Nettle Tea: Remedy for the Gluten-Free?

They say one man’s pain is another man’s pleasure. So suppose you had two men, and one walked into a patch of stinging nettles, and the other simply got to watch this unfold from a safe distance while sipping on a cup of freshly brewed nettle tea. Which would you rather be? Hard to decide, I know, but if you’re suffering from any sort of ailment at all (other than masochism), you’d probably rather be the guy drinking the nettle tea. This is especially true if you happen to suffer from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Nettles, a type of flowering plant native to North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe, have been used as a form of alternative, folk, and natural medicine for thousands of years. Cultures all across the world have long recognized the benefits of this super-herb, and each culture has its specific ailments for which nettles are prescribed. Perhaps the best health-boosting property of nettles is their effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory. As medical science advances further and further, we now know that inflammation in the body seems to be involved in almost every aspect of health and disease. And inflammation is central and directly implicated in the signs and symptoms of Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. If those suffering from these conditions can reduce inflammation (both outwardly on the skin and internally in the gut), their symptoms will lessen significantly and their quality of life will improve. It seems that nettles may do exactly that. Much anecdotal evidence and some scientific evidence for nettle tea’s ability to treat Celiac symptoms exists. Conditions for which nettles may be beneficial (notice how many are common to Celiac disease and gluten intolerance): diarrhea, constipation, nausea, headaches, acid reflux, excessive gas, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. In fact, nettles have been used not only to treat autoimmune disorders like Celiac disease, but also lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. And because of its anti-inflammatory properties, nettles may also be an excellent treatment for conditions like allergies, arthritis, acne, urinary tract inflammation, and skin diseases.

If you’re still reading and haven’t already jumped in the car to get some nettle tea from the local health food store, then know that nettles also have other purported health benefits. For one, nettles are a natural diuretic and may help lower blood pressure, cure edema, reduce/prevent kidney stones, and reduce coughing and lung and airway congestion through the reduction of mucus. Nettles may also help control blood sugar, a major problem for adults and children alike in today’s society with the skyrocketing rates of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. In addition, nettles may help with hair loss. Nettles also have many supposed health benefits for women due to their ability to regulate the hormonal cycle. This manifests in the reduction of symptoms associated with P.M.S. and relief from menopausal symptoms. It also has many benefits for the pregnant or nursing mother, as it supposedly strengthens the fetus, reduces bleeding, and promotes the production of breast milk. Nettles are also very high in iron, which helps to combat anemia and feelings of fatigue.

Nutritionally, and perhaps this is obvious by now, nettles really shine. They contain not only healthy fatty acids and protein, they are also rich in almost every micronutrient under the sun (potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K just to name a few). Nettles are also rich in phytochemicals, the kind of beneficial antioxidant compounds also found in green tea, dark chocolate, blueberries, and black rice.

In conclusion, nettle tea seems like it might be ripe to be the next trendy superfood. If it even does half of what it can supposedly do to improve one’s health, it would still be a great part of one’s diet. Just as superfoods like acai berries, green tea, quinoa, and fish oil have gained popularity for their slew of positive health benefits, nettles should probably be on that list too. And especially for those suffering from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance who are having trouble controlling their symptoms, nettle tea would definitely be worth a shot. Of all the health benefits mentioned in this article, know that there are reportedly and potentially many others. One could literally write a book on the many supposed health benefits of the nettle. Beyond anything specific, nettles seem to simply be extremely beneficial for the entire system of the human body, helping it work properly, eliminate waste and harmful compounds, promote healthy cells, and enhance the immune system. Looking at the umbrella of overall positive health benefits, it is easy to see why nettles are supposed to have such wide-reaching positive health benefits and treat or cure so many symptoms and conditions. I certainly don’t mean to nettle in your business, but if you do suffer from any of the conditions or symptoms mentioned in this article, I highly recommend at least giving nettle tea a shot. A few dollars and a few minutes is a small price to pay for what could be a panacea for almost any health ailment you may have.

Article Courtesy:  Andrew Steingrube

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