The sky is blue, the birds are singing, and weeds are popping up all over my yard. One of the weeds I've noticed in particular is a familiar little weed called Dead Nettle. This big, fuzzy plant with pink/purple flowers used to grow all over my childhood home, and I'll never forget the sensation of running across the yard barefoot and getting them caught in my toes. I always assumed that Dead Nettle was a useless plant (like most other weeds), but it was always fun to play with. Since I've gotten older and delved deeper into the herb world, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that Dead Nettle was, in fact, pretty useful! As always, be sure to check with your doctor before using any new herb. The Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum L.) is an annual plant that has been around for centuries. It is one of several Dead Nettle classifications (some of the others being White Dead Nettle and Henbit), and is a part of the Mint family (look for the trademark square stem). The reason it's called “Dead Nettle" is because it's leaves look very similar to the harmful stinging nettle, but this plant carries no sting. Therefore, it is “dead.” I couldn't really find a specific history for this interesting little plant, but I know that it most likely originated in Europe and eventually spread to North America. Purple Dead Nettle is also called Red Nettle, Red Dead Nettle, and the Red Archangel. It was named the Red Archangel because ancient herbalists believed that this plant bloomed on the Archangel's day, which was on May 8th of the Julian calendar (April 28th). The Purple Dead Nettle has a variety of uses. For example, Dead Nettle Tea will:
Like all herbs, Dead Nettle also has some benefits outside of tea form. Those include: Dead Nettle is also handy to have around because the honeybees love it! It's an important food source for hungry pollinators, and will also self-pollinate when needed. As you can see, Dead Nettle is a pretty useful weed to keep around. It has a variety of uses and can be delicious when added to recipes, but the best part is that you may have an ample supply right outside the door! Just make sure they're chemical free. To learn more, check out Herbs Treat and Taste, Botanical.com, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and Healing Weeds. The Photos are my own. Photo one is a lovely bit of Dead Nettle in my yard, and the second photo is my little jar of dried Dead Nettle.