This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Purple Dead Nettle

Purple Dead Nettle Patch (frosted)
Single Plant (frosted)
Close up of Flowers
 Purple Dead Nettle is in bloom everywhere. This is another plant most people consider a weed, but on closer inspection you can see it is quite beautiful plant. In profile, I think, the extremely beautiful flowers look like a bulldog, with tiny ears and a protruding lower jaw.
 Purple Dead Nettle is not a popular edible or medicinal plant but is considered both. A member of the Mint Family, it has a square stem and opposite leaves that overlap each other and get a darker purple toward the top.The photos don't show the purple that well because these plants were in the shade, it's early in the season and it is an early frosty morning. As the days get hotter and the sun more intense the top leaves will get noticeably darker purple. The name "Dead" Nettle comes from the fact that it doesn't sting like other plants called Nettle.
  The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw in salads or as a nibble.I like the flowers the best and eat those more than any other part and have never eaten a large quantity of the rest of the plant. It can be cooked also, which is recommended by some because of the high Tannin content. Collect the plant when in flower and dry for the future to make teas and medicinal infusions. It is said the plant is high in Iron.
 Medicinally it is used as a Hemostatic herb, meaning it helps stop bleeding. I imagine this is due to the high tannin content as tannin is an astringent. It is also used to stop Diarrhea and disinfect wounds, again, presumably because of the high tannins. 
 Even if you never eat it or use it Medicinally, at least take a closer look at this prolific little plant.

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