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Purple Dead Nettle
Lamium purpureum

Other Names: Red Nettle, Red Dead-nettle, Red Henbit, Red Archangel

Habitat: (Lamium purpureum) An annual herb believed to be a native of Europe, now found world-wide and growing in most any situation or soil, mainly in the temperate regions. Considered a weed to be disposed of by some and the edible food plant of the future by others. Cultivation: this inconspicuous plant, given the right conditions will thrive and become quite large. Purple Dead Nettle is a member of the mint family it has a square stem, no basal leaves and the lower leaves are dark green and have short petioles, all leaves are hairy, and are circular in outline with 'scalloped' margins, becoming more purple-red and smaller in the upper leaves. The flowers grow in whorls of 3-6 in the upper leaves. Purple-red in color the flowers are tubular blooming year round. Purple Dead Nettle is a favorite for bees and butterflies, who find abundance of nectar in its blossoms. Roots are fine and fibrous. Gather the fresh edible leaves and flowers when in bloom. Dry for later herb use.

Properties: Edible and medicinal, the leaves and upper plants are cooked as pot herbs or added to salads. The plant is very nutritious, high in iron, vitamins and fiber. The whole plant is medicinal, used as an astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative, styptic and tonic. Lab tests show that Lamium purpureum seed oil possess high antioxidant activities, and might be used as a future food-additive. A decoction of the plant is particularly useful for checking any kind of hemorrhage, the fresh bruised leaves can be applied to external cuts and wounds. The dried herb, made into a tea and sweetened with honey, promotes perspiration and acts on the kidneys. A tea made from the fresh plant is an excellent laxative and tonic.

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Folklore: Believed by some old wives to be a plague of the fields sent to punish the unrighteous.

TRY THESE RECIPES

Medicinal tea: Add 2 tbsp. fresh or dried herb to to 1 cup water steep for 10 min. strain and drink in cup doses, for laxative, and general tonic.

Pot Herb: Boil flowers and leaves in water for 20 to 30 min. drain, season to taste.

 

 

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