Deadnettle – characteristics, cultivation and use


Deadnettle is one of the most famous wild herbs and known for their sweet flowers. The plant has a permanent place in natural medicine and is mainly used for upper respiratory complaints or for stomach and intestinal diseases. With leaves and flowers of the dead nettle delicious meals can be cooked.

Profile of deadnettle:

Scientific name: Lamium album, Lamium purpureum, Lamium galeobdolon

Plant family: mint family (Lamiacea)

Other names: white deadnettle, purple deadnettle, yellow deadnettle

Sowing time / Planting time: October – March

Flowering period: April – October

Harvest time: May – September

Location: sunny, partially shaded to shady

Soil quality: moist

These information are for temperate climate!

Use as a medicinal herb: indigestion, gastric and intestinal complaints, pharyngitis, laryngitis, lateral strangulation

Use as aromatic herb: flowers: wild herb salads, fruit salads, fruit quark; leaves: similarly to nettle leaves or spinach, herb quarks, herb butter

Plant characteristics and classification of deadnettle

Origin and occurrence of deadnettle

The original provenance of deadnettle is northern and central Europe. It is, together with the purple dead nettle, found in many places and is considered a typical native weed. Their present occurrence extends from Western Europe to Asia. Humans have spread the dead nettle worldwide, so many deadnettle species are also present in the US and Canada today.

Preferred locations where deadnettle is found are roadsides, hedgerows, brownfields, forest edges and wastelands. The plant has adapted well to humans and shows a high tolerance to the location.

Plant order of deadnettle

The deadnettle belongs to the large plant family of the mint family (Lamiaceae). The species is related to numerous known herbs such as peppermint, oregano or thyme. The genus of deadnettle (Lamium) includes about 50 species. Known further representatives of this genus are the purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) or the common golden nettle (Lamium galeobdolon).

Look and characteristics of deadnettle


The deadnettle belonging to the native wild herbs is a perennial, herbaceous plant that can reach heights of growth up to 1 meter (40 in) under optimal growth conditions. In the ground, the plant forms a creeping, branching, mostly dark brown rhizome, which serves as an organ of rest during the winter months.


Deadnettle form mint green to dark green leaves, which are strongly sawn on the leaf margin and are usually up to 5 cm (2 in) long. All leaves are hairy and have a dense network of glandular hair, rich in essential oils. Optically, the leaf shape is very reminiscent of stinging nettles. The stem of deadnettle is four-edged. The leaves are each oppositely positioned on the stalk.


The flowering time of the plant is expected between late April and early October. Then deadnettle forms lip-shaped flowers. Each flower consists of two lips, each with petals, which can be up to 3 cm (1.2 in) long. There are also five sepals, which are completely interspersed with glandular hair, and a four-divided ovary. The flowers are often visited by pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies. The most common type of dead nettle bears white flowers, but there are also the purple dead nettle with redish flowers and the yellow nettle with yellow flowers. There are also many other types of deadnettle.


From October, the blossoms form four-part schizocarps. Each partial fruit contains several edged and gray to light brown colored seeds. At the end of the seed is a nutrient-rich, dark-colored attachment. These attract ants, which spread the seeds.

purple deadnettle
purple deadnettle

Deadnettle – cultivation and care

Although the deadnettle is a common weed, it is occasionally grown in private gardens. As the plant attracts many pollinators, it also helps to improve the micro-ecology of the garden.


Deadnettle has a large tolerance and grows in partially shaded to shady locations. Optimal are nutrient-rich, loamy and moist soils. The plant is also coping well with loosened soil. If the plant is to be cultivated on the balcony or terrace, especially western and northern locations are suitable.


Deadnettle is quite easy to grow. The seeds of the plant can be sown directly from mid-October to early March directly on the field. A preculture from February is possible, but not necessary. The seeds need low temperatures to germinate for a while. In the bed, planting distances of about 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 in) per plant should be respected. Too narrow planting distances may favor the infestation of pests. Lay the seeds only superficially on the ground and just cover.


Deadnettle are nitrogen indicator and have relatively high nutritional requirements. However, as far as the plant grows in a nutrient-rich soil, some supplements will suffice. If no compost is available, an organomineral and nitrogen-based fertilizer can also be used. Potted crops require more frequent nutritional supplements due to increased nutrient leaching. During the growing season, you should work with a commercial herbal liquid fertilizer every five to six weeks.


Continuous moisture in the soil or soil is necessary so that the deadnettle can grow optimally. The weed needs a lot of water. If possible, the soil should always be moist at a depth of 3 to 4 cm (1.2 to 1.6 in).


The deadnettle is a hardy species that has a high frost tolerance. Its aboveground plant components die off in late autumn. The plant outlasts the winter in its rhizome and shoots again in the spring. On frost-free and longer-lasting dry days should be occasionally poured.

Diseases and pests

Occasionally the deadnettle is plagued by aphids. In addition, in unfavorable location or care conditions gray mold can occur, which is noticeable by a greyish, dense felt on the leaves. The affected plant components should then be cut off over a large area. Check if the plants are too dense and if the soil is of low quality.

Use of deadnettle

Deadnettle in the kitchen

Of deadnettle, the upper fresh shoots are used in salads, soups, smoothies and vegetable garnishes. A special delicacy are deadnettle shoots in baked pancake, this dish is also popular with children. In addition, the flowering shoots are a tasty ingredient for house mixes.

From the sweet flowers a delicious as well as curative syrup can be produce. It is also a nice decoration for salads and desserts.

After blooming you can harvest the root and eat raw in the salad or cooked as a vegetable.

Preparation of a deadnettle syrup

To prepare a syrup only the small flowers are collected. In addition to the flowers of purple deadnettle, you can also mix the flowers of the white deadnettle and the golden nettle.


  • 3 handfuls of deadnettle flowers
  • 1 Liter of water (34 fl oz)
  • Gelling sugar according to the package
  • Juice of a lemon


  • heat water to about 40 ° C / 104 ° F and pour over the flowers
  • let steep for 24 hours, then pour through a sieve and catch in a pot
  • add the lemon juice, stir in the gelling sugar and bring to the boil
  • let it boil for a minute and then fill it up hot in screw jars

If you prefer an even healthier option, you can do something similar to this recipe for dandelion syrup without sugar.

flower of a purple deadnettle
flower of a purple deadnettle

Deadnettle as a medicinal herb

Deadnettles have a firm place in today’s herbal medicine and are suitable for various ailments. Preferred areas of application are the stomach and intestinal area, skin complaints and gout.

For healing purposes only the flowers of deadnettle are used. In the past, the white deadnettle was mainly given to women and girls and the red nettle was given to men. The yellow flowers of the rarer gold nettle were considered to be particularly curative.

In the Middle Ages, the dead nettle was attributed no special significance. It was considered a relative of stinging nettle and was used for the same ailments and diseases. These included lung complaints, colds, internal wounds and body aches.

At about the same time, the dead nettle was described as an excellent female herb and recommended in case of worm infestation. A so-called deadnettle water was given, which is to be soaked in a linen cloth, with which one should wash each morning and evening.

The white as well as the purple dead nettle are herbal remedies that are established in herbal medicine, which are especially recommended for catarrhs of the upper respiratory tract, menstrual cramps and various stomach and intestinal complaints. In most cases, the flowers are used for healing purposes, and sometimes the roots or the herb.

Deadnettle can be used for these ailments and diseases

  • asthma
  • badly healing wounds
  • bladder disease
  • boil
  • bronchitis
  • burns (slight)
  • cold
  • cough
  • eczema
  • fever
  • hemorrhoids
  • indigestion
  • insomnia
  • intestinal disorders
  • leukorrhea
  • menopausal symptoms
  • menstrual cramps
  • prostate swelling
  • stomach inflammation
  • varicose veins

Medicinal properties

  • antispasmodic
  • astringent
  • antibacterial
  • blood purifier
  • diuretic
  • expectorant
  • hemostatic
  • reassuring

Preparation of deadnettle tea

In case of gynecological problems, especially menstrual problems, vaginal itching and leukorrhea, as a sleep-promoting agent for the elderly and in case of bladder paralysis, a dead-nettle flower tea can help. In addition, it relieves gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, coughing and supports the heart and circulation.

In case of coughing, but also with phlegmy nasal cavities and bronchi, the inhalation of the tea has a cleansing effect.

Externally, the tea infusion helps with whitlow, burns and mild inflammation in the mouth.

Time needed: 10 minutes

This is how to prepare a deadnettle tea by yourself

  1. put two teaspoons of the flowers in a tea strainer in a cup

  2. dash with hot, not boiling water

  3. let steep for 5-10 minutes


Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Visiting this page can not replace the visit to the doctor. For serious or unclear complaints, consult your doctor.

Buy deadnettle – What to pay attention to?

Since the deadnettle is a common weed often found in nature, there are only a few dealers who offer appropriate products. The products available on the market are limited to deadnettle and its flowers, which are usually used to alleviate mild stomach and intestinal complaints, or specific varieties that are of interest to gardeners.

For a healing use the flowers are to give priority, because they simply contain significantly more effective ingredients, as the leaves or the herb.

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