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Nettle Tea

Wikipedia: Nettle 
Last Updated: Feb. 28, 2012 

About Nettle Tea

Stinging nettle plants, showing pointy, sharply--serrated leaves, oppositely arranged, covered in stiff hairsUrtica dioica, the most common nettle species used in herbal tea. Public domain photo by Dinkum, Wikimedia Commons
Nettle tea is a tea made from a group of plants called stinging nettles. The most commonly used species is Urtica dioica, often called the "Common Nettle". This species is native to temperate regions of Europe, Asia, North America, and northern Africa.

Nettle tea is remarkable in that it is produced from a plant that is covered with hairs that produce a painful sting when touched. The stinging hairs, however, are completely destroyed upon heating. The nettle, protected by its stinging hairs from being eaten by herbivores, is nutrient rich and edible as a cooked vegetable in addition to being used as an herbal tea.

Health benefits

Nettle has a long history of traditional use for hypertension, rheumatism, and as a diuretic. More recently, it was also studied for other properties, and was found to have antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, ulcer-preventing properties, and also an analgesic (pain-killing) effect.[1] However, these studies were on rats, and it is not yet clear the degree to which these benefits transfer to humans drinking nettle tea.

References:

1. Ilhami Gülçin et. al., Antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiulcer, and analgesic activities of nettle (Urtica dioica L.), Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol. 90, pp. 205-215, 2004.

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