If there is a plant that has a bad reputation, it is the nettle. Famous for generating all kinds of irritations at the slightest contact with its stinging hairs, it is actually extremely beneficial for health if used properly.
Nettle infusion is a common remedy, its therapeutic actions have been known since ancient times and have traveled around the world. Natural medicine uses it to purify the body, treat insect bites and even reduce oxidative stress and relieve allergy symptoms. But these are just some of the properties of nettle.
Of course, not just any nettle can be used to prepare an infusion. As luck would have it, the most common nettle, Urtica dioica (usually called greater nettle), is the one with all kinds of beneficial effects for the human body.
Belonging to the Urticaceae family, this plant can reach a meter and a half in height. It is recognized by its dark green oval leaves with stinging hairs, its small densely packed flowers and its quadrangular yellowish stem.
What are the health properties of nettle infusion?
The diuretic action of nettle is associated with its depurative action: by increasing the elimination of urine, it would help the kidneys to eliminate those toxins that could affect our health.
Although more study is needed, nettle is commonly used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition that makes it difficult to urinate. Specialists do not know exactly to which component to attribute this property, but they believe that it can help patients with this disease.
Nettle infusion with purifying effect is achieved by boiling the leaves of this plant in water for 15 minutes.
A study concluded that a nettle leaf extract has an anti-inflammatory substance capable of acting on the joints, as well as having an analgesic action. For this reason, nettle infusion is usually indicated to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
In fact, a study compared the effects of nettle in reducing pain in arthritis patients with a group consuming a placebo. After one week of treatment, the group that ingested the nettle infusion had managed to reduce the bothersome symptoms of pain and inflammation.
Before and during the period, many women suffer from severe abdominal pain, headaches and fluid retention, in short: the dreaded premenstrual syndrome. Ayurvedic medicine usually recommends in these cases the intake of one to two cups of nettle infusion every day while the discomfort lasts.
This is due to the anti-inflammatory effect of nettle, which would act by relieving the pain and inflammation caused by the menstrual period.
Due to its contribution of iron, nettle infusion has been used for many years to combat anemia.
Several studies have proven its effectiveness for this purpose but, of course, if you need to incorporate iron into your diet, we recommend that you consult a doctor who can help you organize yourself properly.
Regulates blood sugar
Did you know that drinking nettle infusion helps lower blood glucose levels?
Although it has not yet been possible to detect exactly which component is responsible for this action, it has been proven that a molecule present in it and called UD-1 is capable of improving glucose absorption.
A clinical trial divided the participants, all patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, into two groups. The first received nettle extract for the duration of the experiment, while the other received a placebo. The results? Those who ingested nettle achieved a marked improvement in glycemic control.
Some experts point out that nettles have proven antimicrobial effects that would fight specific strains of bacteria. On the other hand, the flavonoids and polyphenols present in the plant would have the property of helping to heal wounds.
In this way, nettle infusion could be used to treat oral infections, such as thrush.
The antioxidants present in nettle help prevent oxidative stress, that is, they act against free radicals, preventing premature aging and oxidation of cells that could cause the development of various chronic diseases, such as cancer or neurological diseases.
Contraindications of nettle infusion
Finally, it is important to point out that, despite its health properties, nettle is contraindicated in pregnant women, lactating women, people with low blood pressure or suffering from a chronic disease.
In case of pregnancy, it is particularly important to avoid this infusion, as it can cause uterine contractions.
On the other hand, nettle infusion can cause interactions with some medications related to the treatment of diabetes, tension and some diuretics.
As always, we advise you to consult with your doctor with any questions regarding your personal situation.
How to prepare nettle infusion
Now that you know its benefits, do not hesitate to prepare a nettle infusion at home.
To do this, you must infuse about 5 grams (approximately a tablespoon) of dried leaves for every 200 ml of water for at least 7 minutes. We recommend sweetening the infusion with honey as the nettle may taste too bitter for your liking.