DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.
This victorious purple and green warrior strides into our gardens and fields with purpose and stealth, known as Purple Archangel, it is better known as purple dead nettle (lamium purpureum). An annual, its seeds fling far and wide to land on disturbed soil in almost any area exposed to water and soil. Usually it is an unexpected visitor. Many gardeners see it as a nuisance weed, as it will take over a garden if unchecked, but our small invader has many uses for the kitchen witch, healer, and magician.
This common weedy plant is a member of the mint family and forms early groundcover mats, with fuzzy, spade-shaped leaves and delicate purple-pink flowers, a lovely addition to a spring weed bouquet. – “Weed of the Month: Purple Deadnettle”, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
So, what shall we do with this tiny purple lovely? Well, we can munch on this gentle mint. It’s squared stem and tender leaves add a bit of variety to an outdoor salad on a mild April afternoon. Sauted dishes that need a bit of the unusual benefit form its addition as well. Imagine the pop it gives as a garnish to soup.
Just make sure the area where you harvest is relatively free from environmental toxins if you wildcraft. Usually a respectable plot will emerge that can supply enough for at least one dish. Dish “N” That has a splendid recipe for a Purple Dead Nettle Pesto Pasta Primavera.
I can not stress enough the importance of proper identification. This plant is easily confused for henbit by casual wildcrafters. They are not the same, and do not taste the same.
Children often like the way it looks around the fairy houses that have over-wintered in the yard. I can neither confirm, nor deny, that it attracts the fey. Nor can I claim success at trying the famous “dead nettle whistle”. I shall leave that to those far better than my trumpet playing self. Any piccolo players in the house?
Feeling a little blue? For our healers, purple dead nettle is said to be a pick me up when used in a bouquet. Energetically, it is also said to bring a bit of perseverance and cheeriness, most likely due to its hardy nature. Then again, since some use it as a laxative addition to tea, that could also “get things moving”.
Having a styptic property in it qualities, it has also been used to assist in holistic first aid kits. This is one of those rather obscure herb components for many folks, so if your local herbwife does not have it, do not judge. Do not judge anyway, it’s a good rule. Discern but do not judge, who are you to be Judy? That just brings the atmosphere down with your bummer bag vibes.
Speaking of vibes, my fine friendly witchy workers, this plant can give a lift and bolster to your own vibes. Magickally, the properties are a bit tame in comparison to other herbal components, but dead purple nettle is what I used to call “a good helper” when I worked for Head Start as a Family Service Worker.
It can add clarity and fortitude to the mind and spirit with a mild boost in these areas. Added to a magickal powder, it can be blended with other herbs to help guard an area. Since some associate it with the old God Michael, now known as an Archangel (Hey, read the books in the Philosophy, Religion, and Education reference section of your local library if you do not believe me.), this might be an excellent addition to experiment with when making fumigation blends in rites associated with this energy. Ritual Scentz has an ~ Archangel Guardian Sachet ~ that could make a lovely addition to your study binder for later research.
As this is a mint, be sure to give yourself a break and dry it hanging in smaller bunches. In a brown paper bag, the drying is a lot neater, and lets you crunch it up easily. Plus it feels good in a tactile way to hear that sound (see, lifting spirits already). Something I like to do with stems from the mint family is insert them in the center of my fuming bundles. Try it. Or do not try it. I am not the boss of you.
Bonus: Enjoy this song “Dead Nettle” by Soft Pyramids.