The dead nettle or purple deadnettle as is commonly referred is an annual winter weed that thrives in warm areas. It is sometimes called the henbit or ‘the devouring purple monster’ which is synonymous to the effect that weeds have on the environment. The dead nettle is a member of the mint family set apart by its four-sided square stem.
They have no stinging hairs. The flowers are tubular shaped with the upper and lower lip ends inclining towards each other. The blooming season, May to June, sees the plant produce flowers in a color variety of purple, white, lavender, and pink. Four nutlet seeds are produced when the flowers boom which can be used to replant the weed for continuous growth.
It grows rapidly transforming large farmed lands into reddish purple fields. This is largely because minimal to no effort is required for it to grow and spread. It has the ability to spread out 2 feet wide and grown up to 6 to 12 inches in height. It thrives in a variety of soils namely, sandy, loamy, or clayed, provided they are low light areas. Its preference is moist well-drained soil although it can still grow in dry conditions. Inadequate moisture especially during the summer heat tends to dry it out as well.
It is not entirely a nuisance as it has numerous medicinal purposes. It is considered a diaphoretic. Astringent, diuretic, purgative, and styptic.
- Its leaves are helpful to external wounds and cuts. They help stop bleeding.
- It contains strong anti-inflammatory properties, meaning of course that it can help reduce inflammation.
- It helps to treat bad odor and vaginal discharge.
- It is also known for reducing allergies. This is due to its antibacterial and antifungal components.
- Its highly abundant in vitamin C, iron and fiber. These properties help boost immunity and fight infection.
- The oil found in its seeds is rich in antioxidants.
- The purple deadnettle is considered edible. It can be used to make salads, tea, soups, smoothies, etc. It works similar to other greens.
Caution is advised as it may have a laxative effect if taken in large quantities.
A pre-emergent herbicide or a post-emergent herbicide can be used to control the weeds when they are in their earliest stages and not blooming. If you prefer to not use the chemicals, mow them constantly to prevent them from blooming.
Another possible solution would be to grow a healthy lawn. The weeds don’t take well to competition so your grass is likely to win the competition for nutrients and space. Sometimes you might need a special grass blend. Your local nursery or professional lawn care experts will advise you best depending on your conditions.