Nettle tea is an herbal "tea" made from the leaves and roots of the stinging nettle plant. Nettle tea is an infusion or decoction, depending on how you prepare it.
Nettles can be boiled or steeped on their own or added to herbal blends with herbs like raspberry leaves, lemon balm, peppermint, lemon peel, vervain, and alfalfa. On its own, nettle tea has a herbaceous, rich taste that some compare to an earthy, sweet version of seaweed.
You might also hear nettle tea referred to as one of the following:
- Stinging nettle tea
- Nettles tea
- Nettle herbal infusions
- Nettles decoction
What Are Stinging Nettles?
The stinging nettle plant (Urtica dioica) is the best known of the family of nettle plants, also known as the genus Urtica in the family Urticaceae.
At first glance, they may not seem like an ideal herbal infusion. In addition to being a popular food amongst caterpillars and butterflies, they bear needle-like points which are extremely irritating to the skin.
However, stinging nettles make a fantastic culinary herb and can be used as an ingredient in everything from pasta dishes to soups and stews to herbal teas and tonics. Nettle leaves and roots may be used topically as a powder or juice, or be consumed in food, beverage, or supplement form.
How to Make Nettle Tea
Generally, one teaspoon of fresh or dried nettle per cup of tea is a good ratio, though some people use up to four teaspoons of dry leaf per 2/3 cup water. For a stronger infusion, you can crush the leaves with a mortar and pestle just before adding the water.
- For a regular infusion, nettle tea can be steeped five to 20 minutes with water that has reached a rolling boil.
- It can also be boiled for a few minutes and then strained for a decoction.
- You can also steep it at room temperature overnight for a strong tonic.
Nettle Tea Safety and Side Effects
There are some side effects associated with nettle tea. As with all herbal remedies, it is highly recommended that you consult with a doctor or registered dietitian with any questions about nettle tea.
Upton R. Stinging nettles leaf (Urtica dioica L.): Extraordinary vegetable medicine. Journal of Herbal Medicine. 2013;3(1):9-38. doi:10.1016/j.hermed.2012.11.001
Ulbricht CE. Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Guide: An Evidence-Based Reference. Elsevier Health Sciences. 2016.