To some it’s a weed that causes pain; to others, it’s a medicine that cures it. Personally, I believe we should be cramming nettles into our diets whenever and however we can. Not only are they completely free, they’re also really abundant, amazingly delicious and super for our health.

Research suggests nettle tea can help fight infections and reduce pain and swelling, lower blood pressure and stabilize sugar levels, and that it is packed with powerful antioxidants.

In the spring I like to make it with fresh nettle tops. They have such a good flavour, but I also pick enough to dry, so I can enjoy this tea right through the year.

Looking for more nettle recipes?

Stinging nettles are more than just needled irritants, the Cornish make a delicious cheese using them, the Nepalese make curries and some people even use them for clothing.

Nettle guide: how to forage, benefits and recipe ideas

Picked nettle leaves in a colander. /Credit: Michelle Garrett/Getty


  • A large handful of fresh nettle tops or ½ handful of dried nettles
  • ½ lemon
  • runny honey (optional), to sweeten


  • STEP 1

    Place a metal teapot or saucepan over the fire (or on the hob) and add 1 litre (35fl oz) of water.

  • STEP 2

    When the water comes up to a simmer, add the nettles. Slice the lemon half and add this, too.

  • STEP 3

    Remove the pot from the fire and allow the tea to brew for 5–10 minutes before drinking. You can sweeten the tea with a touch of honey, if you like.

This recipe was extracted from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller. Photography by Andrew Montgomery

Outside recipe book by Gill Meller


Gill MellerChef and food writer

Gill is a chef, food writer, author, food stylist, and cookery teacher who lives and works near Lyme Regis in Dorset.