in protein, which helps me stay on my fast and detox. As a tea, nettles act as a gentle diuretic, a restorative for kidneys and bladder and help the body cleanse itself of waste.
Because nettle is so chock full of vitamins and minerals, I like to make a decoction of nettle and drink throughout the day.
This requires simmering 1/4 cup of nettle in 2 quarts of distilled water (I like using distilled water, as it is hungry water that will exact every bit of nutrient from the plant). Boil and then simmer until the water is reduced by1/4. Fill a thermos and drink throughout the day. Sometimes to change the flavor, add some licorice chips.
If you come across a patch of stinging nettles, be sure to wear gloves; as the fine hairs of nettles are filled with formic acid, histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, 5-hydroxytryptamine and unknown compounds.
Nettles are a traditional food for people with allergies. Nettles can be juiced, and enjoyed as a cooked green with a topping of Sesame Sprinkles Seeds.