Thursday, March 24, 2011
Medicinal herbal tea: Stinging nettles
In the interest of the Stinging Nettles project I am working on a coworker gave me some organic nettle leaf tea from traditional medicinals to try out. Being that stinging nettles are full of all kinds of medicinal chemicals it would be very logical to expect nettles to have medicinal benefits. Some of these medicinal chemicals are anti-inflammatory and have been shown to reduce joint point and allergy symptoms. Another compound called formic acid is a known anti-bacterial. Serotonin a hormone associated with feelings of love and happiness is also found in nettle. As a medicinal product however, Nettles are mostly commonly prescribed to alleviate environmental allergy symptoms.
So with this all in mind, along with my allergies, I have tested out this tea several times in the past few weeks. First off, the tea is a sort of brownish color with a slight green tinge to it. Taste wise I would say it is neither bad nor good, but definitely easy to drink with no overpowering flavors. Also, no real aftertaste. I tried several different steep times ranging from three to ten minutes. Medicinally ten minutes is probably most beneficial. As for medicinal results I would say it definitely helps with mild allergy symptoms most of the time and will partially alleviate more harsh allergies sometimes. As for making me feel happy or in love anything like that I don't know... This is just my own personal experience but it aligns with much of the scientific research on the effects of stinging nettles.
As with all wild foods such as stinging nettles make sure you have absolute positive identification of the plant. Check and cross check with experts, books, and the internet. In the case of prepackaged herbal teas you don't have to worry about identification, its already been done for you. Once the plant has been positively identified taste a small amount and wait several hours to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction. Then taste again and wait awhile, if you don't have an allergic reaction go ahead and try it.