Herbal Jello

How To Make Healthy Herbal Jello

I remember reading about herbal jello years ago through James Green’s informative and downright hilarious book, The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook. In the book he describes his process of using tinctures (alcohol extracts) and Jello™ packets to make an herbal jello. It sounded interesting but admittedly wasn’t something high on my list to try.

Then, a short while ago I had to do a clear diet for 36 hours. One of the suggested things I could eat was Jello™. At the store I took one look at the ingredients and set the box back down on the shelf. Yikes!

And thus began my own herbal jello experiments.

Herbal jellos are easy to make and delicious. It can be a great way to entice a child to enjoy more herbs! Or a simple and healthy dessert. They can be made with any herbal tea and gelatin.

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients in this herbal jello recipe…

Herbal Jello

Gelatin

Gelatin is an amino-rich substance derived from collagen. It is most often obtained from the bones and hides of animals. In addition to Jello™, gelatin is used as a thickener in sauces, marshmallows, and other various candies like candy corn and gummy bears.

As traditional foods have become more popular there’s been a surge of interest in gelatin and bone broths (bone broths are a way to make gelatin at home). Human clinical trials are sparse; however, gelatin is touted with many health benefits due to the abundance of the amino acids within it.

For example:

  • One human clinical study showed that gelatin can benefit people with osteoarthritis.1
  • Gelatin can soothe and coat mucous membranes, which may benefit those with digestive inflammation and intestinal permeability (leaky gut).
  • A diet rich in these amino acids can strengthen hair, teeth and nails.
  • Glycine, an amino acid found in gelatin, has been shown to increase sleep quality.2

As with anything we consume it’s important to use the highest quality whenever possible. I recommend finding gelatin made from pastured (grass-fed) animals. If you do not consume animal products then you may want to look into making similar herbal gels with agar agar.

Herbal Jello

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Stinging nettle is a nutrient-dense plant that is both medicine and food. Herbalists often recommend stinging nettle for supporting bone, teeth and hair health — making it a perfect pairing with gelatin.

Stinging nettle can also decrease chronic inflammation associated with joint pain, reduce seasonal allergies, and benefit those with Type 2 Diabetes.3 4 5

Herbal Jello

Peppermint (Mentha x arvensis)

Peppermint is delicious and is a wonderful herb to support digestion. It can increase appetite and address digestive troubles like nausea and cramping. I included it in this recipe because I love strawberries paired with mint.

Herbal Jello

Strawberries

As if we need reasons to eat strawberries! They are delicious! They are also nutrient-dense and a wonderful source of antioxidants, including vitamin C. To get the most benefits from strawberries eat them quickly after harvesting. In this recipe I used strawberries from my garden that I had frozen and then thawed prior to making this.

Herbal Jello

Strawberry Mint Herbal Jello with Stinging Nettle

This recipe is a delicious way to enjoy the health benefits of gelatin and stinging nettle. For a rich dessert, try eating this with a side of vanilla ice cream — a new habit I picked up while visiting Ireland.

What you’ll need…

  • 1 rounded tablespoon of gelatin powder (look for grass-fed sources)
  • 2 ounces cold water
  • 16 additional ounces of water
  • 1/2 cup dried stinging nettle leaf (10 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon dried peppermint leaf (2 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen ones that have been thawed)

Put the gelatin in a large glass measuring cup. Add the two ounces of cold water and whisk together until well combined (about 1 minute). The mixture should form a thick gel.

Herbal Jello

Herbal Jello

Place the other 16 ounces of water and stinging nettle leaf into a small pan. Bring this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes (covered).

Herbal Jello

Turn off heat and add the mint. Stir well, then cover again with a tight-fitting lid. After 5 minutes, strain the tea through a fine mesh strainer. Compost the herbs.

Herbal Jello

Herbal Jello

Add honey to the tea mixture. Stir to dissolve. Taste and add more honey if desired.

Herbal Jello

Pour the hot tea and honey into the gelatin mixture (this needs to be very hot water so reheat if it has cooled down). Whisk the tea and the gelatin mixture together thoroughly until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Let cool to lukewarm.

Herbal Jello

Place your strawberries in a 9X9 glass pan (or something of similar size). Pour the gelatin mixture over the strawberries.

Herbal Jello

Place the pan in the refrigerator overnight or until it thickens into a lovely gel.

Herbal Jello

Eat within 3-5 days.

Now I’d love to hear from you.

Do you use stinging nettle in your food?

Have you ever made an herbal jello?

Let me know in the comments below.

Show 5 footnotes

  1.  Kumar, Suresh, Fumihito Sugihara, Keiji Suzuki, Naoki Inoue, and Sriraam Venkateswarathirukumara. “A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Randomised, Clinical Study on the Effectiveness of Collagen Peptide on Osteoarthritis.” Journal of the science of food and agriculture 95, no. 4 (2015): doi:10.1002/jsfa.6752.
  2.  YAMADERA, Wataru, Kentaro INAGAWA, Shintaro CHIBA, Makoto BANNAI, Michio TAKAHASHI, and Kazuhiko NAKAYAMA. “Glycine Ingestion Improves Subjective Sleep Quality in Human Volunteers, Correlating with Polysomnographic Changes.” Sleep and Biological Rhythms 5, no. 2 (2007): doi:10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00262.x.
  3.  Randall, Colin, Andy Dickens, Adrian White, Hilary Sanders, Mary Fox, and John Campbell. “Nettle Sting for Chronic Knee Pain: A Randomised Controlled Pilot Study.” Complementary therapies in medicine 16, no. 2 (2008): doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2007.01.012.
  4.  Namazi, N, A Tarighat, and A Bahrami. “The Effect of Hydro Alcoholic Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Extract on Oxidative Stress in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Double-blind Clinical Trial.” Pakistan journal of biological sciences : PJBS 15, no. 2 (2012): 98-102.
  5.  Namazi, N, A T Esfanjani, J Heshmati, and A Bahrami. “The Effect of Hydro Alcoholic Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Extracts on Insulin Sensitivity and Some Inflammatory Indicators in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Double-blind Control Trial.” Pakistan journal of biological sciences : PJBS 14, no. 15 (2011): 775-9.

Which herbs & remedies should you always stock in your kitchen?

28 comments
  1. I wonder if the honey contributes to the thickening? I want to sub some stevia glycerite.

    • Go for it! I have had great success with stevia substitute.

    • The honey doesn’t contribute to the thickening so you can leave it out entirely and/or sub with stevia if desired.

  2. Hi Rosalee, We use pure fruit juices with knox gelatin. One of my favorites is mango. Mango jello can be used for pie filling also. the key to preserving the vitamin c is not to heat too much of the juice.

  3. I look forward to trying the jello!
    I put a handful of stinging nettle in a pot of vege soup last week and it was good.
    Just curious, did you ever try the jello using agar agar instead of gelatin’?

  4. Thank you, I have to try this!

  5. Thank you so much for your recipe ! Yes, I use Stinging Nettles in lots of things ~ I dry nettles, then rub them through a sieve, add some dried nettle seeds and use the mix in stews, soups, and in the olive/roasted sesame oil I use to marinate any pasta I make (keeps the pasta ‘bits’ from sticking ~ and feeds us amazing nettles.)

  6. This is probably a silly question, I don’t have a bag of dried stinging nettles around, but I have nettles tea. Could I just brew some very strong tea (ie: 4 bags) and use this instead?

    • Hi Joann, so if I understand correctly you have nettle leaf in tea bags? If so, what you can do is cut open the bags, measure out the amount of nettle leaf that you need, and then proceed with the directions.

  7. I did not think of making a jello with stinging nettles…. but I would NOT make it – definitely – with gelatin (from bones), but would use instead some arrowroot which give the same result without the gelatin problems… I do eat stinging nettle in salted tarts, soups, beignets….

  8. according to ayurvedic tradition honey should not be heated,it turns toxic with heat[if you can put your finger in and count till 10, then you can add honey]

    • Thank you Naomi re the time to add honey…news to me after sooooo many years of hot lemon and honey drinks lol
      …I can’t imagine my grandchildren liking the nettle at all so will stick with the mint haha!

    • Besides, heating honey destroys its nutrients.

  9. I love the idea of using nettle for the tea. I’ve made gelatin with lemon balm tea and it’s lovely! Very light and refreshing. I’ve also made gelatin with kombucha (as the cold part) and added habiscus for a lovely red color, added stevia and cut up apples or other fruit. Gelatin is fun to play with! I’ve even made one with coffee and cream, and a chocolate peanut butter one my grandkids love.

    • Would you mind sharing the recipes for coffee & cream and chocolate peanut butter? Those sound fantastic!

  10. Looking forward to trying this recipe. I drink stinging nettle tea a lot. It’s a great natural aromatase inhibitor.

  11. This is great how can I use my own bone broth in place of the powdered gelatin?

  12. Hello All,
    I am into herbs alot when I was raising my 5 boys, now our house has 2 diabetics 1 spouse with bone/teeth/ulcers all in mouth lost several teeth still waiting to heal gums & bone to see a dentist & get fixed up a little cosmetically. I am sure going to try the stinging nettle for the bone loss & our son’s arthritis with his Diabetes. Thank you much. Let you know the outcome. Joy

    • I starting using coconut oil for oil pulling and the improvement in my mouth was so dramatic the hygienist called for the dentist so he could see. They said it was the best they had seen my mouth. The dental surgeon also commented on how clean my mouth was. I drink nettle infusion, oat infusion, and occasionally horsetail infusion to hopefully help my bones after I got railroaded into an hysterectomy.

  13. Hi there,
    I actually prefer to use Agar instead of gelatin for my “jello” type recipes. I also use it to make nut cheeses. It is a gelling agent from red algae. It is alot firmer then gelatin and will set and stay set in room temperature. 1 tsp of agar powder is = to 8 tsp of gelatin. It is definitely a firmer texture but I love that it doesn’t melt when sitting out.

    • Thank you Vicki for providing a substitute for the gelatin along with the ratios. Very much appreciated as I would never have made this recipe otherwise.

  14. Rosalee, Thank you so much for the veg. source idea. I look forward to trying them as a vegetarian dessert for my children.

  15. Thank you for this recipe! I will try it for my grandchildren.
    I make soap, and use stinging nettles in a soap (with cucumber puree).
    Sarah

  16. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I know my granddaughter will love helping me make this. 😊

  17. I do use nettle in my teas, casseroles, stir fry, meat loafs, etc. That and holy basil cause both of them don’t change the flavors that much and are very healthy for you. I’ve never tried a homemade gelatin before, but I love jello, so I will definitely give this one a shot. I, like yourself, find the ingredients anymore in jello, off the shelf, appalling. I’m also shocked as to why they have to add dextrose to jello that already has sugar in it? It’s extremely hard to be truly healthy in our society. Everything’s based on ‘the almighty dollar’.

  18. sounds interesting would subbing spearmint or another mint make too much of a difference besides taste. I am going to have to give in and try another herb as I keep hearing about nettles and no herbal jello’s before now but am now wondering what all I can mix together for a variation on this

  19. How hot does the tea need to be when adding it in? I.e. if it’s brewing in a pot it remains fairly hot. Do I need to hear it up in this case? Thanks, charlie

  20. The only symptom that I had was tingling in my legs especially at night after I retired to bed. The tingling became more severe where I could not get them to stop. I thought I had restless leg syndrome. My doctor tested me for diabetes and found that I had type II diabetes and the sugar was attacking my legs because it had no place to go. He put me on a sugar free diet and Actos and within one to two days my symptom were gone.. One day I got extremely sick, could not keep anything down, had blurry vision, a rapid heartbeat.I Started taking metformin 1000 mg twice daily. I am writing this to inform others that nothing was really working to help my condition.I went off the metformin (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started on Diabetes herbal formula i ordered from Health Herbal Clinic, my symptoms totally declined over a 7 weeks use of the Diabetes natural herbal formula. i am now doing very well, Visit there website www. healthherbalclinic. net or email Info@ healthherbalclinic. net This treatment is incredible!

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