Dead nettles (Lamium spp.)

Dead nettles (Lamium spp.)

Other common names: Archangel, henbit, blind nettle, bee nettle, deaf nettle

*Note: This entry covers the three most widely used dead nettle species – white (Lamium album), yellow (Lamium Galeobdolon) and purple aka red (Lamium purpureum) dead nettles.

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Yellow dead nettle. Photo courtesy of Sarah Smith/Wikimedia Commons

Yellow dead nettle. Photo courtesy of Sarah Smith/Wikimedia Commons

Family: Lamiaceae

Actions:

Astringent, styptic, antimicrobial, alterative, sedative, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, diuretic.

(White, yellow and purple dead nettle share the same actions and indications.)

Harvest:

Dead nettles can be harvested during their flowering season, just before the flowers open. Their flowering seasons vary, however.

White: May until late autumn.

Yellow: Shorter flowering time, averaging about two months – can be either spring or summer depending on region.

Purple: April to September.

Part used: Aerial parts

Constituents: 

Phenylpropanoid glycosides, lamalboside, flavonols, caffeoylquinic acid, rutoside, quercetin, kaempferol 3-O glucosides, iridoid glycosides, hemialboside and others.

Indications:

Bleeding, cuts/scrapes, anxiety, depression, upper respiratory infections, congestion, swelling, dermatitis, hemorrhaging, burns, hemorrhoids, female reproductive health, bruises, oral irritations, skin irritations, sore throat, vaginal discharge, fevers, fluid retention.

White dead nettle. Photo courtesy of Derek Harper/Wikimedia Commons

White dead nettle. Photo courtesy of Derek Harper/Wikimedia Commons

Medicinal preparations:

Internal

Dried or fresh, the aerial parts (especially flowers) can be used in a tea infusion, gargle, syrup, etc. They can be used in capsules, mainly white dead nettle is seen in this form.

External

The flowers in particular can be applied externally in washes, salves or poultice form to treat soreness and inflammation in muscles and joints, as well as rashes, acne, eczema and other skin conditions.

Contraindications:

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Jason Sturner

Purple dead nettle. Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Jason Sturner

Do not use internally if pregnant or nursing. May interact with certain medications, including diuretics, and anti-coagulants. I would not recommend this herb for internal use in patients who have a history or increased risk of blood clots (at least not without the advice of a doctor).

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

The dead nettles got their name because they look a lot like stinging nettle, however they are “dead” (i.e. they don’t sting). In folklore, dead nettles are known to liven the spirits and boost mood. It was considered to be affiliated with the spleen (which, when not in balance, was associated with depression in some cultures). It was therefore applied externally over the spleen area in a hot compress – in order to bring the person out of their melancholy state. Culpeper believed that one could even stop a nose bleed (or oral bleeding) by applying dead nettle poultices to the back of the neck.

Dead nettles have a dry constitution.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

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