Posted in Kafevend Blog
It seems counterintuitive that a plant that can cause such a nasty stinging rash is also, when used in the right way, a super food. Nettles are chock full of vitamins and minerals,to an extent that would make a producer of fortified cereal weep! High in iron, they also contain calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Nettles have been used for their medicinal properties since Greek and Roman times and quite possibly a long while before that. They can be used as an antiseptic, an expectorant, an anti-inflammatory and, it is claimed, as a pain reliever.
I'd often heard of nettle soup, but the leaves can be used to make a tisane too. Nettle tea is produced by many companies, Twinings and Clipper, to cite two well known examples. However, if you feel the desire to go for a bit of a forage, you could have a go at making it from scratch yourself. You'll need the new leaves from the top of the plant, as those that have been there a while will be bitter. Approximately one cup of leaves will be needed for each one to two cups of tea, depending on how strong you prefer it. Once the leaves have been washed and the water added, bring them almost to the boil in a pan and then simmer for a couple of minutes. Strain the leaves out straight away to avoid the tea becoming bitter. As with all tisanes sugar can be added, but avoid milk.
It's worth bearing in mind that despite the health benefits to be gained from nettle tea, caution is required in some circumstances. If consumed excessively there could be potential problems with blood thinning medications, diabetes and pregnancy. Everything in moderation is the maxim to remember!