Stinging Nettle Infusion: A DIY Post for Allergy Sufferers


Thanks for the well wishes for my test this morning! I could feel the love when I woke up at 5 to make coffee and prep. Much appreciated.

Remember a month or so ago, when I posted 13 natural remedies for seasonal allergies? You guys helped me so much in compiling that list, and had great feedback to offer in general about allergy management. Thank you! The great irony is that I wrote that post just as spring became summer, and the worst of my seasonal allergies seem to be over. Phew! This said, I still wake up with symptoms sometimes, and one of the annoying consequences of moving to DC has been that my allergies when I go home to NYC seem worse, so I continue to take all of the great advice we collected to heart.

Since I wrote that post, I’ve been taking a quercetin supplement. But perhaps the most important chance I’ve made is to start drinking stinging nettle infusions. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is used in herbal medicine for a variety of conditions, including anemia and osteoarthritis, but it’s possibly most well known for its capacity to aid with allergies and hay fever. Why? Because nettle may be a natural antihistimine, in addition to its many other beneficial properties. For more on stinging nettle, you can check out this helpful link from UMD.

My stinging nettle education, such as it is, has come from my friend Melanie St. Ours, who is a local herbalist and massage therapist. When I wrote my allergy post, Melanie had the following helpful advice to offer me (and my readers) about nettles:

I’d like to offer some clarity about the nettles. I make a distinction between therapeutic doses of nettle and recreational doses. (Recreational doses = a light little pleasant-tasting tea…nothing psychotropic. Nettles aren’t *that* kind of herbal medicine!) If you want the benefits of nettles, which are uber-attractive since they offer a boatload of minerals and make every cell in your body practically sing with gratitude, you’ve gotta go with an infusion. It’s dark, green, and strong. It tastes delicious. You can *taste* the minerals. (Don’t let this put you off the idea of nettle infusion, but there is a strange way that nettle infusions remind me of drinking dairy milk, which I haven’t done in so many years that I can’t remember the last time I had it. I think it must have to do with the high calcium content of both beverages. Try it and see if it reminds you of the same thing.)

Here’s how:

1 oz of dried nettles
1 quart of boiling water (from teakettle)

Put nettles in a mason jar. Cover with boiling water and let sit for at least 4 hours. I let mine sit overnight for convenience. Strain, drink, and be grateful to nature.

If you have this kind of dose every day along with supplemental quercitin (the dose you need to have much of an anti-allergy effect is much larger than you can get from food–though you should certainly still eat these foods anyway) you’ll have a fighting chance at staving off your allergic woes without OTC meds. The neti pot is great—just don’t use it if you’re prone to fungal sinus infections.

My clients who get nettle infusions as part of their protocols regularly tell me that their hair grows faster, gets thicker & shinier, and that their nails are stronger and less prone to breakage. I really believe this effect comes from the profound nourishment from the minerals that so many people are grossly deficient in. There’s also something so pleasantly tough about nettles. It’s a scrappy little plant that imparts a tenacious energy to its human friends. I highly recommend getting to know it.

(I like to source my nettles in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs. Don’t bother with teabags. Trust me.)

It was delicious happenstance that I had lunch with Melanie only two weeks later, and she brought me a gift: my own little bag of nettle leaves from Mountain Rose Herbs! I was delighted and so grateful: healing gifts are the best gifts. It took me a while (I spend some nights at the library, and on others I’m so distracted with studying that I forget to make time for myself), but earlier this week, I tried my first nettle infusion, following Melanie’s instructions above precisely. Success!


As you can see, the infusion (before straining) is very dark green indeed! It looks and smells powerful.


And this is the strained drink. As you can see, it’s still incredibly dark green!  The taste is kind of amazing: a mixture of earthy and sweet, and very hard to describe. Melanie likened it to cow’s milk, which freaked me out a little at first (I’ve never liked the taste of cow’s milk, and in fact, didn’t care for cold cereal as a child because I didn’t like the milk at the bottom of the bowl!), but now that I’ve tasted the stuff, I know what she was getting at. The taste isn’t like cow’s milk at all, but the smooth richness of it is. It feels nourishing and elemental.

I’ve no way of knowing yet whether steady and consistent nettle infusions will aid with allergies (especially in autumn and spring, when mine tend to flare up), but I am so delighted to become acquainted with this herb, and to explore its benefits. For all of my acquaintance with holistic medicine, I’m actually quite ignorant when it comes to herbalism, so I welcome this and other chances to expand my knowledge base and explore the science and logic behind traditional remedies.

If you’re an allergy sufferer or would like to explore the rich mineral supplies and potentially antihistimine properties of a nettle infusion, I encourage you to try infusions in your own home! They’re cost-effective and very easy. Again, instructions are:

Homemade Nettle Infusion (courtesy of Melanie St. Ours)

1 oz of dried nettles
1 quart of boiling water (from teakettle)

Put nettles in a mason jar. Cover with boiling water and let sit for at least 4 hours. I let mine sit overnight for convenience. Strain and drink.

Happy straining, all! Have a great night.


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  1. Can you take stinging nettle infusions for too long? I’ve been taking it almost everyday for 2 years. I love it. But I wonder about the high Vitamin A content especially. I like it as a natural replacement for a ‘one a day’ vitamin pill, but wonder if I could be getting too much vitamin A. Hope someone can address this.

    • Hi Mia,
      I am no expert but I believe the vitamin A in stinging nettle is from beta carotene. Your body converts the beta carotene into vitamin A as it needs it. Since your body is converting what it needs to vitamin A you shouldn’t have any problem with getting too much.

  2. I don’t know if this is the right section to ask this but I’ll take my chances anyway. I’ve been suffering with back pain for almost 7 months now and can’t sleep properly at night. My friend said that medical cannabis is very effective when it comes to any illnesses. I’ve been reading some article about medical marijuana and how it can help you in terms of pain management, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, inflammation, even cancer and a lot more. Like this review on a certain strain on, it has a very high pain suppressing effect. Cbd and thc are also new to me and I don’t even smoke. Alternatively, they’ve also find new ways to infuse cannabis on food and beverages. If this is true I cant find any solid conclusive evidence that speaks to its efficacy. Any personal experience or testimonial would be highly appreciated. Thanks

    • I’m afraid I don’t know how to work with the powder, Juanita, and I’m not sure that it can work for a sinus infection. I’m sure a good herbalist / herbal medicine resource could help with this!

  3. I am a believer in nettle for allergy relief.. I picked up a bottle of dried nettle capsules and take them when I start the itchy sneezing that comes with spring/fall in New England. Here’s my question… is it ok to give it to my kids?? They are 6 & 8 and the ragweed is wreaking havoc on them!! if so… how much should I give.. the bottle really doesn’t say for kids. Maybe 1 capsule a day? I take 2, twice a day for high allergy days. And what about combining with Quercetin (which I do for me), any dangers/unpleasant side effects likely for kids?


  4. I just tried the nettle infusion for the first time and it makes me feel sick to to my stomach. Why would it do that and is there anything I can do to overcome it? I really want to make this a part of my daily health plan. Thanks!!!

  5. I am researching for the hubby who is allergic to “anything that grows out of the ground.” He suffers horribly 11 months a year (NEFL). We have wild nettles all around our neighborhood. I have 2 questions, 1 that’s been asked but not answered yet.
    1. Is he to drink a whole quart a day? If not, how much? (previously asked question.)
    2. Can I make the same infusion (recipe) provided in the original post using fresh leaves or should they be dehydrated first? If I can use fresh, still 1oz to 1 quart of
    water and seep overnight?
    3. How long will it keep in the fridge and hold it’s potency? (ok, that’s 3 questions…)

    Thanks in advance. Looking forward to both of us enjoying a good night’s rest.

  6. warm hello

    i have enjoyed making peppermint tea (cold infusion)
    for a long time now

    i recently switched to drinking thyme tea and nettle dandelion
    as they do not stain my teeth like peppermint does

    do u recommend cold infusion for any other herbs
    besides peppermint?

    i love the convince and that idea that im not killing enzymes but
    still wouldn’t want to miss out on the therapeutic effects if heat is necessary

    i have been drinking the cold dark green nettle tea
    after i first boiled the water of course
    for a long time now
    it does feel mighty nourishing indeed

    so many foods to try in the form of medicine and therapy
    i recently started buying holy basil or tulsi tea
    i brew it like i do nettle
    or any other tea with boiling water

    is that one tea that i can cold infuse?




  7. Hi Melanie

    Thanx for answering so quickly.

    1. Hmm. How do I ask the store about this? Just go in and ask them if they can check what their supplier is supplying them with? Or should I ask them if can have the name and number of their supplier and check on this myself? Never did this before which is why I am wondering. I bought a few ounces from them the other day, and when I infused it up today, the water was brown instead of dark green. From reading on here, that’s not so great. I went back today and told them this, and got a new batch. When the lady went to the back she pulled a giant garbage bag out of a plastic pail, and inside said bag was the nettles. Is this how all bulk herb is sent to health food stores??

    2. Good to know she can drink this all the time if she likes. She doesn’t mind it. How much can she drink during a day? I drink a cup here and there with her, and for some reason the taste of this particular infusion seriously makes me sick to my stomach. No matter what I do with it, the taste is so gross and when it does go down, I honestly feel like I have to hurl. Weird, as this is the only herbal tea that does this to me. I can pretty much drink anything else. Strange. Back to child. Veered off a bit there. What do you mean might not be effective as a single treatment? Would that mean that she might have to try something else entirely, or mix something with the nettles…if it doesn’t have any effect?? I’m a nube, can ya tell 🙂

    3. Bed is covered. I do a lot of vacuuming (central vac with hepa filter) Just started the no dairy thing here to see if it makes a difference. Won’t be too much of a problem as we are not a big dairy type of family. The wheat will be fun, as everyone here, except me, loves their bread. She is very allergic to dogs and to a lesser degree..cats. Guess where she spends the majority of her time Monday to Friday? In school surrounded by kids who are covered in dog and cat dander. You should see the fun I have trying to get people who have numerous pets to change their clothes before they come here. I have had ppl lie and say they have, only to discover later on, after my daughter is wheezing that they didn’t want to bother and they didn’t think it would be a problem, or that I am making too big of a deal about it and making her so paranoid that she is getting symptoms just from me being worried..Some of the best excuses have come from relations..ugghh Her dr. has given her 3 different asthma medications already and they have either made her so sick to her stomach that I stopped giving it, or gave her excruciating chest pain, or such nosebleeds that her bed looks like a crime scene. I would love to land on a more natural route that actually works, as I have read so many success stories from other ppl on different blogs/forums that such and such natural route worked for them. Have even read on some forums that thru diet change, like you suggested, and some herbals and a supplement or 2 that some people have even successfully taken control of their asthma and have no need for the drugs that their drs. kept pushing. Wouldn’t that be nice. Would also love to land on the perfect naturopath/homeopath the first time I went to one. These people are crazy expensive, and if you have to do the trial and error thing till you find a good one, you will be bankrupt. Here they charge almost $100 an hour. That adds up mighty darn quick. I don’t even know anyone who has been able to afford to go to one who can maybe give me a referral. Sorry for rambling on. Will go on Monday, and check out the nettle situation at the healthy food store.

  8. Hello everyone

    First off, great page you have here with some helpful hints. Have read all of the posts here, but still have some questions 😮 I have a 14 year old with chronic allergies. I have tried her on different OTC drugs, some have worked..not 100%..but better than nothing..some have not, and some have made the symptoms worse. Some of the side effects from the things that the Dr. prescribed were not that pleasant.

    I have read about nettles for allergies and was giving her infusions but with the measurements being 1 Tbsp per cup of hot boiling water. That would be quite a bit less than what is recommended here..and on Susun Weeds blog, which would be..if I’m not mistaken..16 Tbsp per 1 quart/litre/4 cups of water. Would this be too strong/potent for someone her age to be drinking? Maybe do 1/2 cup nettles in that quart of water?? I don’t know. Please advise me.

    Also, seeing as she has year round allergies, can nettles be taken every single day? I have read on other sites that these infusions should only be used for a certain length of time…few weeks to a few months…then stopped for a period of time, then maybe taken again. Once again..I dunno. I await your much better knowledge of this than mine. Thank you very much for your help.

    • Hi Beverly!

      Gena asked me to drop by to answer your questions. I’ll do my best to be helpful, but the limitation of this kind of forum is that I really can’t be sure of what the best course of action for your daughter would be. If you try these suggestions and still feel confused (or like she’s not getting good results) your best bet will be to have her work one-on-one with a practitioner. (And if you can’t find anyone in your area, feel free to reach out to me personally as I do work with clients via Skype.) That said, here are my best answers to your questions:

      1.) The full dose of nettles should be perfectly fine for a 14 year old. They are much more like a food than like a drug and have a similar safety profile to something like spinach. The only place she could run into trouble is if the nettles you’re sourcing aren’t from the young tops of the plant, as the older and more established plants (that have gone to flower) have more oxalic acid in them. This is the same compound that’s present in spinach that can potentially cause problems if over-consumed. You can ask your supplier about the nettles they use to double check on this.

      2.) As long as the oxalic acid issue is being taken care of, it should be fine for her to consume nettle infusions regularly throughout the year. She can listen to her own intuition about how much is too much. If she starts to want a break from them, she can take a break. If she craves them, she can drink them more often. However, it’s important to know that these infusions on their own probably won’t be enough to stem the tide of her allergies. I think they will help, and they have a lot of other nutritional benefits, but they are unlikely to be effective as a single treatment.

      3.) You may have already done this, but a good place to start with allergies of any kind is to reduce the allergenic load that her body is dealing with. You can work on making sure that all of her bedding has dust-mite covers and is hypoallergenic. Make sure that pets are not sleeping in her bed with her (even if she doesn’t have a specific allergy to the pet.) Have the ducts in the house professionally cleaned, if possible. Use unscented lotions, bath products, and laundry detergents. And see if she can remove some or all of the common allergens from her diet. It may seem strange to go to these lengths if she doesn’t have a specific allergic response to pets, milk, eggs, or wheat (for example), but there’s evidence to suggest that all of these factors are somewhat irritating to most people’s immune systems and the more that we reduce her total allergen load the easier it will be for her body to deal with the allergens that she can’t control (like pollen and pollutants in the air.)

      I really hope this is helpful! Please know that there’s a lot more out there to help her than just nettles, so if this strategy does’t work it doesn’t mean that herbal medicine failed her. It just means that she needs customized support from a trained professional in order to get the right herbs to match up with her body type and her issues.

  9. Hi Melanie,

    I have found this very interesting reading. I have been suffering from what a physio diagnosed as a sprained toe, but now turns out to be gout. It just won’t clear up, any trauma and it returns. In desperation I went to the doctor who was a locum. I take bendrufluazide for my BP and he thought this could be the culprit to my raised uric acid levels. (blood test confirmed raised level) He told me to stop taking the Diuretic (Bendrofluazide) for a couple of weeks, the thought of which terrified me, but he said as my BP has been over 60 I would be fine. Not sure I am convinced about that, and admit to feeling anxious, which of course is not good for BP – bit of a vicious circle. .

    Today I went to the herbalist who has suggested I take Nettle tea as it has great results with decreasing uric acid and also works as a diuretic. I am hoping it will replace the BP drug, and at the same time reduce my uric acid levels.

    I have 2 tbs of nettles infusing in 500 mls boiling water now, after about 5 and a half hrs I will strain and leave in the fridge overnight. Fingers crossed that perhaps nettle tea will take care of 2 issues for me. Would be great to be off BP meds and be pain free in my foot. Also taken apple cider vinegar and manuka honey tonight. Hitting it from all sides.

    Thanks for this page

  10. Good Day, I have 5 acres covered in nettles and many more acres of them available any time. I eat them like spinach, put them smoothies (cooked), etc. I am facing a bit of a health crisis currently and am interested to know. How do i make a hot unfusion using fresh, not dried, leaves and stems? The stems and root have so much energy and goodness! Basically, what proportion of fresh leaves to water would i use? I beleive that if i drink a quart of it a day, plus a quart of green smoothie i will be able to irradicate this ailment from my body… mecause my senses and body said so! 😉 In Belief of proving the medical community wrong once again, Stacia Peace and Prosperity to you and thank you for your service

  11. Hi! I ran into this site just in time. I develop allergies when my immune system is not strong (like after not getting good sleep for a number of days or getting emotionally upset). I will also soon be travelling and have to stay in a house for a few weeks that have cats, which I am allergic to. I am planning to try to boost my immune system and get the anti-allergy benefits from nettle leaf. I bought the nettle leaf tablets, but I’m wondering if you recommend the infusion over the tablets, or both, and why. I’m also wondering, since I will be traveling and tablets will usually be more convenient, what dosage you recommend. And finally, I am nursing my 10 month old baby… all I’ve read is that it may increase breast milk, which I don’t need to do, but any other reasons to not take it if I’m nursing? Thanks for your help!

    • Alli,

      The herbalists I know all recommend infusions over pills or tea bags. I’m not an herbalist myself, so I can’t speak to any complications or contraindications for nursing, or to the pill dosage — I can only tell you that this infusion formula works for me. Good luck!


  12. Also, does it sit overnight on the counter or in the fridge? How long can it keep before you need to throw it out? Thanks!

  13. Hi,
    I hope this is not a dumb question, but the mason jar you show in your pic doesn’t look like it holds 1 quart, are you using the full quart with one ounce of nettles as it sits overnight in the jar? I just bought some and want to try it asap! Thanks!

  14. Great to stumble upon this site! I wholeheartedly agree that nettle infusion is fantastic! I have been drinking it for about 8 months, almost daily. I had horrible allergies and issues with bladder infections. I have not had a problem with either, in ~6 months!

  15. I would like to add that my son most suffers from a constant cough. He will cough so much at different times he almost throws up and has on occasion. So any help would be appreciated

  16. Melanie St. Ours.
    Hi Melanie.. I am wondering if this would be good for my son. He suffers with a terrible cough from allergies. We went to a specialst and he did all the testing on him and in that process my son almost passed out. Let’s just say it was not a good experience and he will not take allergy shots. Ragweed seemed to be the worst of his problems. I have tried every prescription allergy medicine with no help so I am in unchartered territory with the natural approach. I came accoss this site and wanted to know how much Quercetin should he take daily? Should he only do one nettle influsion daily too? We live in a very small town and it is hard to get things that are available in the city so I will have to order online. My son is a golf and currently in college on a scholarship so he cannot avoid being outside. Please help…

  17. I’m wondering about dosing- should a person with severe allergies drink a quart of this per day then or is the quart made at once, with smaller doses being taken through the week?

  18. This is awesome! I am pregnant and love the idea of using nettles to help my calcium and iron levels. I just ordered some and infused it overnight. Does it matter if I drink it room temperature, hot, cold or iced? Or is it just personal preference? Thanks!

  19. Hi Lana!

    The great thing about herbalism is that there really aren’t too many ways to do it wrong. You could combine all the herbs. Nothing terrible is likely to happen. Since I don’t know anything about your health (and couldn’t do a fair job of giving individualized herbal advice here if I tried!) I can’t know if these are the right herbs for you or not, but you’ll know after you work with them for a little while.

    I think that when we’re in the early stages of learning herbs, it really makes sense to work with “simples,” or, remedies that use only one herb at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE formulation and cooking up potions and mixing herbs together for their synergistic effects. The problem is, until we learn the herbs one-at-a-time it’s impossible to know how to combine them effectively. I’d suggest trying each herb on its own for a few days at a time. Notice how you feel. Notice what happens with your moods, your skin, your digestion. Notice any subtle effects…notice the taste & the smell of each plant. All of this will contribute to your understanding of how to work with these plants and how they interact with your unique biochemistry and bodymindheartspirit.

    On a more practical level, dandelion root and burdock root will extract better in a decoction than an infusion. (Decoction = boiling the herbs in water.) Dandelion leaf would work in an infusion, but it would be very strong and I wouldn’t recommend a dose as large as the dose for nettles. If you’re using dandelion for its effects on the liver, make sure you’re using the root and not the leaf. The leaf is mostly diuretic and a bitter with more of an action on the gallbladder than the liver itself.

    (And if you’re working to bring up your iron levels, do a little research around the interwebs about making a syrup with blackstrap molasses and yellow dock….)

  20. Thank you thank you THANK you! I used to drink nettle every day as a tea when my iron was low – and now it is even lower, so this will be a great addition to my daily routine! Love the potent blissful healthfulness of herbs – just magical. Mother nature really does provide us with everything we need! I just got a kilo of dried nettle, and 500g each of burdock and dandelion.. figure I could make mini infusions with a combo of burdock and dandelion to give my liver a boost.. what do you think? Good idea or? Thanks once again!


  21. I just bought some nettles because of this post! Testing out your “taste is kind of amazing” claim 😉

  22. Thanks for the post, Gena, and Melanie for your interesting insight into nettles! I’ve never really suffered from allergies, luckily, but it looks like nettles might have some other properties of interest, I’m definitely going to give this a try!

    Lately I’ve been becoming more interested in herbal medicine, so this post is coming at perfect timing!

  23. I love nettles infusions and am so happy to see this post! Thanks for sharing the wisdom! I have been drinking this regularly since January and have noticed my hair growing in thicker and I just have felt very healthy overall. (I also drink infusions of oatstraw, red raspberry and red clover-but each separately, not mixed together.) I usually infuse each batch of herbs twice, to maximize the benefit for the cost. The second infusion is much lighter and less potent than the first, but still much richer than water!

    A question for Ms. St. Ours… I want to input the nettles infusion into my nutrition software, but the closest available entry is “stinging nettles, blanched” which I assume to mean fresh. Do you know what weight of fresh nettles would be equivalent to 1 oz. of dried? From there I could probably assume, what, maybe 90% of the calories/vitamins/minerals that get transferred into two rounds of the infusion, minus the fiber?

    Long question, sorry 🙂 I just get so excited about nettles infusions!

    • Hmm…after giving this some thought, here’s the best idea I can come up with. (It’s complicated and maybe not-that-helpful…)

      Susun Weed (who is undoubtedly the world’s foremost expert on nettle infusions) says that 1 cup of infusion made in this way has 500mg of calcium. What I’d do for a rough estimate is see what volume of “stinging nettles, blanched” has 500 mg of calcium and guestimate that you’d get a similar amount of the other nutrients (minus the fiber) in 1 cup of the infusion. To be truly precise with this, we’d have to consider how soluble each of the constituents is in water, but I’m the totally wrong herbalist to ask about such things! Hope this helps a little….

  24. Ahh, I’m so glad to see Nettles getting some attention! I read about the herb first probably a decade ago in Susun Weed’s book “Healing Wise” I predict you’ll be recommending Red Raspberry leaf infusion next! 😉

  25. huh. never thought about infusing it! when i was foraging in india a couple years ago, the family that i stayed with cooked us up a big pot of stinging nettle soup! the texture was definitely interesting but the flavor was nice 🙂

  26. this really does sound like a phenomenal thing to try. when i read “nettles” in your post previously, i really didn’t know what to think as i’m simply not familiar. but i clicked on the link to Mountain Rose Herbs and am considering it! it’s always nice to see someone else has tried it 🙂

    i also enjoyed learning about the distinction between a tea and an infusion. do you happen to know if infusions are generally the way to go with herbal supplementation (over teas, that is)? I flirt with others such as raspberry leaf for cramps, in tea form. perhaps i should increase the bags and let it steep much longer to increase efficacy?

    • Hi Alyce!

      Generally, one of the things that can contribute to people feeling that herbal remedies don’t work for them is that the dose they’re taking is way too small. Infusions are the way to go for nutritive herbs, such as nettles, raspberry (or blackberry, or strawberry) leaf, oatstraw, rose petals….the list goes on and on. These herbs work primarily by providing our systems with deep nutrition that then allows the systems to return to homeostatic balance through the body’s own intelligence. In other words, they’re gentle while being deeply effective.

      Teas work too, and some herbs are too powerful to drink as infusions. The other thing I’d suggest is that you consider working with somebody to find the right herbs for *your* cramps. Herbalism treats people, not conditions. The right herbs for my cramps are likely to be the wrong ones for your cramps, because we’re two different people who have cramps for two different reasons. Does that make sense?

  27. Thanks for sharing with us..i like this post the detail you have shared with us is up to the mark. Allergy is most common now adays .today’s polluted environment.

  28. When I was pregnant, at the advice of my midwife, I started drinking nettle tea. I really hadn’t even heard of it until then, but realized is pointed out in this post, make every cell in your body practically sing with gratitude. For the pregnant and the non-pregnant, i.e. everyone! I think that nettle tea is a great replenisher of the trace minerals and nutrients we may be lacking in.

  29. Thanks for this post Gena.
    I have never heard of this before and think its a great idea!
    Although I am lucky enough not to suffer from allergies I would still like to have it as a nutritional drink.

  30. I’ve got to try the infusions! I’ve been drinking nettle tea for ages and haven’t noticed any benefits (I also take quercetin). Or maybe my allergies would be even worse otherwise!! Looks (and sounds, from your description) like an interesting taste.

  31. I can’t tell you how much I’m smiling right now! Oh Gena, this warms my little herbalist’s heart. May many many of your readers not only make friends with this beautifully nourishing plant, but may they also open their hearts to the vast number of medicinal allies we have in the plant world.

    I’ve long had a vision about connecting the momentum behind plant-based eating & veganism with the deep roots of herbal medicine. By bringing this information to your audience, you’re making a piece of that vision come true.

    Fellow CR readers, I hope that you’ll experiment with nettles! I also urge you to explore herbal medicine a little bit at a time, with an open heart and your rational mind ready to step in when something doesn’t sound right. There’s still a lot of misinformation out there about individual herbs and herbal medicine as a whole, so do use both your intuition and your reasoning as you learn.

    I’ve included my email here and I’m happy to be a resource for you on your journey. I’m so excited for all of you!

    • this is a very helpful post – thanks so much! in fact, my mother let me “borrow” a nettle plant (Ok, she let me transplant it from her home to mine 🙂 and it’s healthy and vibrant. Very “pinchy” but that’s nature I suppose 🙂 I was going to dry it in the dehydrator, but I was mainly wondering if the pin-like structures are ever a problem. Do you taste them? I know it’s a weird question. Also, can you recommend any herbalisms 101 books? Thanks again for everything. Feel free to email me:

      • Hi Andrea!

        Once you dehydrate the herb, the stingers won’t get you. 🙂 Just be careful when you’re harvesting the leaves and putting them on the dehydrator!

        And if you’re harvesting your own, choose young nettles whenever possible, as the older they are the more oxalic acid they contain.

        The best herbalism 101 books to start with depend a little on your personality. I think Rosemary Gladstar’s books are a great place to start and pretty accessible for everybody. She also has wonderful recipes and stories! If you’re interested in integrating Western Herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, then you’ve got to read the work of my teachers, Michael and Lesley Tierra. Planetary Herbology is the classic text, but Lesley’s “Healing with the Herbs of Life” is my favorite for people who are ready to dive into more in-depth study. If you identify as a “wild woman” in any way, then you’ve got to read Susun Weed’s work. Susun is the person who taught me about nettle infusions through her writing and lectures, and it’s a plant that she has a special relationship with. So if you love this recipe, you may love Susun’s work!

        • Hi Melanie,
          I literally have fields of Stinging Nettles in my horse yard. I have so much that we have them cleared twice a year. The horses only eat them now and then. My mother had told me to saute them, but it just sounded odd. Now that I am researching hair tonics, this herb has caught my interest. How would you recommend that I harvest them as they come up? I do not own a dehydrator.
          My husband is going to be thrilled I found something useful to do with them!! I think I will use them in all the forms!

    • I am German and since the age of about 4 I am inhaling nettle – tea, soup (bread pieces with onions chopped and salt/pepper) , spinach. especially good fresh from the garden whoever is lucky to have one. the little blisters I am getting mom always said it’s healthy and will go away. it’s a thank you for taking me from the nettle.

  32. I’ve been doing nettle infusions for awhile after an herb talk I went to. I am curious if Melanie would say whether a cold infusion is just as effective or less effective than the boiled infusion. I’ve done both, but since I got my own nettle fresh then dehydrated them, I figured there might be a benefit to keeping them raw. And, I haven’t had any nettle infusion in awhile, so you are reminding me to get to it. It’s actually a much more pleasant taste to me than even green juice!

    • Hi bitt!

      I don’t recommend cold infusions for nettles. Cold infusions and hot infusions pull out different constituents, and you’ll get the broadest range of minerals drawn into the water if you use a hot infusion. Dehydrating them and making a hot infusion is the way to go because the process encourages maximal breaking of cell walls and really pulls the constituents out into solution.

      The fresh plant is great, too! It’s just better for food than for infusions. You *can* juice it with your green juice, cook it like spinach, or make it into other preparations. (Pesto is a popular choice.) If you blend it or process it well, the sting won’t be an issue. In Europe, there is a tradition of eating raw nettle leaves by rolling them up in a particular way. I’m not quite brave enough to try that, but I can assure you that nettle pesto is delicious!

      • Melanie,

        I never would have though of eating nettles, let alone in a pesto! Interesting. I’ve tried nettle tea, & I’m not crazy about the taste, but that’s okay.

        Where do you get your fresh nettles? What other benefits do nettles have other than to aid allergy sufferers? Love to know more, thank you!

        • Hi Janae,

          Even more than their anti-allergy benefits, nettles are prized as an extremely concentrated source of minerals. Its nourishing properties are matched by its gentle detoxifying ability, support for bones/teeth/hair/nails, highly absorb-able iron/calcium/magnesium content. It’s a wonderful part of any light Spring detox program, useful for people who are experiencing burnout/fatigue, and a great addition to vegan diets for its “blood building” (as we say in Traditional Chinese Medicine) properties. The seeds and roots are also used medicinally, with the seeds being more strongly detoxifying than the leaf.

          But the best way to get to know the plant is to use it! Find someone where you live to “introduce you” to the plant where it’s growing. Then you’ll start finding it everywhere. It tends to grow in slightly wet places along disturbed ground. (Think of fences on farms.) Like any herb, it’s more than the sum of its chemical constituents and nutritional profile. It has a real personality that reminds me of resilience, proper boundaries, and an ability to thrive even in less-than-ideal circumstances. But that’s just how this herb connects with me….you’ll form your own relationship with it and get to know its medicine in your own way. That’s the beauty of working with herbs. There’s a very left-brained, biochemical side to the work, and there’s also a deeply intuitive side to it that’s beyond our rational understanding and best expressed through metaphor.

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