Nettle tea is a refreshing herbal drink packed with many essential nutrients and biologically active compounds. They help to eliminate diseases in the body and boost the overall health. Let us look at some benefits and side effects of nettle tea.
Stinging nettle is a perennial shrub native to the colder regions of Asia and Europe. This plant belonging to the Urtica genus gets its name owing to the stinging sensation experienced when the fine hairs on its leaves and stems release an irritating chemical on coming in contact with our skin. For centuries, stinging nettle has been valued and used as a potent herbal medicine in many cultures across the globe. Today, Stinging nettle preparations in the form of tincture, extracts or dried leaves and nettle tea are available at most health food stores worldwide. Nettle is also available in the form of capsule for oral consumption and as cream for topical application to treat skin conditions.
The most common way in which nettle is consumed these days is as tea. The various benefits of nettle tea have made it popular. Nettle tea can be prepared by steeping 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried nettle leaves in boiling water for duration of 5 to 10 minutes. To obtain maximum benefits of nettle tea, from both the roots and the leaves, a few drops of the extract or tincture from the nettle roots can also be added to this tea. However, there are some side effects of nettle tea that too need to be considered in order to be safe when taking nettle tea.
Benefits of Nettle Tea
The benefits of nettle tea are widely discussed, as they are related to health and wellness. Here are some of the health benefits of nettle tea.
Benefits of Nettle Tea for Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
People suffering from osteoarthritis experience chronic joint pains in the hips, knees, spine and hands. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are often taken by these patients to relieve the pain. However, prolonged use of NSAID is not recommended as it can have serious ill effects on the body. Research has proven that consuming nettle orally in the form of nettle tea or even applying it topically on the joints can bring considerable pain relief to the patients. The benefits of nettle tea when consumed alongside these NSAIDs, can provide great relief from the pain and also reduce the NSAID use. The major benefits of nettle tea include their anti-inflammatory properties that can fight other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Prostrate Health Benefits of Nettle Tea
Urinary tract disorders like benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH, in men can be effectively treated with traditional remedies like nettle tea. Benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH is a non-cancerous condition in which the prostate glands enlarge and interfere with urination. The benefits of nettle tea have been proved in relieving benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH symptoms. With its strong diuretic properties, nettle tea improves kidney functioning, the frequency and urgency of urine flow, and stabilizes the testosterone levels in the body. The powerful anti-inflammatory properties and benefits of nettle tea help to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, regulate lipid peroxidation, alter growth factors and guard the bladder and the muscles that control bladder function.
The benefits of nettle tea also extend to regulating glucose levels of the blood. Studies have also shown that nettle tea is effective in considerably reducing high sensitive C - reactive protein (hs-CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in diabetic patients. When consumed in combination with regular oral anti-hyperglycemic drugs, the benefits of nettle tea can be compliment the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
The benefits of nettle tea can also help prevent seasonal allergies and their symptoms like sneezing can be relieved by consuming nettle tea. Even sneezing, congestion and itching related to hay fever can be controlled by drinking a cup of nettle tea. Unlike over-the-counter drugs that have shown side effects in people with sensitivities, nettle tea is a rather safe and an effective alternate herbal treatment for hay fever.
Eczema is a chronic skin problem characterized by itchy, dry rash that can be troublesome. Owing to the anti-inflammatory and antihistamine benefits of nettle tea, it can be used as an effective natural treatment for eczema. People suffering from eczema can consume nettle tea to heal eczema from within the body or even go for external application. Topical application of nettle in the form of cream can further relieve the rashes and redness on the skin and heal the body from the outside.
The detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and analgesic properties of this tea help to eliminate skin rash, acne, redness, wrinkles, etc. and thus make the skin look youthful and flawless.
Benefits of Nettle Tea in Aiding Hair Growth
Although not backed by medical research, some herbalists believe that the benefits of nettle tea can promote hair growth. They use nettle tea for hair growth as they believe that the silica content and other essential properties of nettle strengthen the nails and hair, control shedding, thinning and improve circulation.
Weight Loss Benefits of Nettle Tea
Another important of all benefits of nettle tea is the ability to lose weight. Nettle tea displays excellent cleansing and detoxifying properties which can improve the metabolic system and decrease water retention in the body; thus promote weight loss. Consuming 3 to 4 cups of nettle tea daily can suppress the appetite and make it easier for one to shed the extra pounds.
Side Effects of Nettle Tea
Although nettle tea is generally considered safe, certain properties in it may have an impact on some people. The side effects of nettle tea, can possibly affect some people and must be kept in mind.
- Nettle tea should never be consumed by pregnant women and women who wish to conceive. It can disturb the menstrual cycle and can also cause miscarriage. The side effects of nettle tea can be particularly more pronounced in such cases and hence best avoided.
- People suffering from cardiac problems, kidney issues and certain cancers should use nettle tea cautiously and with the supervision of a physician.
- While many believe that nettle tea decreases blood glucose levels, some believe the contrary. Diabetics are thus advised to keep a close check on their blood sugar levels when consuming nettle tea. If the side effects of nettle tea can affect blood sugar levels, diabetics must carefully follow their physician's advice.
- Another important aspect of the side effects of nettle tea include its blood thinning properties and reduction in the blood's ability to clot. Thus, when on medication, one must consume nettle tea with great caution as many medicinal drugs can negatively interact with nettle and trigger some health issues. It is best to follow medical opinion in this regards.
- Many people can also suffer from an allergic reaction, mild stomach upset and even develop rashes on the skin, as some of the side effects of nettle tea. One should never use nettle to self-treat for any medical condition.
With all its benefits and side effects of nettle tea, it is considered as a wonderful herbal drink worldwide. It has evolved as a potent natural remedy for treating many illnesses effectively. If consumed under the guidance of a doctor, regular and judicious intake of nettle tea can work wonders for our health and over all well-being. The dosage of nettle tea depends on the purpose of intake and sensitiveness to any of the possible side effects. Consuming 2 to 4 cups of nettle tea everyday can render multiple health benefits to the individual. It is however advised to consume additional amounts of water when drinking this tea and seek medical advice for those undergoing any medical treatment.