Let's chat about Lamium Purpureum or what is commonly known as Purple Dead Nettle. This is a sweet little "weed" that may be growing in your back yard.
It is a member of the mint family.
It's name translates to "purple monster". Don't let that scare you away, this plant is absolutely not harmful. It derived the name from the fact that it can turn entirely plowed farm land into a field of reddish purple fields.
It has fuzzy, spade shaped leaves with delicate purple-pink flowers. The dead nettle leaves form in a cluster from the stem down.
Purple dead nettle is incredible in the fight against spring time allergies. It has properties that are anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, astringent, immuno-stimulating, and nutritive.
Henbit can often be confused with purple dead nettle because they can often grow near each other, but henbit is not harmful either. Henbit has scalloped leaves. That's a good way to tell them apart.
Purple dead nettle is a great herb to wild forage. Just be sure to wild forage safely. You don't want to forage anywhere near ditches, roadways, or near power lines.
We have two wonderful products that contain purple dead nettle. We have a wonderful Seasonal Allergy Tea that target allergies and we also have a wonderful Seasonal Allergy Extract. Both of these products are wonderful for knocking out spring time allergies.
Due to the amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it has been used for centuries for edibles as well as medicinal.
Here is a delicious Purple Dead Nettle Pesto. It's wonderful in pasta, cauliflower rice, or on toasted bread topped with diced tomatoes in bruschetta.
1/2 cup nuts (use whatever you have)
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
6 cups of purple dead nettle flowering tops
3/4 cup of olive oil
1tsp of kosher salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 350*. Toast nuts on rimmed baking sheet (tossing midway through) for 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to food processor and let cool. Add cheese, add garlic and pulse for 1 minute. Add purple dead nettle with motor running, add oil in a slow and steady stream. Season with salt. Cover and store in fridge. Add an extra drizzle to the top of pesto to prevent oxidation over night in the fridge.
**Be sure to wash the flowering tops well before using them, just as you would basil you pulled from your herb garden.