Friday, October 12, 2012

A Nutrient Rich Herbal Tea that Packs a Whammy

There's a common weed that might be in your backyard right now, and it's also a nutrient rich herb. This herb contains surprisingly high amounts of Vitamins A and C, and minerals such as potassium, manganese, and calcium, making for a power packed cup of tea that would have Granny running for another mugful, then maybe out the door and around the block for a little jog. And if you add this tea to your day, you'll be running alongside her.

So, what is this healthful tea? Glad you asked.

It's stinging nettle, and this garden charmer is usually considered a major (and painfully) pesky weed by most gardeners in the U.S. But nettles is more likely to find a home in the kitchens of Europe and Asia than the weed pile. While you can cook up a pot of fresh nettles and serve it with dinner, it's also fabulous dried and used as a tea. (You can actually eat it raw and I have seen it done without the person getting stung in the mouth, but it involved rolling the leaves inside out paired with tricky chewing, something I'm not quite nervy enough to try.)

Cooked nettles are somewhat like cooked spinach or other pot greens, and they're best gathered in the springtime. Drying the herb for tea provides you the spring goodness all year, and off season it's easily found in healthfood stores where it's very affordable in bulk.

You can prepare the tea by the quart, steeping five or six teaspoons of the dried herb in cold water. This cold infusion method keeps more of the constituents in tact, but you can also do a regular infusion method, steeping a teaspoon of the herb in a mug of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Either way, feel free to drink this healthy brew daily. Stinging nettles is definitely a nutrient rich herbal tea you don't want to miss out on.

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