common-nettle

Praire’s Plants: Henbit

Scientific Name: Lamium amplexicaule

Common names: Common henbit, dead-nettle henbit

Appearance: Identifiable as a mint relative by its square stems, henbit tends to be quite short but can spread broadly. Leaves are medium green, scalloped, opposite-paired and hairy; flowers are pinkish-purple and form on stalks in whorls, blooming in the very early spring. Looks vaguely similar to purple dead nettle to some, though I’ve never much thought so. 

Range: Native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia; naturalized through nearly all of North America

Historical and Medicinal Uses: Henbit has been a salad herb for the last 400 years in parts of the world, and it’s quite good eating. Some modern herbalists claim it has several medicinal uses, but thus far they’ve neither borne the tests of time nor science, so I’m not sure they merit discussion. 

Associations and Potential Uses: Henbit is quite a peaceful plant, and I find it to work well in herbal mixes dedicated to releasing tension and bound-up energy, and comforting those in mourning. I also have found henbit flowers in particular to be beloved by fae, and a useful offering for them. 

Materia Medica – Urtica dioica

Considering that stinging nettles burn like crazy when touched, some people may think you’d have to be crazy to want to utilize it. However, besides its medicinal benefits, nettles have been used throughout history for textiles and dye. The fibers were used in Germany during WWI to make army uniforms when there was a shortage of cotton. Some of you may remember the story of The Wild Swans where a young princess had to gather the stinging nettles, make them into cordage and knit sweaters for her 11 brothers that had been turned into swans.  

Botanical (Latin) Name: Urtica dioica
Common Name: Stinging Nettle
Family: Urticaceae
Parts Used: Leaves
Native Region: Found globally.
Botanical Description: A perennial that can grow anywhere from 1’-6’ with leaves in opposite pairs which are ovate to lanceolate in shape with toothed edges. The leaves have hollow, stinging hairs which can cause an intense stinging/burning reaction when touched. The flowers bloom from June to August.
Uses: Allergies, anemia, arthritis, asthma, gout, bladder infection, kidney stones, sciatica.
Actions: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-anaphylactic, anti-rheumatic, anti-asthmatic, anti-convulsant, anti-dandruff, antihistamine, astringent, decongestant, depurative, diuretic, hemostatic, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, glactagogue, immunomodulator, prostate tonic, stimulating tonic.
Preparations: Tea, tincture, extract, decoction, hair rinse, in foods and beverages.
Taste: Grassy like taste
Safety: Best to avoid during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. For those with diabetes and low blood pressure, stinging nettle might lower blood sugar and might lower blood pressure. It can increase urine flow, so check with your health provider if you have kidney problems.
Contraindications (Plant-Medication Combinations): Interacts with the following: Lithium and Warfarin; diabetes, high blood pressure and sedative medication.

Until next time, discover the power of welcoming nature’s healing plants into your life.

Links
hca.gilead.org.il/wild_swa.html

Common Nettle (Urtica dioica). (n.d.). Retrieved from (arkive.org/common-nettle/urtica-dioica/)

Stinging Nettle. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved from (webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-664-stinging%20nettle.aspx?activeingredientid=664)

Stinging Nettle Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved from (herbwisdom.com/herb-nettle.html)

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This is my large-flowered hemp nettle (Galeopsis speciosa) seedling, sporting some very symmetrical dewdrops this morning. A single plant appeared as a volunteer in the garden last year, and just three of the seeds I collected managed to sprout. Only one has made it to this stage. Commercial seed is difficult to come by, so I really hope this fellow makes it. If the universe is willing, in a few months he will look like this:

I think these are the prettiest of the wild nettles, but of course they’re also the rarest. The yard is teeeming with red and white dead nettles, as well as a few common hemp nettles (which are similar to this type, but w/less-fancy flowers). Unfortunately there are also some pockets of stinging nettle lurking about, but much less than there was at this time last year.

I’d really like to see more of these fancy ones, so let’s cross our fingers for this wee person to grow up strong & make a bunch more seed for me.

Warrior Prefix’s and Suffix’s that should be added to the official name list! (And why)

~~~~~~~~~~ Prefix’s ~~~~~~~~~~

Lynx- (They’re being reintroduced back to the UK in the next 5 years or so, and since the series originally took place in the UK… Most name combos would work here.)

Natter- (Named after the rare Natterjack toad, one of the only 2 toad types in the UK, and they’re dying out fast. They have a long stripe down their back, so the name “Natterstripe” or “Natterspring” could work.)

Cuckoo - (Again a rare British animal, the common cuckoo. Names could be Cuckoosong, Cuckoowing, Cuckoobelly, etc.)

Kite- (No not the twoleg thing, the bird Kite!)

Dock- Common plant, if nettle is a prefix why not its opposite?

Alpine- Common plant.

Bat- Common animal

Swan- Common bird (and exists in the world, Whitwing once suggested gathering swan feathers.)

~~~~~~~~~~~ Suffix’s ~~~~~~~~~~

-Bite (Can be used to name a good fighter, Batbite Tigerbite)

-Swirl (Sandswirl, Windswirl, Dustswirl)

-Root (Good for medicine cats! Dockroot, Hazelroot, etc)

-Lily (Darklily, Redlily,)

Urtica dioica (common nettle)

Urtica dioica is a common nettle that if touched will cause a stinging sensation and irritation to the skin. Heating the irritated area of skin or the sting will help reduce the pain and neutralise it.