While many of us only think about our health nowadays when something goes wrong, traditional herbalism teaches us to actively tend to our body consistently throughout our life. We only appreciate health when we are ill. We should change that attitude for our own well-being.
Whether you need an earthy tonic tea, a hearty pesto, or a fresh green juice, nettle is there for you. Nettle (Urtica dioica) has been used for ages as a powerful spring tonic, to promote joint health and overall wellness.
If you feel yourself a budding herbalist, try to make a health-supporting tincture with nettle. Tinctures are alcoholic extracts of plants. They have a long history of use, and can easily be taken on the go.
This method is a simple way to make tinctures. We prefer using brandy or vodka when first starting out because their ratios of alcohol to water are appropriate for many herbs, so nettle too. If you want something extraordinary alcohol with a fruity smell, you can use Hungarian pálinka as well. You can make tinctures of nettle root and nettle leaves too. But be aware that they have different pharmacological effects!
If you don’t want to bother with stinging hairs of fresh nettle leaves, you can also use dried nettle in your tincture.
When using dried nettles, fill your jar ½ way and then cover all the way to the top with alcohol as a solvent. Then, put the cap on it, set it upright and label your jar:
- What kind of alcohol you used, and the percent of alcohol by volume.
- Whether you used fresh or dried herbs.
- The name of the plant and plant part used.
- The date you made the tincture.
Let the mixture macerate and shake the jar every day. Make sure the herbs stay covered with alcohol. Store it in a cool dark place.
After 4-6 weeks have passed, you can then press out your tincture. To start the pressing process, open your jar, put a muslin or cheesecloth over the top and then flip over the jar above a large bowl to drain out the liquid while separating the herb. Once all the liquid has gone into the bowl, you can then use both your hands to squeeze out any remaining liquid from the herb.
Next, pour that liquid (which is now your tincture) into a liquid measuring cup. Place your funnel in the mouth of your dosage bottle and carefully pour your liquid into it.
We suggest taking about ½-1 teaspoon (or 30-35 drops) of nettle tincture 3 times a day when you’re feeling like you need some joint support or a herbal tonic. Because of the alcohol content, doesn’t apply to children nor during pregnancy.