Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stinging nettle tea

I had an acupuncture treatment yesterday evening. The treatment dates were fixed at the beginning of the year, so it's coincidental that they occur when I'm not feeling well (as it happens, I had to cancel one as I was physically ill at the time of the appointment). Maybe this is a sign that I'm unwell frequently.... Anyway, the acupuncturist asked how I was and I told him about the anaemia. After discussing it, he suggested that I drink stinging nettle tea. My initial reaction was surprise, but he said that it was good for a variety of complaints. After the treatment, I drove to the health food shop in Bet Shemesh and bought a packet of 25 nettle teabags for only 13 NIS. The shop assistant didn't bat an eyelid when I asked for this tea.

Today I looked up stinging nettles on the internet, and this is what I found: Stinging nettle is an astringent, diuretic, tonic, anodyne, pectoral, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic, nutritive, alterative, hemetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, anti-lithic/lithotriptic, haemostatic, stimulant, decongestant, herpatic, febrifuge, kidney depurative/nephritic, galactagogue, hypoglycemic, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine. Nettle’s iron content makes it a wonderful blood builder, and the presence of vitamin C aids in the iron absorption. As a hemetic (an herb rich in iron), this is an excellent herb for anemia and fatigue, especially in women. It “promotes the process of protein transanimation in the liver, effectively utilizing digested proteins, while simultaneously preventing them from being discharged through the body as waste products.” 
If this herb is so wonderful, why have I never read about its benefits before? And how many of you have heard those adjectives before? Galactagogue sounds like a cross between a galaxy and a synagogue but probably has something to do with the sugar galactose; it's actually a substance that promotes lactation. That's fine for women who have just given birth but not really useful for me. Febrifuge is a fancy word for an anti-pyretic, a term which is also not in common usage; basically it means a substance that reduces fever.

Anyway, I have just finished my first cup of stinging nettle tea. It has an aroma and taste reminiscent of peppermint, which certainly makes a change from my regular teas. It's not bad tasting, the price is right, and if it performs only half the functions listed above, then I'm onto a good thing.

Green tea is as bad as black tea regarding iron absorption, and unfortunately I have quite large stocks of this. I shall have to adjust my tea regime to maximise the drinking of the stinging nettle tea whilst still managing to drink a few cups of green tea, which has its own benefits.

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