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 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
- Promote perspiration and help combat chills
- Promote kidney health because the whole plant acts as a diuretic
- Can help with hemorrhages and menstrual cramps because of it's astringent properties
- Can help fight infections because of it's anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
- Can boost the immune system with it's high amount of vitamin C and the flavonoid quercetin
- May help with allergies, though I haven't found enough information on that to say for sure.
Like all herbs, Dead Nettle
also has some benefits outside of tea form. Those include:
- Using a tisane (basically a really strong tea) of the flowering tops can be used as a laxative since Dead Nettle also has purgative properties
- The fresh leaves can be crushed and applied to cuts, scrapes, and bruises to stop the bleeding
- The amount of iron, fiber, and various minerals and flavonids in Dead Nettle make it perfect for salads, stews, or smoothies (in fact, the poor people of Sweden often used it as a “pot herb” by boiling it)
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
, 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