Herbal spring tonic from a little flower you know very well!
The following is a guest post from contributor Lauren.
Do any of you recognize this cute little flower?
I bet you do! It loves to grow wild and it grows EVERYWHERE during the springtime! Many people consider it to be an invasive little plant and try to kill it with everything under the sun ending with a “cide”. That's a NO NO! This little spring flower is one of a honeybee's first available nectar after a long winter of nothing and is also an excellent little flower to provide vitamins and minerals for a spring tonic for us!
Isn't that neat?
Something that we consider to be a nuisance or invasive has actually been given to us by God for health and nutrition and has been given to the bees to help them reestablish after a long winter. We need our bees to be healthy so that they will pollinate our crops, fruit trees, and make us yummy honey to enjoy year round. We also need the spring greens to detoxify our bodies and get those sluggish immune systems going again after a long winter of being inside battling the winter woes! Here's some detailed information on how to make sure you recognize this plant correctly and also on how to use it for your health!
Disclaimer: All of the following information about the identification and use of this plant is accurate to the best of my knowledge. With that being said, only attempt to harvest and eat wild plants that you can identify with 100% accuracy. Buy a field guide or 2 on foraging for wild plants to learn to identify them at all stages. Cross-reference information and photos of plants with different sources. Know if there are any similar looking plants that might be poisonous. Before consuming a wild plant for the first time, eat only a small portion in case you are allergic.
Purple dead nettle is a short lived annual in the mint family (Lamiaceae ). Usually growing no larger than 1ft in height, it has squared stems (characteristic of mint family) and soft fuzzy leaves with a opposite leaf arrangement. Leaves also have a bit of purple in them. Flowers are pink/purple and very small.
The leaves, stem, and flowers are all edible. Purple dead nettle is very nutritious being high in iron, vitamins, and fiber. It can be eaten raw as a salad green or cooked. Try boiling in water for 20-30 minutes, drain, and season to taste. Collect when in flower for fresh eating or for storage by drying.
The entire plant is an astringent, styptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, and purgative. A decoction can be made to help with hemorrhaging and the freshly bruised leaves can be applied to external cuts. Make a tea to use as a laxative or tonic by adding 2 tablespoons of fresh or dried herb to 1 cup hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink in 1/2 cup doses.
I have this little flower growing ALL over my yard this year and I am definitely going to harvest, dehydrate at a low temp until dry, and store this valuable little plant for medicinal purposes! So get out there and SPRING into learning about what is growing in your yard that has been put there by God to help you stay healthy and fit for His service! James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”. Make sure to take time and enjoy the good gifts that God gives us each and every day of the year! Happy Spring!