Drinking Green

May 19th, 2010 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health

No, I’m not referring to the recently legalized Absinthe (yum!), and I’m not even making some eco-allusion to socially responsible beverages. Nope, I’m being quite literal here: I’m really talking about drinking. Drinking things that are green.


In the past I’ve written about green smoothies, and since then my adoration has only grown. I start off each and every day with the moss-colored mixture, and I truly encourage everyone out there to give it a go. But recently I’ve added an additional element to my daily green cuisine: nettle infusions.

Nettle tea has been brewed for centuries, imbibed for its healing and healthful properties. And like with any exciting [read: trendy] ‘superfood’, proponents of nettle will make all sorts of fantastical claims – from curing cancer to fighting colds and, of course, weight loss. I don’t know about all that jazz, but I do know the nutrient profile of this little plant – and it’s impressive!

Nettles are rich in vitamins A, B2, C, D, and K. They also posses important nutrients like bioflavanoids (antioxidants), amino acids (protein), choline, and chlorophyll, just to name a few. And most importantly, nettles carry a crazy mineral load – they’re rich in calcium, potassium, iodine, manganese, and especially iron! Both calcium and iron can be somewhat elusive for veg*ns, so I love knowing that I’m drinking a hearty dose each evening.

IMG_2505Nettle infusion after a 24-hour brew.

I prepare my nettles in a standard mason jar – about 2 tablespoons of the dried herb along with a splash of maple syrup, then covered with almost-boiling water. I then cap the jar loosely and let it cool on the countertop. After a few hours I screw down the lid and transfer to the fridge, where it lives until the next night.

You can take the tonic heated or iced. It has a mild pleasant ‘grassy’ flavor that’s best complimented with maple syrup, in my opinion. Drink at least 8 oz a day, or as much as you like. Nettle is of special benefit to pregnant, nursing, and menstruating women, so ladies drink up!


  • http://alternativehousewife.com Janine

    Where (I’m in Portland too, and pregnant, and interested) do you buy your nettle? Are there different kinds or is it pretty straightforward?

  • http://www.treslola.com Kate

    I’ve never tried that but it sounds really interesting.. and beneficial.

  • http://tabularasahealth.com Hope Hughes

    Sounds delightful! I will definitely have to try it!

  • http://easierthanyouthink.wordpress.com Ginger Baker

    I have never been able to get past my “nettles = STING!!” reactions to try consuming them in any form LOL. Maybe I will finally give it a try.

  • http://www.renegadeyogi.com/ Eric Normand

    Where do you get nettle? Is it something you can grow yourself? It sounds like a good addition to a home garden to keep you healthy!

    Thanks so much. You are really an inspiration. Your posts are so practical, yet your philosophy is crystal clear.

  • http://bird-feet.blogspot.com Katie

    My dad used to make a really delicious nettle soup, too – I’ll see if I can get an approximate recipe from him and pass it on, because it was so tasty and healthy and perfect for lunch on a sunny day…

  • http://twitter.com/erosan EroSan

    O.o you can drink that!? I’ve always avoided that plant…

    My fav gree drink (and I don’t mean green as eco-frindly, although I suppose it is) is a licuado* (licuado means blended and is referred to fruit blended with water to make a fresh drink) made from nopal**-pineapple-celery-orange “water”…

    Take a nopal pad and clean it (that is remove the spines), then skin and roughly dice a pineapple, and squeeze a cup or two of orange juice.

    Just trow in your blender everything, the nopal, the pineapple, a celery stick and the orange juice (an a bit of water)… this drink is best without any added sugar, since the fruit will provided, but add a bit more if you like, just be aware that this is not meant to be overly sweet!

    As with any “licuado” made with fruit, add a small pinch of salt (it will boos the flavor of the fruit and it’s sweetness), blend and enjoy cold. yummy!

    sorry for all the weird terms and ingredients, but for all you not initiated in the mexican culinary ways:

    *Licuado http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/licuado
    **Nopal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopal

    It is said that this licuado is really good for digestion and for weight loss, I don’t know about that but it is great tasting, and that’s enough for me, and it packs a hell of a lot of nutrients too (including iron) so it’s good for you.

    Sayward: next time do red-drinks, so I can tell you about my all-time favorite, “the vampire” a licuado made with beet, celery and carrot juice ;)

  • http://twitter.com/erosan EroSan

    sigh… I just read the wikipedia article about licuados and it states that all licuados are made with milk, and while some of them are, that is not true… don’t believe everything you read, (or don’t trust on wikipedia for explaining your own culture) I guess…

  • http://thegreengeek05.wordpress.com Courtney

    That looks intersting. Right now my green drink of choice is Naked’s Green Machine. I have some every day with my lunch. It is so awesome. I’ll have to keep an eye out for nettles to try that sometime. Probably around the time I start my own kombucha. :)

  • http://bluknotsoriginals.blogspot.com @tishushu


    I JUST discovered your wonderful page today! What a lucky find! :)

    About nettles, I heard they are good for allergies… And as a fellow vegan, I love anything green… Can’t get enough! Thanks for sharing!


  • Christa

    Funny how things start popping up all at once.

    I recently came across:


    Where Heather is crazy for nettles. Then I was at a restaurant the other day and had a puffed pastry filled with fiddle-heads and nettles with a white wine butter sauce (amazing). And now you! Maybe I will give them a try!

  • http://www.creativeanomalie.com sarah

    It’s a little past peak season here, but I pick these by the bushel-full at my parents (they have a farm out in the boonies that’s surrounded by wooded area). I threw them in the crockpot with some other stuff last (my idea of “steaming” ha) but I’ve never tried tea. I will have to give that a shot. Although I’m busy growing my SCOBY right now(!!) It will be two weeks this Sunday but I peeked yesterday and it doesn’t look like much has happened – it got cold here right after I started it. Think I should just go another week? Anyways great post as usual – on the to-do list!!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Janine – Hey fellow Portlander! I get my nettles at Limbos on SE 39th just past Holgate (next to the Trader Joe’s). Limbo is amazing and they have literally hundreds of bulk teas/herbs/spices etc, not to mention great produce! Check them out!

    @ Eric Normand – Nettle would be a great thing to grow! It’s the same as stinging nettle which grows wild all over the US if you’re familiar with that. Big purple flowers!

    I buy mine from a local herb shop but I’ve heard great things about this online source.

    @ Katie – I’d love that recipe! I buy the dried form but now I’m dying to work with real fresh nettle.

    @ Ero San – Ooh, I love nopales! That sounds great, I wish I could get my hands on some nopales around here. All I can get is canned and obviously, it’s just not the same.

    @ Christa – It’s meant to be! =D

    @ sarah – I’m brewing my first batch of kombucha with my new SCOBY, and it will be done this Sunday too . . . eeek, wish me luck! (Luck to you too!)

  • dwk

    Hi Sayward! Love your site so much!
    I’d like to try this recipe, but when I go to order them, I’m given choices for Nettle leaf, leaf powder, root or root powder. Which would you suggest?

  • SJ

    Thank you for the link Sayward! I was looking at WF’s earlier and they only had the dried stuff, and it looked like it might have been sitting there since before I was born, so I just bought some Alvita brand tea bags full of nettles… I guess it’s better than nothing!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ dwk – You’ll want to get nettle leaf. =) Luck!

    @ SJ – I’ve used the bagged stuff too. Not ideal, but still great!

  • http://thismomentinfrance.blogspot.com/ Diana

    Ah yes, the wondrous stinging nettle. I used it a bit back in the US for allergies, but I became a real fan once I moved to France. It’s commonly used in a variety of dishes here, you can even buy it at the farmer’s market though most people just pick it from their garden or wherever it grows wild. I remember one of my French aunts made me a delicious green soup that she wanted me to guess the ingredients of. Of course I couldn’t, because at the time I had no idea that you could even eat nettles, nor did I know the name in French. They are a bit of pain to deal with fresh, given the whole stinging thing (it’s all about the gloves!), but I’ve rediscovered the dried plant as a good solution for anemia during pregnancy.

    I like you recipe for 24-hour nettle, just had a big glass of it myself (though I used agave syrup to sweeten since maple syrup is super expensive here!). Yum!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Diana – I’m so eager to get my hands on some fresh ones so I can try cooking with them!

  • http://fiberfidelity.etsy.com Theresa

    I’m curious how you came up with 2 tbps/qt. I poked around a bit online and most recommendations are for 1cup/1oz of leaves. I’m sure the difference is just a stronger tea/infusion. Either way I started my brew this evening so I’ll be trying it out tomorrow!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Theresa – Yup, I just guestimated and it’s just a matter of strength. I’ve actually been brewing it much stronger these days – maybe I’ll ammens the article. Thanks!

  • http://www.roy-joy.blogspot.com Jessica

    HI Sayward! I’ve been a loyal BA fan for awhile now, and returned today to search for your opinion on nettle tea. (it’s true, you’ve become my go-to adviser on all things earth-mama related!) I’ve started drinking it and love it. Quick question: tea bag vs. loose leaf – your preference? Cheers!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Jessica – I definitely prefer loose leaf, because I like to use a lot and brew it overnight. I feel like tea bags usually use lower quality hers and are designed for a normal steeping time. But, that’s just my opinion and of course either way is great!

  • Carla.Estis@bhsala.com

    My comment is who named you? :) my daughters name ” Rori Sayward Estis”:))) she is a chef:)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    That’s awesome! Is it from the book “The Trees” in The Awakening Land trilogy? (or the mini-series that was based on the books?) I’ve only ever met a few other Sayward’s in my life!

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