Foraging 3 – dead nettles and dandelions

Today the garden gave me 2 common classics.  The purple dead nettle and the good ol’ Dandelion.  I also managed to find a huge clump of Wood Sage so gathered a bit more of that for the bottle.

Purple Dead Nettle

Purple Dead-nettle has long been used in folk medicine in Europe, Asia and Africa. There is evidence of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and free radical scavenging properties comparable to that of ascorbic acid. It can be used fresh or dried and made into a tea or tincture for allergic inflammation.

A natural source of flavonoids including quercetin Purple Dead-nettle can improve immune system performance while reducing sensitivity to allergens and inhibiting inflammation. The anti-allergy properties of flavonoids come from their ability to reduce the release of histamine.

Research has shown that L. purpureum is significantly anti-inflammatory with pain-reducing properties and works through inhibiting the release of prostaglandins, the principle mediator for inflammation in allergies and chronic inflammatory conditions. The whole plant has also been used to relieve pain in rheumatism and other arthritic ailments. A rich source of antibacterial essential oils Purple Dead-nettle has a wide range of antimicrobial activity and antifungal properties, which may be useful for staph, E. coli and candida. Reference

The Dandelion

Where to start with the dandelion?  So much to offer from a small common “weed”.

This gives a good illustration of this super-plant’s medicinal and nutritional benefits:

1. One of the most effective toxin removers (blood, lymph and liver cleanser)

2. Highly nutritious – Dandelion is a source of fibres and vitamins A, C, K, E, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins. It provides minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

3. Dandelion are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that help neutralize or prevent the negative effects of free radicals in your body. In addition, antioxidant capabilities can prevent aging and certain diseases.

4. Boosts immune system – Studies have found that dandelion extract has an antiviral and antimicrobial effect, thus, making it an antibacterial agent.

5. May fight against HIV – Studies have demonstrated that dandelion extract powerfully acts against HIV-1.

6. Promotes liver function and is an excellent liver cleanser – Animal studies have found that dandelion has a protective effect on liver tissue in the presence of toxic substances and stress. The results of the Studies have also indicated, that this plant may represent a promising approach for the prevention and treatment of obesity-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

7. May help fight inflammation – Inflammation is one of your body’s natural responses to illness. However, excessive inflammation can lead to permanent damage to your body’s tissues and DNA. Studies have revealed that dandelion can be an anti-inflammatory agent.

8. May help to treat anemia – Because of its high iron and zinc content, it is used to support the treatment of anemia.

9. Support the treatment of chronic ulcers, joint stiffness and tuberculosis –

10. May help to control blood sugar and type 2 diabetes – Chicoric and chlorogenic acid are two bioactive compounds in dandelion which may help reduce blood sugar.

11. Dandelion are used as a diuretic, for increasing the production of urine
12. May lower blood pressure – Dandelion may lower blood pressure due to their diuretic effect and potassium content.

13. May reduce cholesterol – Some of the bioactive compounds in this plant may lower cholesterol, which may decrease heart disease risk.

14. Relieves the body of excess heat

15. May help to lose weight – Some researchers theorize that dandelion’s ability to improve carbohydrate metabolism and reduce fat absorption may lead to weight loss. However, this notion needs further studies.

16. Kills cancer cells – Other test-tube studies have shown that dandelion root extract has the capacity to dramatically slow the growth of cancer cells in liver, colon and pancreatic tissue.

17. Supports bile secretion, healthy digestion and fights constipation – One animal study revealed a significant increase in the rates of stomach contractions and emptying of stomach contents into the small intestine in rats who were treated with dandelion extract.

18. May be a useful skincare treatment – Animal and test-tube research indicate that dandelion may protect against skin damage from sunlight, aging and acne.

19. May support healthy bones – In addition, the green parts of this plant are a good source of calcium and vitamin K — both of which are associated with the prevention of bone loss.



I removed the root from the dandelion leaves and cleaned both gently with water.  The purple dead nettle was pretty clean being an above ground head and so I just gave each leave a bit of a brush off gently with a piece of kitchen towel.  I put everything into the dehydrator but at different lengths of time and different temperatures.  The leaves and root were in at 70 degrees.  The leaves for around 3 hours and the root for approx 5 hours.  The little purple dead nettle flowers were in at 35 degrees for 2 hours.

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