Allergy season is picking up here in the NorthWest. Every one of us is sniffling. Prior to this year, I was the only sufferer. It is a bummer that the rest of the family is now affected.
I am serving each of us 2 cups per day of nettle-mint tea. I mix the dried nettle leaves with equal parts dried peppermint leaves, so it tastes refreshing.
When fresh, the leaves and stems are covered with sharp, tiny hairs that poke the skin and release rash-causing and stinging compounds, resulting in a burning rash that can last for up to 24 hours. B. ran into stinging nettles when she was about 4 years old. It was painful, but thankfully didn't last long.
I read once that Roman soldiers, in the cold, would rub their legs and hands with the fresh leaves. The resulting rash would burn and warm them.
Nettles grow all over the country. I have a friend who goes with her family to a place they know of to harvest enough to last them for a year. They dry them out and then run their hands over the stem to break off the leaves, which are then used for tea.
When dried, nettles lose their sting. Nettle leaf suppresses the immune response. I feel clear for several hours after drinking my strong brew. This website says nettles are also high in iron and therefore good for the treatment of anemia. That's a nice surprise.
Nettle-Mint Tea for Allergies
makes 12 cups
My brew is strong because that is how we like it. Adjust to match your tastes. I make this batch in my Bodum 12-cup French press. Use a teapot if you like; strain out the leaves with a tea strainer.
- 3/4 cup dried organic nettle leaves*
- 1/4 cup dried organic peppermint or spearmint leaves*
- boiling, pure water to cover
- raw agave syrup, raw honey or xylitol (optional, for sweetening)
Put herbs in bottom of French press. Pour boiling water over. Cover. Do not press down. Let steep 10 to 15 minutes. Press. Pour into cups and sweeten, if desired.
Store leftover tea in the refrigerator. Consume within 24 hours by reheating or drinking iced. Don't store it in the French press or it will become bitter.
Iced Tea Variation: Put double the amount of herbs in the French press (2 cups total). Pour boiling, pure water over all of it. Fill a separate pitcher with 2 trays' worth of ice cubes. After the tea has steeped for about 15 minutes, pour it into the pitcher. Put in the refrigerator to finish chilling or serve over ice immediately. Sweeten to taste.
*Or use 1/2 cup nettle leaves and 1/2 cup mint leaves, depending on your taste.
© Copyright 2007 by Wardee Harmon
image courtesy of lifeinitaly.com
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