Thursday, March 1, 2012
Weed lovin' witchery: Purple Deadnettle
Purple dead nettle is popping up all over the place at this time of year, including here at the little Victorian. Aside from being cute and sporting a pretty combination of purple and green, it is both medicinal and edible.
For eating: It doesn't have a strong flavor, but it is a superfood, packed with fiber, iron, antioxidants and vitamins. I've had it raw, but it can also be cooked. It looks pretty on a salad.
For healing: The leaves and flowers can be dried and teas can be made from the plant either fresh or dried. Purple deadnettle is a diuretic, styptic, astringent and tonic, among other things. It's leaves can be bruised and applied to cuts.
For witching: Popping up in the earliest spring-like moments, purple deadnettle is a maideny herb. In older folklore it was said to be a cheerful herb that makes the heart merry. It grows enthusiastically were groundcover is patchy or where the soil has been disturbed, pointing to a tenacious nature and the ability to make something lovely and useful out of a barren environment. It is called deadnettle, because sometimes folks mistake it for nettle, but this gentle plant has no sting. Archangel is an alternate term, coming from the time time that it blooms and the saint's feat day.
For wildlife: Bees, helpful pollinators, enjoy it enormously.