Herb of the week: Purple Dead Nettle
Our herb of the week this week is a nice little springtime herb called Purple or Red Dead Nettle. Making its appearance in early spring, mid to late March to mid April, and back again in the early fall. A native plant of Europe but now commonly found all over North America growing wild for us all to enjoy. These little plant allies come in many different varieties such as purple dead nettle, red dead nettle, pink dead nettle, and white dead nettle, which are named after the color flower the plant produces. In fact, dead nettle is not even a nettle at all, it is actually part of the mint family (but does not taste or smell like a mint), not to get it mixed up with its big cousin the nutritious stinging nettle. The leaves look a lot like that of stinging nettle without the stingers. This makes Dead Nettle much easier to harvest but still very nutritious. With a very mild earthy flavor, not at all like the flavor of mint, It has various nutritional values, and medicinal uses, but is often mistaken as an annoying weed.
It is mostly known for helping sinus infections, throat, and the lower respiratory tract issues due to its anti-inflammatory properties and act as a great mediator for inflammation and in chronic inflammation conditions. Dead Nettle is a great friend to anyone who suffers from hay fever or seasonal allergies due to its histamine blocking properties. This powerful herb is packed with vitamin C and flavonoids, which is the reason this herb is good for allergies and immunity boosting. The flavonoid responsible for its antihistamine properties in this magical little herb is called quercetin, found in its cousin stinging nettles as well as in many fruits and vegetables such as apples, grapes, peppers and onions.
Dead nettle is a very invasive plant/herb, that's why it's considered a weed. It's actually very nutritious and helpful so if you see it in your garden or yard be sure to pick some and enjoy it as a tea or in your salads and smoothies. The seeds can be made into an oil and is great for resolving skin issues as well. Dead nettle should usually be harvested around early spring time for guaranteed freshness. When the plant turns pale to bright yellow, from sun exposure they are no longer good to harvest, so move quickly but if you miss out don’t worry they will be back in early fall right on time for ragweed season.
I would like to give a very big thank my sun(shine) Rasheen, who is 12 years old for taking the time to do his own research on our herb of the week and writing and rewriting two rough drafts of this blog. He is studying these herbs alongside myself as part of his homeschooling studies. He also participates in harvesting and drying the herbs as we study them. We will soon be packaging our Purple and Red Dead Nettle and it will be available in store for purchase very soon. They have been harvested, washed, triple washed and are now drying for packaging.
I also want to thank you all for reading my blog. I’m new to this blogging thing so, your feedback is always welcomed. I promise I will get better at this as we go along. Thanks for your support. Please check out our store at: www.millyandmeapothecary.com and use Promo Code: FIRST25 for a 25% discount if you need it at this time. Thank for supporting small local businesses.
Deer, Thea, “Allergy Sufferers Get Ahead With Purple Dead Nettle”, Wisdom of the Plant Divas, 28 March, 2016, 4/8/20, <https://wisdomoftheplantdevas.com/>
Patterson, Susan, “4 Reasons to go and Find Purple Dead Nettle”, Natural Living Ideas, 2 April, 2020, 8 April 2020, <https://www.naturallivingideas.com/>
Tappenden, Paul, “If You Haven’t Met This Incredible Plant, Now’s The Time”, Gardenalia Properties Service LLC, 4 March, 2015, 8 April, 2020, <https://gardenaliapgh.com/>
Schaefer, Anna, “The 4 Best Natural Antihistamines”, Healthline Media, 3 January, 2020, 8 April, 2020, <https://www.healthline.com/>