As far as common backyard weeds go, stinging nettle is a powerhouse that has a lot to offer any woman struggling with menstrual cycle irregularities (like menorrhagia aka heavy periods and cramping).
Furthermore, nettle is incredibly mineral-rich, making it a good option for re-nourishing a depleted body.
This is particularly important if your cycle is showing signs of imbalance, because this is often an indicator that your body needs more nutritional support.
So, if this sounds like something you could use in your life, then keep reading to learn how to incorporate stinging nettle leaf into your menstrual cycle care plan.
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IS NETTLE TEA GOOD FOR HEAVY PERIODS AND MENSTRUAL CRAMPS?
Nettle has several properties that make it a popular home remedy for heavy periods and menstrual cramps. For example, nettle leaf is:
- Astringent: astringent herbs constrict or tighten issues and in herbalism, they’re used to control blood loss.
- Mineral-rich: having a heavy period means losing more blood and subsequently, more nutrients. This can lead to a depletion of your iron stores, eventually contributing to fatigue and iron deficiency anemia. Since nettle is rich in iron and other minerals, it can help to re-nourish your body and help you feel more balanced.
- Diuretic: nettle leaf is a diuretic and as such, may help to ease PMS bloating.
- Anti-inflammatory and supports detoxification: if you usually experience painful periods, then you may find relief from consuming stinging nettle. This herb is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and some animal studies suggest that it can increase the levels of glutathione, a compound that is essential for the removal of toxins (1, 2).
HOW TO MAKE NETTLE LEAF TEA FOR YOUR PERIOD
To get the most out of nettle leaf, it’s usually a good idea to brew the tea as an overnight infusion.
Overnight infusions differ from regular tea because they:
- Use a lot more herb.
- Require a longer steeping time (several hours or overnight). The longer steep times allows more for more nutrients to be extracted.
Below is how I like to make a nettle leaf overnight infusion.
Nettle Leaf Tea Recipe for Your Period
- 3/4 – 1 cup finely cut, dried nettle leaf (like this one)
- Quart-sized mason jar or a french press
- Boil distilled water.
- Place the herbs into jar or french press.
- Fill the container with water.
- Close and let steep overnight. NOTE: if you’re making this during the day, you can let it steep for about 6 hours.
- Strain out the herbs and sweeten with honey if you wish.
NOTE: you can drink this tea throughout the day and make a new batch every night (or every other night, depending on your preference).
Raspberry and Nettle Tea To Curb Heavy Period Bleeding
Another herb that is sometimes used with nettle is red raspberry leaf (here’s one to use).
Red raspberry leaf has traditionally been used to support female reproductive health and similar to nettle, it is also an astringent.
In addition, red raspberry leaf is rich in minerals, lending itself well to overnight infusion.
So, you can include this herb in the overnight infusion recipe.
Simply adjust the recipe by using any ratio of nettle to red raspberry. For example, you could do:
- 50-50 of each herb or,
- 30% raspberry leaf and 70% nettle leaf.
Feel free to experiment because when it comes to herbs, there’s no one-size-fits-all!
OTHER WAYS TO USE NETTLE FOR YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE
If tea isn’t your thing, then you can also get the benefits of nettle from a tincture (like this one from Herb Pharm).
And don’t forget that nettle is probably growing in your backyard at this very moment!
Some people use it in soups, pasta dishes and more.
Whichever way you use nettle, just make sure to cook it because raw nettles really, really sting any part of the body that they come into contact with.
I’ve experienced the sting of nettles on my hands from poorly dried nettles and I can assure you, it is not pleasant!
FAQs ABOUT NETTLE FOR MENSTRUATION
Does nettle leaf tea balance hormones?
Nettle doesn’t contain plant hormones, nor does it interact directly with any hormone-producing glands. However, it is often used in situations where hormonal imbalance symptoms are present (especially when those symptoms show up in the form of menstrual pain or heavy blood loss).
To learn more about this topic, be sure to read this article on nettle for hormones.
Can nettle tea delay periods?
Nettle is typically used to alleviate heavy blood loss during menstruation. It’s not usually associated with delaying a period. That said, each person is unique and there’s no way to predict with absolute certainty how nettle (or any other herb) may affect you.
Does nettle root affect the menstrual cycle?
In general, the nettle leaf is what is used for menstrual cycle support, while the root is best most often used as a natural remedy for prostate issues like benign prostatic hyperplasia (source).
Whether you’re looking to ease period pain, PMS bloating or excessive blood loss during menstruation, stinging nettle leaf may be just what you need.
Do keep in mind that as with all herbal remedies, you should always check with your doctor before combining nettle leaf with any prescription drugs.
There are some serious side effects that can occur if paired with the wrong medication (like blood pressure meds, blood thinners and others).
So please get your doctor’s approval before mixing this herb any other drugs (be it prescription or over-the-counter).
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