Wild Nettle Detox Tea Nettle tea is springtime’s natural elixir and used extensively in the Tudor era. I first learned about nettles the hard way. While clearing a fence line at my country house in Somerset. I smelled mint among the nearby plants. Looking to harvest the mint for tea, I plucked a handful of leaves from the closest plant and put it to my nose to get a deep whiff of the lovely mint smell. But instead I got what felt like a dose of pepper spray in my face. I had to run off and stick my face in a bucket of water for relief! - Matt Miller
One of the earliest green plants to emerge each spring, nettles can be easily brewed into a tea which has healthful, restorative benefits which boost the immune system and awaken the body to spring. The benefits of nettles have been documented for centuries, with claims both anecdotal and scientific, that nettles treat a wide range of maladies. Nettle tea is used to improve heart action, for headaches and for any internal bleeding. Nettle is said to be extremely beneficial for the kidneys, being useful in expelling gravel from the bladder and dissolving kidney stones. It is a powerful blood purifier that drives out toxins and metabolic wastes by stimulating the kidneys to excrete more water. Nettle tea is said to clean out the entire intestinal tract while activating the body’s natural defence mechanisms. It is used as an overall health tonic and to treat high blood pressure, anaemia, skin inflammations and more.
You can easily find expensive dried nettle detox tea in the store, but why not collect it for free on your next country walk and make it from fresh leaves yourself?
Identification: Stinging nettle , Urtica dioica, is a perennial flowering plant, usually appearing in bunches or groves in the same places year after year. Look for them in rich soil, disturbed habitats, moist woodlands, thickets, along rivers, fence lines, and along partially shaded trails. Considered a weed by many farmers and gardeners, no one will complain if you harvest a few nettles. Nettles are easy to identify. The dark green, opposite leaves are a few inches long, with a rough, papery texture, and very coarse teeth. The leaf tip is pointed, and its base is heart-shaped. In springtime, the nettle shoots will be close to the ground with only a few rows of leaves. The plant grows rapidly to a mature height of about 2 meters (6.5 feet) in summer. In fall the plant dies back, but re-emerges in the same location the following spring. Once you find a patch of nettles, you can harvest year after year in the same spot.
Foraging: ‘Stinging’ nettles are given this name for good reason. If you touch any part of the plant, you will be stung. The sting is mildly painful and can last for hours. Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirt and long pants when hunting for nettles. Use a scissors or garden clippers to cut the top two bracts of leaves, leaving the rest of the plant to regenerate. Set a pot or bag alongside the plant and clip directly into the container. About a cup of fresh leaves is sufficient to brew a cup or two of tea.
Making tea: Simply add water to your collected nettle leaves and heat to a near boil. Use about two cups of water for a cup of leaves; there’s no need to measure. You can make the tea stronger by steeping longer, or weaker by adding more water. Once the water is near boiling, reduce heat and simmer for a couple minutes. Pour through a small strainer and the tea is ready to drink. Some people , like me, prefer a small bit of raw honey added to the tea, but it is delicious either way. Detox