How to Make Purple Dead Nettle Salve Easily: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum) is an herb and member of the mint family. Its green foliage pinkish-purple flowers are used in a wide variety of medicinal uses, including as a topical ointment for skin irritations, like the Purple Dead Nettle Salve recipe I’m sharing today. This plant appears in early spring and is a good choice as one of the first herbs to forage each year.

History of Purple Dead Nettle

Purple dead nettle plants (it’s common name) is a herbaceous perennial with its national origin in Europe and Asia but has since spread to various parts of the world, including North America. The name “dead nettle” is somewhat misleading, as it is not related to the stinging nettles and does not possess the stinging hairs characteristic of true nettles. The “dead” in its name is believed to refer to the fact that it does not sting. The “purple” part of its name comes from its distinctive purple-pink flowers.

Purple dead nettle has been used medicinally as far back as the 17th century. 

Although purple dead nettle has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, it wasn’t until recently that scientific studies were conducted to determine its medicinal properties. Studies have shown that purple dead nettle contains various active compounds with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that can be beneficial for health.

If you find any of this interesting, send this article to a friend! More people need to know about all the amazing plants we can harness the power of that are literally at our feet when we step outside!

Its also commonly used as a culinary herb. Its young leaves can be added to salads or cooked as greens and used as a substitute for spinach or other leafy greens.

Love herbal remedies? Try making your own Purple Dead Nettle Salve with this easy step-by-step guide! Get the freshest ingredients and use your own kitchen to create a natural salve with amazing healing properties. Perfect for relieving skin irritation and inflammation – give it a try today! #HerbalRemedies #DIY #PurpleDeadNettleSalve #NaturalHealing

Where and When to find Purple Dead Nettle

These fast-growing perennials are often found in disturbed areas, along roadsides, in gardens, and other cultivated lands. 

Purple dead nettle typically grows as a winter annual or biennial plant, meaning it completes its life cycle to mature plant within one or two years. In many regions, it germinates in the fall, overwinters as a small rosette of leaves, and then flowers and sets seed in the spring. After it goes to seed, the plant often dies back as temperatures rise in the late summer.

However, the ability of purple dead nettle to grow and persist can vary a bit depending on local climate conditions. In some areas with mild winters, it may continue to grow throughout the year, while in others with cold winters, it may go dormant during the coldest months.

Overall, its growth pattern tends to align with the cooler seasons. It is an aggressive grower with peak growth occurring in the spring.

It’s less common to find actively growing purple dead nettle during the hottest months of summer or in very hot climates. And this holds true in the South where we live. It appears throughout our property from early to late spring, with the amount we see decreasing by early summer. It grows in full sun, partial shade, and full shade. It’s not picky about the growing environment. We have a thick clay soil, and it grows well. It was also prolific in the well-drained soil where we lived in the pacific northwest. Truly, you can find this low-maintenance plant in just about any environment. 

While you can add traditional purple deadnettle to your garden, foraging is even better and leaves your precious garden space for other herbs. Don’t make them container plants either. (If anything, throw them in a rock garden to help take up space among the stones.) More than anything though, they thrive in their natural environment and afford a fun foraging opportunity for you and your children or friends each spring! 

How to tell if the plant is purple dead nettle:

When it comes to identifying Purple Dead Nettle, it is important to be careful and not confuse it with other plants.

Love herbal remedies? Try making your own Purple Dead Nettle Salve with this easy step-by-step guide! Get the freshest ingredients and use your own kitchen to create a natural salve with amazing healing properties. Perfect for relieving skin irritation and inflammation – give it a try today! #HerbalRemedies #DIY #PurpleDeadNettleSalve #NaturalHealing

Purple Dead Nettle can be easily identified by its square stems, with opposite pairs of toothed leaves. It also has small, purple and white flowers that grow in whorls from the upper leaf axils. 

Plants that purple dead nettle gets confused with most is Henbit and Field Pennycress. These plants all have similar characteristics and can be easily mistaken for one another. Henbit and Field Pennycress have larger, rounder leaves and stems that are not square in cross section. By carefully comparing the plants, it is easy to differentiate Purple Dead Nettle from these other species. While neither henbit nor field pennycress are generally considered toxic, they are not commonly consumed as food plants and don’t contain the properties associated with the medicinal properties of nettle.

Additionally, the leaves of Purple Dead Nettle are more narrow and pointed than other plants, and its stems are square in cross section. By carefully examining the plants for these characteristics, it is easy to differentiate Purple Dead Nettle from other plants. 

Another common form of dead nettle is the spotted dead nettle. This perennial plant is often cultivated for its attractive foliage and flowers, which feature variegated leaves and tubular, pink-purple blooms. While traditional dead nettle is usually considered an invasive weed, its sister the spotted dead nettle is commonly used as a ground cover in gardens and landscapes. (Pink Chablis and White Nancy are stunning varieties.) While spotted dead nettle (Lamium maculatum) shares some similarities with traditional dead nettles (Lamium purpureum) it’s not typically regarded as having the same level of medicinal properties.

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s move onto the salve!

Using it in salves 

Making your own Purple Dead Nettle Salve at home is easy and inexpensive. It’s a great way to take advantage of the healing properties of these members of the mint family that grow in almost every back yard each spring. Making salve is also a great skill to add to the knowledge bank. Helping to bring back the old remedies and traditions so they’re not lost to time. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide for making your own purple dead nettle salve.

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make your salve:

  • Dried purple dead nettle flowers (enough to fill up half a quart mason jar when pressed down)
  • Cold-pressed olive oil
  • Beeswax (local is best! I found mine from a local facebook beekeepers group.)
  • Essential oil of your choice (optional, but I love to use 3 drops of lavender)

Step 2: Pick the Flowers

The best time to pick this so called invasive plant is in the early morning. It’s best when the dew is still on the plants. Gather the flowers in a basket. Be sure to leave plenty of flowers behind so that the plant can continue to bloom. If possible, gather the younger looking stems, as they are more potent than the older, aging ones. 

If the bunch you collect is a bit dirty, feel free to fill up a sink with cold water. Swish them around just enough to dislodge the dirt. Set on a towel to dry. 

Love herbal remedies? Try making your own Purple Dead Nettle Salve with this easy step-by-step guide! Get the freshest ingredients and use your own kitchen to create a natural salve with amazing healing properties. Perfect for relieving skin irritation and inflammation – give it a try today! #HerbalRemedies #DIY #PurpleDeadNettleSalve #NaturalHealing

Step 3: Dry the Flowers

Once you’ve gathered your flowers, it’s time to dry them. Spread the flowers out on a screen or tray in a single layer and place them in a warm, dry place. I placed mine on a baking sheet with a paper towel under them and set by a window that received a lot of sun. 

Allow the flowers to dry for several days until they are brittle and papery. One way to know they’re dry is you’ll begin to see the seeds falling out. 

Love herbal remedies? Try making your own Purple Dead Nettle Salve with this easy step-by-step guide! Get the freshest ingredients and use your own kitchen to create a natural salve with amazing healing properties. Perfect for relieving skin irritation and inflammation – give it a try today! #HerbalRemedies #DIY #PurpleDeadNettleSalve #NaturalHealing

Step 4: Make the Infused Oil

Once the flowers are dry, it’s time to make your infused oil. There are a few ways to do this.

1st- Place the dried flowers in a glass jar and cover them with the olive oil. Close the lid and store the jar in a warm, dark place for two to four weeks. Shake the jar every few days to ensure that the flowers are completely covered with oil. After two to four weeks, the oil is ready to use.

2nd- Place the dried flowers in the glass jar and cover them with olive oil. Taking a saucepan fill half way up with water, and set mason jar of oil and nettles into the center of pan, creating a double boiler. Simmer on medium low for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Remove from stove, let cool, place lid on and store in cool dry place.

Love herbal remedies? Try making your own Purple Dead Nettle Salve with this easy step-by-step guide! Get the freshest ingredients and use your own kitchen to create a natural salve with amazing healing properties. Perfect for relieving skin irritation and inflammation – give it a try today! #HerbalRemedies #DIY #PurpleDeadNettleSalve #NaturalHealing

Step 5: Make the Salve

Now that you have your infused oil, you’re ready to make the salve.

Begin by taking 7 grams of beeswax, I carefully grate it off the block with a cheese grater. Add in 47 grams of strained, infused oil and stir until the two are combined.

With the saucepan, make another double boiler by setting the mason jar of wax and oil in the center of a saucepan of water. Place on medium heat.

Once wax is melted remove from heat, stir, and add essential oils if using. Pour the salve into a jar or tin and allow it to cool and solidify before using. It will make about 2 ounces.

Love herbal remedies? Try making your own Purple Dead Nettle Salve with this easy step-by-step guide! Get the freshest ingredients and use your own kitchen to create a natural salve with amazing healing properties. Perfect for relieving skin irritation and inflammation – give it a try today! #HerbalRemedies #DIY #PurpleDeadNettleSalve #NaturalHealing

How to use Purple Dead Nettle Salve

Dead nettle salve is used as a topical ointment to help soothe minor skin irritations, such as bug bites, cuts, scrapes, and sunburns. It can also be used to help heal minor burns and to reduce inflammation.

To use dead nettle salve, simply apply a small amount to the affected area. Massage the salve into the skin until it is absorbed. Repeat this process two to three times daily, or as often as needed.

This is a great base recipe and can be added to and enhanced by using plants such as yarrow, calendula, and plantain.

Love herbal remedies? Try making your own Purple Dead Nettle Salve with this easy step-by-step guide! Get the freshest ingredients and use your own kitchen to create a natural salve with amazing healing properties. Perfect for relieving skin irritation and inflammation – give it a try today! #HerbalRemedies #DIY #PurpleDeadNettleSalve #NaturalHealing

That’s it! You’ve just made your own purple dead nettle salve. Use it as needed to soothe skin irritations, or simply as a luxurious moisturizer. Enjoy!

This salve recipe, along with so many others similar to it, are something precious and timeless, passed down through countless generations with no known proof of origin date. And now, sweet friend, it’s up to us to keep this recipe alive, to preserve it in print, in our hearts, and to share it with the next generations. By doing this, we can ensure that this recipe is not forgotten and that it will continue to be a source of nourishment and comfort for generations to come.

Purple Dead Nettle Salve

Purple Dead Nettle Salve

Yield: 2oz
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Our Purple Dead Nettle Salve is derived from the purple dead nettle stems (Lamium purpureum), known for their medicinal properties. After careful harvesting and drying, these flowers are infused into cold-pressed olive oil, creating a potent solution enriched with centuries of herbal knowledge. Combined with locally-sourced beeswax, the salve achieves an optimal texture for easy application and effective skin relief.

Ingredients

  • Dried purple dead nettle flowers (enough to fill half a quart mason jar when pressed down)
  • Cold-pressed olive oil
  • 7 grams beeswax
  • Essential oil of your choice (optional, e.g., 3 drops of lavender)

Instructions

    Step 1: Pick the Flowers
    Time: Early morning when the dew is still on the plants.
    Method: Gather flowers in a basket, preferably younger stems.
    Cleaning: If dirty, swish in cold water and dry on a towel.
    Step 2: Dry the Flowers
    Method: Spread flowers on a screen or tray in a warm, dry place.
    Duration: Dry for several days until brittle and papery.
    Step 3: Make the Infused Oil
    Method 1 (Slow Infusion):
    Place dried flowers in a glass jar.
    Cover with olive oil and close the lid.
    Store in a warm, dark place for 2-4 weeks, shaking occasionally.
    Method 2 (Quick Infusion):
    Place dried flowers in a glass jar.
    Cover with olive oil.
    Set jar in a saucepan with water, creating a double boiler.
    Simmer on medium-low for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
    Let cool and store in a cool, dry place.
    Step 4: Make the Salve
    Ingredients: 47 grams of strained, infused oil, 7 grams of grated beeswax.
    Method:
    Create a double boiler by placing the mason jar with oil and beeswax in a saucepan of water.
    Heat on medium until beeswax melts.
    Remove from heat and stir.
    Add essential oils if using.
    Pour into a jar or tin and allow to cool and solidify.

Notes

How to Use
Application: Apply a small amount to the affected area.
Frequency: Massage into skin 2-3 times daily or as needed.
Benefits
Uses: Soothes bug bites, cuts, scrapes, sunburns, minor burns, and inflammation.
Customizable: Enhance with additional herbs like yarrow, calendula, and plantain.

Did you make this recipe?

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