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A cup of nettle tea ~ by Hallvord

A cup of nettle tea

The first shoots of young nettles, Urtica dioica, are very good for cooking both soups (see recipe in wild food post) and tea. According to several sources it is also good nutritionally: a source of iron, calcium and folic acid.

Here’s a brief guide to making nettle tea:

  1. Start by picking the nettles, carefully. Use only the small, young ones – they grow more bitter with age. It is possible to pick them with a firm hand but if you are worried about being stung, using scissors and gloves helps.
  2. Wash the nettles one by one, to get rid of soil and insects.
  3. Put the nettles in a pot and add enough water to just about cover them. With some experience, you can adjust the amount of water depending on how strong you would like your tea.
  4. Boil until the water becomes slightly green – test by lowering a spoon into the pot.
  5. Remove nettles. The tea might go more bitter if they are left in. (On the other hand, the stronger taste might be exactly, well, your cup of tea..)
  6. Serve with sugar and sliced lemons. The lemons are very important, as you can see below.

Nettles - ready for the chef
The boiled nettles can be used much like spinach, or eaten as-is with some salt.

Nettle tea has a characteristic feature: it changes colour if you add lemon. Its colour depends on the pH and acidity of the water. Children love to add a slice of lemon and watch the tea magically change from a dark green to a bright pink colour. Play the video below to see it happen!

NB. Some people can experience a sensitivity to nettle tea

Posted in: Flora & Fauna, Practical Guides ~ On: 19 April, 2007

50 comments so far

Tracy Pepler
20 April, 2007

Thats brilliant! I am going to try it!
Do you have any more: ‘How to make’ guides….???

20 April, 2007

Hi Tracy, I think if you click on “Practical Guides”, you can see all of the How to make things so far…

21 April, 2007

For another recipe using nettles, see ‘nettle gnocchi’ at


24 April, 2007

If you are interested in nettles, then May will see “National Be Nice to Nettles Week”. Details at http://www.nettles.org.uk/ .

gary parsons
15 May, 2007

hi there I have recently tried borage and lemon balm tea. I like both these and will now try nettle tea. Can you advise, would it be possible to blend nettle and either borage or lemon balm tea and still keep the health benefits of each herb?
thanks for your time

19 May, 2007

Hi Gary,
borage tea sounds good, I like the plant ( it’s pretty too http://www.hallvord.com/img/borago.jpg ) but I’ve never tried using it for tea. How do you do that, do you dry the leaves or boil it fresh?

I think blending is going to be a matter of taste, I doubt that it would be detrimental in any way or reduce the health benefits of each of them to blend them but I don’t know what it’s going to taste like.

29 May, 2007

I’m a ‘hobby forager’ and am continually discovering new, wild and free foods around and about!

Here’s a method for cooking young nettles that could be used as a base for soups or even an interesting side vegetable –

Rinse the nettles under running water and strip the leaves from the stems, place the leaves in a pan. Do not add any further water, just what clings to the leaves is sufficient!

Cook the leaves for a few minutes until they have wilted, adding a few drops of water if needed. Mash with your spoon. Add a good sized knob of butter and continue cooking and mashing for another couple of minutes. The resulting puree has an interesting and unique flavour that goes well with prawns or eggs.

Add finely chopped onion, herbs to taste etc if you like.

Bon appetit!


gary parsons
2 June, 2007

Hi Halvord
see http://www.gardenguides.com/plants/info/herbs/borage.asp for information. I use both flower and leaf after chopping roughly I fill a cup quarter full and pour on boiling water. I let the liquid steep for a full minute, strain and add honey to taste. It tastes very much like cucumber and is very refreshing with some useful health benefits

noreen wainwright
13 June, 2007

Your website and blogs are refreshing and intereting – we first checked them out because of a small piece of woodland which has come up for sale near us. I would like to invite any readers to visit our blog at http://www.thehomelyyear.blog.co.uk

13 June, 2007

Thanks for the kind comment Noreen, and thanks for the link to your blog – I particularly liked the photo of the song thrush’s nest.

13 July, 2007

I believe that nettles boiled with bacon taste much the same as cabbage boiled with bacon (favourite Irish dish).

15 September, 2007

Did you see the articles in Friday 14/9 papers about “caveman diet”? It seems nettles have been eaten for thousands of years. Not surprising I suppose since they are a good source of iron.

1 January, 2008

Very good recipie Thanks alot have been wanting to make nettle tea for a while but was clueless! Delicious and so simple to make
Happy new year!

Half-term with Woodlands.co.uk | The Woodlands.co.uk Blog
15 February, 2008

[…] –         brew some nettle tea […]

30 March, 2008

My wife (beautiful as she is) has just tried the add-lemon-to-the-nettle-tea thing and the colour did not change. Flavour is good but the pink is alas elusive. Mine’s an ale.

11 April, 2008

I knew that nettles is used as a herbal remedy and nutritious addition to the diet, it has long been valued as a medicinal and nutritional treasure, but now it can be used as a tea, that’s great,can you please tell me how to make tea from nettles.For more information regarding tea you all are welcome to my site http://mytealogic.com/


what are nettles good for: #2 « colour it green diary
28 April, 2008

[…] got this idea from this site when I was looking for recipes for nettle tea. Actually you don’t need a recipe for nettle […]

2 May, 2008

Exellent! – Nettles are a wonderful source of iron and for you ladies out there trying to concieve or currently pregnant, nettles are great for strengthening your uterus as well!

11 June, 2008

I have so many nettles in my garden as i like to keep it sort of wild for the insects and birds etc, i knew that nettle tea was an antioxidant and so tonight i am going to attempt making nettle tea! Can’t wait!

Geoff Mann
20 June, 2008

Up here in the Lake District we drink nettle tea all the time, many people say it prevents Hay Fever.


22 October, 2008

I am 8 months pregnant and I am craving nettle tea!!! I drink it all the time as it tastes sooo good. I have been mixing dried nettles from my allotment with dried raspberry leaves ( also a uterine tonic) and making tea which is also lovely

7 January, 2009

I ate my first batch of nettle soup on the weekend and have some plants left over, so I’m totally going to give nettle tea a go. Thanks for the recipe!

I’m a bit worried about the mentions here of women using nettle tea while pregnant – I just read Natural Herbalism that said nettle can cause uterine contractions so pregnant women should stay away… anyone got any more knowledge?


Green Wisdom » Blog Archive » Natural methods to reduce prostrate risk
15 January, 2009

[…] the garden, it is a surprisingly tasty and slightly hot tea.  Care of course needs to be taken if harvesting your own (for obvious reasons), best done in the spring with the new growth, and this could be dried and put […]

Stinging Nettles | The Woodlands.co.uk Blog
16 January, 2009

[…] stinging nettle has had many possible uses ascribed to it, from nettle tea (see the woodland blog) to cloth making; indeed there is some renewed interest in the nettle for […]

Hallvord R. M. Steen
9 February, 2009

Developed another nice nettle recipe this week – see

Urtica dioica: Stinging Nettle « The Curious Domestic
16 April, 2009

[…] A Cup of Nettle Tea at Woodlands blog […]

13 July, 2009

good thing you can make tea out of these cause they cover all of the 500 acres i own

High Treason
14 July, 2009

Cool, I will try this.
I recently began eating the nettles raw – which was pretty amusing – but i think this tea might be a better idea if i want to enjoy the taste of them regularly – Seriously, i like the taste of them, i don’t know why, maybe because i can’t eat that many things, but nettles seem to be fine and it is one of the few “vegetable” type foods i eat, and now drink as well.

Thank you.

20 September, 2009

l drink nettle tea 20 years bay bay from MACEDONIA

kathleen murdoch
29 October, 2009

I have a lovely crop which I have been keeping for the red admiral moth.Having heard a radio program on foraging and the good things about nettles we are converted to the idea. Now we shall see if hair grows and arthritis goes.

Isaac Harrison
30 June, 2010

the good thing about herbal remedies is that they do not have side effects.'”-

11 July, 2010

Some people can be or are allergic to nettles. I just spent a night in hospital with a severe allergic reaction after just two very small mouthfuls of fresh made nettle tea! Not an experience I want to have again.

Herbal Slimming Tea
13 July, 2010

[…] A cup of nettle tea | The Woodlands.co.&#117&#107&#32Blog […]

Support Our Forces
20 July, 2010

Training Walk 5 – Slogging!…

I found your entry very interesting and I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

Jessica Bailey
8 September, 2010

my grandma always wants herbal remedies because they have very few side effects

23 October, 2010

Herbal remedies are the best! I had some sprains and some indigestion; herbal remedies cured it*~-

16 December, 2010

i used to do herbal remedies when having some muscle pains and they are really quite effective

17 December, 2010

Herbs should be steeped in water that has been boiled.
Herbs should not be boiled .
First boil the water and then shut off the heat.
Then add the herbs and let them steep (soak in the hot water).

Kamlesh Shah
17 January, 2011

We are looking for Nettle tea (Leaf packing) at Mumbai or Pune (India). Can any body provide such contact?

First spring forages and food… « veggie potluck
17 May, 2011

[…] this year was stinging nettles – they can be used for the classic soup or to make pesto or tea. Apparently they’re full of iron so really good for you. Pick the tops off the nettles as […]

30 June, 2011

i’ve started consuming nettle tea for it’s antiinflammatory properties for a specific complaint.

i wonder if anyone knows, but if nettle tea was to stop being consumed for inflammation, would you expect the state of inflammation to return to the way it was or would it cause a lasting beneficial impact on health?


6 February, 2012

Nettle tea is really good to treat cellulite. Drink it daily and you will see less cellulite!

30 June, 2012

I’ve tried nettle tea and lived it but I’m confused as to why it ‘bites’ us when we touch it yet we can ingest it. How comes ?

5 September, 2012

Nettle is also good for asthma!

Stinging Nettle Soup with Quick-Soused Cucumber |
30 April, 2013

[…] End note You can wow your little ones with an experiment: steep some nettle leaves in hot water, then squeeze in a bit of lemon juice, and watch the liquid turn from green to pink. It’s all about the pH, man.  Here’s a little clip to illustrate how. […]

dowty seals
19 June, 2013

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your
weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

A Gillamoor Gardener - September 2013 |
11 September, 2013

[…] I would like to believe there is something in it. Nettle leaves are usually taken in the form of tea infusions, soups, or steamed to be eaten a little like spinach, there are some tasty recipes online, but […]

21 April, 2014

We have just completed a walk in wiltsbridge.we came upon fields of nettle .after observing some people collecting nettle we decided to collect some.on returning home we have made nettle tea and hurrah the tea turned pink when we added lemon .there were mixed opinions about the tea with and without honey.we all liked the steamed leaves with butter and a wee bit of salt .will definetely try it again.

Nettles | Hopscotch Newsletter
24 April, 2014

[…] nettle season! We’re fans of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingtsall’s nettle soup, and nettle tea (kids love adding lemon to turn it from pale green to shocking pink). It’s fun to forage […]

Nettle Tea | Burhani Natural Science
29 August, 2014

[…] A cup of nettle tea […]

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