Forage Friday #96 Dead Nettle

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Purple Dead Nettle 22520” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

As the snow recedes in the lengthening light of the day the new plants stretch forth in anticipation of the sun’s warm caress. The leaves are soft and fuzzy and remind me of a knights heater shield. They’re long at tip and overlap the square stem like scales. Near the top the leaves seem to be stained red as if bloodstained and the redish purple flowers are trumpet shaped. This is a warrior’s herb. While it’s often confused with ground ivy and henbit it’s a plant all of its own.

Dead Nettle was introduced to North America by the colonists but I’m not sure if it was an accident or not. Many plants were brought over as hitchhikers but Dead Nettle may have been the guarded treasure of a healer. The plant was traditionally used to treat wounds and it’s astringent quality would help to control bleeding while it’s antimicrobial and antifungal quality would medigate infections. And because it’s also anti-inflammatory it would help to sooth a wound. Being a member of the mint family would mean that you might even try it on sore muscles or for arthritis. A tea made from the plant is said to be an effective laxative and diuretic.

The entire plant is edible but remember that it’s a very effective laxative and too much at once could have undesirable consequences. Most of the references list it as being “added to” something else like salads or stews. I have nibbled the raw plant and found that it’s flavor is rather mild. The fuzzy texture of the raw leaf is kinda strange at first but not too bad. The tops are kinda sweet wich makes up for the texture. But big benefit is in the nutritional value. Dead Nettle is very rich in vitamin C at a time of year when most people are deficit in vitamin C. In fact that’s true for a lot of the early spring and late winter herbs. It’s also rich in Iron and the seeds are said to have a good amount of antioxidants.

As always I do recommend doing further research on your own but the only warning I’m able to locate is in relation to the laxative effects of Dead Nettle. We’re at the time of year when most people begin thinking about the garden and Dead Nettle might be something that you want to allow to occupy a space on the edges of the property or in a container for tough times. If you actually put it in a garden plot it’s going to take over like all mints do so keep it separate.

Incidentally, tonight’s Feature Image was taken on February 25th 2020 in a spot that always produces before anywhere else.

That’s it for this week’s Forage Friday. Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

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4 thoughts on “Forage Friday #96 Dead Nettle

  1. It is always informative to learn about another forage plant. Although I had heard of the nettle, never heard of the dead nettle. It is interesting to know it is part of the mint family and has so many healing qualities. Enjoy your end of winter! ☃️

    Liked by 1 person

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