Henbit and Purple Deadnettle—The Mischievous Twins

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This article is the second in a series on weed gardens and identifying and using the plants you’ll often find there. For other articles in the series, please click here.

How long does it take for weeds to invade a garden? Not long. But in a weed garden, that’s a good thing!

Checking back in on the weed garden, we find that it’s mostly still a patch of bare soil.

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

But upon closer inspection, we can see several guests starting to invite themselves in. It’s a bit too early to tell what they are at this stage, though I expect the larger leaves to be pokeweed.

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

Plant Identification

While we’re waiting on the weeds to properly introduce themselves, let’s take a look at two weeds that have probably welcomed themselves into your gardens: purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) and henbit (Lamium amplexicaule). The name deadnettle comes from the fact that the plant resembles a nettle, but does not sting. Thus, it is a dead nettle. The name “henbit” comes from farmers watching hens eat it.

These two jokers love confusing people. Like a pair of mischievous twins, they’re often mistaken for one another. I’ll help you put an end to those shenanigans by showing you what they have in common and how they’re different.

Purple deadnettle and henbit are both members of the mint family, with the characteristic square stems and opposite leaves.

Aromatically, they aren’t very well-behaved mints, having no distinct minty smell. They do have an interesting earthy scent, however, that reminds me of Easter Sundays as a child. Your nostalgia may vary. Both also have small, pink-to-purple, tubular blossoms with two lips on the bottom outside edge.


Being mints, they naturally want to take over the world, but they’re hoping we won’t notice because they’re fairly low to the ground and have such pretty little blossoms. You can find them all throughout the U.S., as far north as Greenland, and through their native home of Eurasia.

They love cool, spring weather and rain. If you have that, there’s a good chance you have henbit and deadnettle.

Both plants love rich, moist soil … and people, too. They’ve long followed humans around with the intent of moving into any soil we happen to disturb.

Purple deadnettle has triangular leaves with petioles (leaf stems). It has a fuzzier texture than henbit, and the entire top of the plant tends to be shaded purple. Henbit has scalloped, heart-shaped leaves with no petiole, and it’s not noticeably hairy.

Weed Garden Henbit Deadnettle

Toxic Look-alikes

They have no toxic look-alikes, though ground ivy (edible in moderation) is fairly similar. Ground ivy differs from our plants by having larger flowers and by rooting at nodes along the stem.

Culinary Uses

All aboveground parts of purple deadnettle and henbit are edible raw or cooked. The best-tasting bits are the blossoms, which are tender and sweet. I’m not a huge fan of either plant raw, but I love them chopped fine on weed pizzas or mixed in with a stir-fry. They’ll also mix well with a salad, and I’ve snuck them into stews a few times.

Henbit has the superior texture and taste, in my opinion. Both henbit and purple deadnettle are good sources of iron, vitamins, and fiber. 1)http://www.eattheweeds.com/henbit-top-of-the-pecking-order/

As a sidenote, stews are great for introducing people to eating weeds, or for hiding a plant that you’re still trying to build an appreciation for. The weeds in question just disappear into the mix and become part of a happy fellowship.

Medicinal Uses

Medicinally, these weedy relatives have a fair bit of overlap, though purple deadnettle is better known and more widely researched. I’ll be focusing on purple deadnettle here, both to avoid any confusion, and because I have more practical experience with it as a medicinal plant.

Lab tests have confirmed that purple deadnettle has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, comparable to Vitamin C.2)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292812877_Antimicrobial_and_Free_Radical_Scavenging_Activities_of_Some_Lamium_Species_from_Turkey3)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037887410800189X

This helps to validate its traditional use as an arthritis herb.

Purple deadnettle can also be used to stop external bleeding and has been shown to have moderate antimicrobial properties.4)http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/l/lamium-purpureum=red-dead-nettle.php5)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292812877_Antimicrobial_and_Free_Radical_Scavenging_Activities_of_Some_Lamium_Species_from_Turkey

Chew up the fresh leaves and make a spit poultice, as you would with yarrow. I assume this would work with dried leaves as well, though I’ve never done it that way. I’ve always had yarrow at hand.

Read More: “Drying Herbs the Easy Way”

A decoction of deadnettle is also said to be effective for any type of bleeding (internal or external)6)http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/l/lamium-purpureum=red-dead-nettle.php

I’m more familiar with yarrow in this regard, but for people allergic to plants in the Aster family (which includes yarrow), purple deadnettle could be a good alternative plant to try. (But, as with all edible wild plants that you’re trying for the first time, remember to start slowly, in case you have an unexpected sensitivity to it.)

One of the more interesting properties of purple deadnettle is its ability to ease allergy symptoms. This might be linked to its anti-inflammatory properties, or perhaps to its flavonoid constituents. Whatever the reason, it really seems to work.

I don’t have much trouble with allergies myself, but I’ve given dried deadnettle to other people. I’ve got a “plant buddy” (client) using it right now. She tells me that when she drinks a cup of deadnettle tea (1 heaping teaspoon with 1 cup of water) before bed, she wakes up with clear sinuses and no drainage. But on the days that she forgets, she’s wakes up stuffy and coughing. And if she goes ahead and makes a cup, she’ll dry right up. If you want to try it, I recommend adding a little cream and sweetener.

So go gather up some henbit and purple deadnettle, and put these powerful spring weeds to work for you before the weather gets hot and they disappear again!

Do you use either of these plants for something I didn’t mention? Do you have any good deadnettle or henbit recipes you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below.


Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.


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The post Henbit and Purple Deadnettle—The Mischievous Twins appeared first on The Grow Network.

8 Healing Uses For Mullein (The Native American ‘Survival Weed’)

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8 Healing Uses For Mullein (The Native American ‘Survival Weed’)

Image source: Pixabay.com

It was native to Europe, northern Africa and Asia, and then was introduced to the Americas and Australia. You might know it by some of its other common names, such as feltwort, blanket leaf, candlewick and velvet dock.

It is Mullein, a common backyard weed the Native Americans used. And it has surprising medicinal properties.

Identifying Mullein

Mullein can grow, when left alone, up to seven feet tall, with large leaves covered in silver and felt-like hairs. Once blossomed, the flowers are yellow and take up half of the stem. The plant flowers from November to March. Most people consider it a nuisance, but there is so much more to the plant!

Medicinal Purposes of Mullein

For a plant that typically shows up in dry, barren places, mullein has impressive medicinal properties. You can use most of the plant, including the root. The leaves and flowers are the most common parts used. Infused oils, tinctures, capsules, lozenges, herbal teas and poultices are all common application methods for mullein.

Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

For centuries, people used mullein in herbal remedies, such as to soothe the respiratory tract. But it can do so much more.

1. Flu. Preliminary research shows that mullein has properties to fight flu-causing viruses. Of course, the flu can be dangerous, so seek medical help if you experience worsening symptoms.

8 Healing Uses For Mullein (The Native American ‘Survival Weed’)

Image source: Pixabay.com

2. Pain. Mullein has analgesic properties that have a numbing effect on your nerves. It is a great choice to stop transmitting pain to the brain. Toothaches and headaches can be relieved with mullein.

3. Inflammation. One of the main benefits of mullein is its anti-inflammatory properties. You can use it to treat nasal or respiratory tract inflammation, inflammation of the digestive system, and inflammation caused by fever or infection. If you experience a burn, try to apply mullein oil directly to the burn or inflamed skin.

4. Ear infections. Do you or your children experience chronic ear infections? Mullein oil can reduce ear pain significantly; make an infused oil, which taps into the antibacterial properties.

5. Coughs. If you have a cold or upper respiratory infection that causes excess secretions of phlegm, then mullein is an excellent expectorant. You can make lozenges that contain mullein or find them in your local health food store. Some Native American tribes believed mullein could cure chest diseases. For example, the Navajos would mix mullein with tobacco and smoke it to help with coughing spasms. I wouldn’t recommend that, but many people still use mullein in an herbal tea for coughing.

6. Relax/sleep aid. Mullein has a relaxing effort on your brain and other bodily systems. You can use it to treat muscle cramps, nervous disorders, stress, anxiety and more. Because of its relaxant properties, mullein also reduces blood pressure. Many people use mullein to help with chronic insomnia. If you need a good night’s rest, then try drinking a warm cup of mullein tea.

7. Hemorrhoids. No one likes hemorrhoids. A poultice created with mullein leaves can be applied to hemorrhoids to help stop the swelling and irritation.

8. Respiratory issues. In general, one of the most common applications of mullein is for respiratory issues. Asthma, bronchitis and allergies can be treated with mullein tea. It also is effective against sore throats, as well as the other listed issues such as coughing and spasms.

Have you ever used mullein for any herbal remedies? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Cholesterol-Lowering ‘Weed’ Hidden In Your Yard

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The Cholesterol-Lowering ‘Weed’ Hidden In Your Yard

Image source: Pixabay.com

It grows everywhere, and it’s persistent in its growing. But many homeowners rip the plant out of their gardens, yards and walkways without a second thought.

It is purslane. You may not even know its name, yet you certainly have seen it growing.

This little weed, though, actually is a beneficial herb. It is native to Asia, popular in the Mediterranean, and is a typical hot-weather herb. It does not like frost, and will not grow until the soil is warm, usually in May. It is drought-resistant, probably because it retains water in its tube-like stems.

When examining the leaves of purslane, you will notice they are fleshy and green, with red stems and bright yellow flowers. The leaves are thick and smooth, with a paddle shape, and are about one and a half to two inches long.

Purslane is remarkably high in omega-3 fatty acids – which can help lower bad cholesterol — and contains more of it than any other leafy green. It also has calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Additionally, it is high in vitamins A and C and pectin, the latter of which can lower bad cholesterol, too.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

Not bad for something you usually yank out of the garden!

Planting Your Own Purslane

If you don’t have purslane in your yard, you can grow it. You will have to find it first! In its wild state, purslane grows in a flat, circular, horizontal position of up to 16 inches across. You also can simply buy seeds from a garden center.

If you are harvesting wild purslane, stay away from plants growing by the road or where chemicals have been sprayed. You will want to find the most organic and healthy plants possible.

When you find a plant, you can collect some seeds. If you would rather deal with seedlings, then cut a couple of stems. Sowing the seeds is quite easy. Simply scatter the seeds over the prepared soil. You don’t need to cover them; let them sit on the surface, as they need sunlight to germinate. If it makes you feel better, spread a thin layer of soil over the seeds.

The Cholesterol-Lowering ‘Weed’ Hidden In Your Yard

Image source: Pixabay.com

Purslane cuttings can be laid on the soil, after which you can water the stems. They should take root after a few days. It is a care-free plant once it starts growing.

Purslane is an annual and takes four to six weeks to fully mature. It usually reseed itself, but you can gather seeds just to be safe. It likes partly sunny, to full sun areas.

The soil type doesn’t seem to matter too much to this plant, but the ground needs to be clear and recently turned. Purslane likes the combination of moisture and heat, and it does well during wet summers.

Harvest it regularly or it can become invasive in your garden. (Harvest before it flowers to control its spreading.)

Using Purslane

It has a crunchy and lemon or citrus-like taste. The last inch or two of the plant is the most delicious, so when you gather it to eat, make sure you get the whole plant — the stems and the leaves. If you are trying to thin out a patch, simply pull it out by the roots. Keep it cool until you can wash and trim it.

Purslane goes well in salads and can be used as garnishes or in sandwiches (preferably by using the tender, young leaves).

You can use it to substitute for spinach or watercress, as well as to thicken stews or soups.

Make your own pesto by combining these ingredients:

  • Purslane, with stems and all.
  • Olive oil.
  • Garlic.
  • Pine nuts.
  • Hot watercress.

Blend thoroughly.

Whether you want to call purslane a weed or an herb, there is no denying the healthy benefits of this often-overlooked plant.

Do you eat purslane? What advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:

25 Reasons To Go and Pick Dandelions Right Now

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25 Reasons To Go & Pick Dandelions Right Now Dandelion, officially classed as a weed, is also a fantastically useful herbal remedy that contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion can treat infections, bile and liver problems and acts as a diuretic – which is probably where the popular myth that dandelion causes …

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Company Takes Tiny Town’s Water, Tells It To Go ‘Look For Another Source’

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Company Takes Tiny Town’s Water, Tells It To Go ‘Look For Another Source’

Image source: Wikimedia


WEED, California — A timber company is planning to take a drought-stricken small town’s water supply and sell it to a bottling company.

Roseburg Forest Products wants the town, Weed, California, to find another source of water so that the company can make a bigger profit. For 50 years, the town paid $1 a year for water from the spring the company owns.

“The corporate mentality is that they can make more money selling this water to Japan,” Weed City Council member Bob Hall told The New York Times. “We were hooked at the hip with this company for years. Now, they are taking advantage of people who can’t defend themselves.”

Weed’s water source, Beaughan Spring, is located on land owned by Roseburg Forest Products. Roseburg has decided not to renew the agreement that gives Weed access to the spring.

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“The city needs to actively look for another source of water,” said Ellen Porter, Roseburg’s director of environmental affairs. “Roseburg is not in a position to guarantee the availability of that water for a long period of time.”

Water is Money

Roseburg sells the water to Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring, which has a bottling company in Weed, the newspaper reported. Crystal Geyser then ships the bottles elsewhere, including to Japan.

Company Takes Tiny Town’s Water, Tells It To Go ‘Look For Another Source’

Image source: Wikimedia

Crystal Geyser wants to increase its output.

In July, Roseburg began charging Weed’s city government $97,500 a year for water. The new contract says the town must find a new water source, The Times reported.

Pierre Papillaud, which owns the company that owns Crystal Geyser, actually came to Weed and threatened city officials, Mayor Ken Palfini alleged.

“He said if he didn’t get his way, he was going to blow up the bottling plant,” Palfini said. “He said that twice.”

Papillaud was so abusive that his son, Ronan, came to Weed and apologized for his father’s behavior.

David vs. Goliath

If Roseburg shuts Weed off from the spring, the town would have to pay $2 million to drill a well.

The situation could end up in court in a David-vs.-Goliath type of battle. Weed only has around 2,700 people.

“They are just corporations,” Palfini said of companies like Roseburg. “They are not your friend.”

Weed is not the only town to battle a company for water. As Off The Grid News recently reported, Nestle outbid the township of Centre Wellington, Ontario, for a well. Nestle plans to bottle that water and sell it.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

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The 3-Ingredient Natural Herbicide That Will Kill ANYTHING

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Image source: Pixabay

Image source: Pixabay


I have a certain detest for poison ivy. Years of attempting to “work it out” with this plant have only left me feeling itchy and ill at ease whenever I see a plant with three leaves. So imagine to my chagrin when I came across a three-leafed plant on my property with all the nasty characteristics of poison ivy! Well, it had to go.

In my own garden and on my own property, I tend to shy away from chemicals due to my own hesitance to introduce something like this to the place that delivers my drinking water (well water).

I wanted to use a spray so as to avoid getting close to it and having any accidental contact with this dastardly plant.

Here is what I used:

  • 1 gallon of white vinegar
  • 2 cups salt
  • 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid

The basic recipe is to mix the vinegar with the salt. Then, put this mixture into a pump sprayer and add a couple tablespoons of dishwashing liquid.

The 3-Ingredient Natural Herbicide That Will Kill ANYTHING

Image source: Pixabay

Find the offending plants you want to remove from existence and spray away. It is best to do this on a bright sunny day when there is little chance of rain. You may need to apply this several times in order to get the full effect of an all-natural herbicide, but it really does work. A word of warning, though: Only plan to use this method if you do not intend on having any plants in this area for the foreseeable future.

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The reason I picked these three ingredients is for their potential to do just what I want them to do. The soap will help whatever spray you are applying to adhere to the plants. The vinegar will kill all living material above ground, but won’t do anything to the material below the surface. The salt will penetrate the soil and will raise the salinity too high for it to support plant life.

If you want to kill off a ground cover while leaving the soil able to grow life, then just leave the salt out.

I have only used this mixture on the poison ivy I have on my property, although I do intend on using it on a larger scale around my driveway and in the other areas where I want to limit the growth of weeds and other plant matter.

Some claim that a mixture of vinegar and dishwashing liquid is a good way to remove weeds from a garden bed prior to working with the soil. The great draw is that it will kill all the offending material without harming the soil itself. I am personally a fan of weed-retardant paper when it comes to gardening, although I would be willing to try this mixture in a small quantity on a new space next year.

If you are like me and consider poison ivy (or any other plant) to be among your enemies, then consider eradicating it with these household ingredients. They are easy to get and readily affordable.

What all-natural herbicide have you used? Share your tips in the section below:

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Scientists Just Discovered A Cancer-Fighting Agent … In A Common Backyard Weed

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Scientists Just Discovered A Cancer-Fighting Agent … In A Common Backyard Weed

A weed that you probably pull out of your garden might contain a potent cancer-fighting agent.

Scientists in Ontario have discovered that tea made from dandelion roots potentially can combat cancer.

“We scientifically validated that dandelion root extract has very potent anti-cancer activity,” Dr. Siryaram Pandey, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Windsor, told the CBC.

University researchers have partnered with AOR Inc. – a natural health company – to develop a dandelion root tea that is being used in a clinical trial approved by Health Canada (the Canadian health ministry), CBC reported. The test will involve 6,000 doses of the tea and 30 patients with blood cancers, like leukemia and lymphoma, that failed to respond to traditional treatments.

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Dr. Caroline Hamm, an oncologist, told the CBC she has seen the condition of some cancer patients improve after they drank dandelion tea from health food stores.

“Most of the responses that I have seen are very short, but there’s a signal there that I think is worthwhile of further investigation,” Hamm said.

The dandelion root powder is six to 10 times more powerful that what can be purchased off the shelf, and is freeze dried, the CBC said. It is then mixed with water and drunk.

“We’ve gone through many trials to find what does work and what doesn’t work,” AOR research associate Rachel Jacyszyn said. “We finally found something that does work.”

Said George Templeton, director of operations at AOR, “Dandelion has been used medicinally for centuries. In the last couple decades it’s been started to be used for cancer treatments, mostly just through patients self-medicating.”

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The Delicious Edible Weed That Doesn’t Get Bitter, Is Packed With Vitamins, And Grows EVERYWHERE

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The Edible Weed That Doesn’t Get Bitter, Is Packed With Vitamins, And Grows EVERYWHERE

Image source: Pixabay.com


We tend to take weeds for granted. We spray them, pull them out and either compost them or simply toss them in a field. Unfortunately, we’re often tossing away nature’s bounty.

We’ll pay a premium for spinach or kale but lose sight of the fact that many plants like dandelions, plantain and purslane have equal nutritional value.

In fact, purslane not only equals the nutritional value of spinach and kale, but it also has a semi-sweet, salty and succulent flavor. Dandelion leaves and plantain leaves can acquire a bit of bitterness once they begin to flower or go to seed. Purslane is different.

That’s because purslane is a succulent plant. It is related to the cactus and absorbs water, which gives it a refreshing taste and flavor. Unlike the cactus it has no needles and when chilled makes a great addition to a tossed, green salad and will stand up to the boil of a soup or broth.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

Purslane is high in omega-3 fatty acids and contains vitamins A, B, and C, and magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. It’s also an excellent source of fiber.

Here are the official nutrition facts on a serving of purslane:


Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 16 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 3.4 g 3%
Protein 1.30 g 2%
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Folates 12 µg 3%
Niacin 0.480 mg 3%
Pantothenic acid 0.036 mg 1%
Pyridoxine 0.073 mg 5.5%
Riboflavin 0.112 mg 8.5%
Thiamin 0.047 mg 4%
Vitamin A 1320 IU 44%
Vitamin C 21 mg 35%
Sodium 45 mg 3%
Potassium 494 mg 10.5%
Calcium 65 mg 6.5%
Copper 0.113 mg 12.5%
Iron 1.99 mg 25%
Magnesium 68 mg 17%
Manganese 0.303 mg 13%
Phosphorus 44 mg 6%
Selenium 0.9 µg 2%
Zinc 0.17 mg 1.5%


Both the leaves and stems are edible, which also sets it apart from other “wild” weeds. I’ve even incorporated purslane leaves into deli salads like potato salad, egg salad and tuna salad to give a burst of freshness and flavor. You also can eat purslane on its own. It has a burst of flavor when chilled.

The Edible Weed That Doesn’t Get Bitter, Is Packed With Vitamins, And Grows EVERYWHERE

Image source: Wikipedia

Purslane grows close to the ground and needs to be washed and rinsed a couple of times. As a low-growing plant it tends to pick up a lot of dirt, dust and those ever-present bugs. Once you’ve washed and rinsed your purslane harvest, you can easily store it in the crisper in your refrigerator. It keeps fairly well in a plastic bag or tied into a bunch with a rubber band.

If you’ve never tried purslane, here are a few easy ways to enjoy it and some ideas about how to add it to many of the things you eat.

Purslane Salad

I usually toss a cup of chopped purslane into a chopped green salad and top it with an apple-cider vinaigrette of a ½-cup of oil, a cup of apple-cider vinegar and a tablespoon of water with about a half-teaspoon of salt and a half-teaspoon of pepper. You also can eat the purslane salad on its own if you can harvest enough of it.

Purslane Soup

Bring 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil and add a cup of noodles and when the noodles are done add a cup of chopped purslane leaves and stems for 2 minutes.

Bacon Fried Purslane

Fry 6 strips of bacon until crisp and then drain on paper towels. In the reserved drippings toss chopped purslane leaves and stems. Chop the bacon and top the purslane with the bacon bits.

Growing Purslane

Growing purslane is surprisingly easy. The seeds are simply cast on the top of dry soil, and they germinate quickly. Purslane cuttings of the stems also will develop roots when watered. It’s a tough plant and grows in the worst conditions, which is why it’s considered to be a weed by so many gardeners. But once you get to know purslane, your view of it surely will change.

What advice would you add on eating purslane? Share your tips in the section below:

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Clover: The ‘Annoying’ Little Weed That Is Edible, Tasty, And Nutritious, Too

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Clover: The ‘Annoying’ Little Weed That Is Edible, Tasty, And Nutritious, Too

Image source: Pixabay.com

Clover is a hardy perennial that has escaped cultivation and grows wild along roadsides and in fields, pastures and gardens across North America. The tough little plant gets short shrift these days, and many gardeners consider it nothing but a weedy nuisance that pops up where it isn’t wanted — like in beautifully manicured lawns.

But if you’re tempted to pull (or worse yet – spray) this plant, consider that every part of clover is edible.

Clover: The ‘Annoying’ Little Weed That Is Edible, Tasty, And Nutritious, Too

Image source: Pixabay.com

Native Americans ate clover raw, or steamed large quantities of fresh, moist leaves between two hot stones. The roots, when dried, were dipped in meat drippings or oil. The dried seed pods and flowers were ground into powder and sprinkled on food or used to make bread.

There are several dozen species of clover with charming names like sweet kitty clover, meadow honeysuckle clove, peavine clover and cowgrass clover. But white clover (Trifolium repens) and red clover (Trifolium pratense) are most familiar. Both are edible and packed with beta-carotene, protein and a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Clover is easily recognized by its sweetly scented little blooms and three-lobed leaves. Although clover is sometimes confused with wood sorrel, it’s quite easy to tell which is which. Clover leaves are oval in shape, while wood sorrel leaves look like little hearts. Additionally, clover leaves are marked on top with distinctive, whitish-crescent shapes, and if you look closely at a clover leaf, you’ll notice that the edges are slightly serrated.

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Red clover, which is believed to be slightly more nutritious than white clover, is a robust plant that can reach a height of 24 inches. It has a taproot. White clover is a smaller plant that spreads by rhizomes.

Adventures With Clover

There are no particular tricks when it comes to integrating clover into your diet. The key is to keep it simple. For example, eat the blooms and leaves raw or dip them in a little salty water. You also can toss a few leaves or blooms into salads, soup or stir fries. Many people claim that clover (a member of the pea family) is more flavorful and easier to digest after it’s been boiled for five or 10 minutes, but you may have your own ideas. If you’re looking for a nudge to get you started with edible clover, here are a few easy ideas:

Clover: The ‘Annoying’ Little Weed That Is Edible, Tasty, And Nutritious, Too

Image source: Pixabay.com

Clover tea is nutritious, comforting and is believed to be a blood purifier that helps the body eliminate waste materials. Gather flowers when they’re in full bloom, then dry them in a warm, airy spot away from direct sunlight. When the blooms are brittle, chop them loosely and store them in sealed glass containers. Place a teaspoon or two of dried blooms in a cup and add boiling water. Let the tea steep for a few minutes and strain out the blooms. If the flavor is a bit too “green” for your liking, stir in a drop of peppermint or spearmint oil or stir the tea with a cinnamon stick.

Arrange a handful of clover greens on a grilled cheese or turkey sandwich along with sliced tomatoes, lettuce or accoutrements of your choice. The younger the greens, the less bitter they will be.

Stir washed clover blossoms into fritter batter, and then deep fat fry until crispy.

Sprinkle the tender leaves and blooms on green salads, or as a garnish to add flavor and color to your favorite meat or fish.

Saute clover leaves and blooms in olive oil, and then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Mix a small amount of clover blossoms into cake mix or other baked goods. The blooms are reported to add a slightly vanilla-like flavor.

Be adventurous with clover. The culinary possibilities of this tasty little plant are nearly endless.

Have you eaten clover? What advice would you add? Share your clover tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Stinging Nettles: The Edible Weed That Tastes Like Spinach, Is Healthier Than Broccoli, And Is Easily Tamed

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Stinging Nettles: The Edible Weed That Tastes Like Spinach, Is Healthier Than Broccoli, And Is Easily Tamed

Image source: Pixabay.com


From Russia across Europe to the United Kingdom, stinging nettles are enjoyed in soups, stews and as an ingredient in everything from pasta to pesto. The nettles also make an excellent tea, but regardless of the recipe you need to apply a bit of caution and common sense when harvesting and preparing stinging nettles.

Of course, stinging nettles also are found in yards and fields throughout the United States and North America.

It’s hard for many people in North America to understand the popularity of stinging nettles in Europe. There are a few good reasons why Europeans consider them a regular part of their diet:

  • Stinging nettles can be harvested in early spring, long before other green, leafy vegetables show up.
  • They grow like weeds and grow just about anywhere, making them easy to find, and they’re free.
  • They are commonly found in grocery stores and markets in Europe, but rarely if ever in grocery stores in the US.
  • They are a long-established part of European culinary traditions and culture.

Here’s the point: Don’t be put off by the name. They can be incorporated easily into many recipes if handled and prepared properly.

Once the leaves of a stinging nettle have been exposed to hot liquid for a couple of minutes or finely chopped in a food processor, the needles and stinging chemicals are neutralized and they’re safe to eat. They are often used as a substitute for spinach, and, in fact, have a taste similar to spinach with cucumber flavor notes. There are numerous vitamins in them, from vitamin A to vitamin C to vitamin K. (In fact, they have more vitamin A, fiber, iron, calcium and magnesium than broccoli – although broccoli does have more vitamin C). Nettles have a surprising 25 percent protein content, and they’re known to be a natural blood thinner and diuretic. They’re also high in iron and have a similar nutritional profile to other green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach.

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Stinging Nettles: The Edible Weed That Tastes Like Spinach, Is Healthier Than Broccoli, And Is Easily Tamed

Image source: Pixabay.com

So, what makes a stinging nettle sting? The leaves, leaf buds and parts of the stem on a stinging nettle are lined with small, hollow filaments that contain a variety of chemical compounds, including formic acid. When the filaments come in contact with the skin, they break off like tiny needles and cause a stinging, burning sensation. That’s why the standard recommendation of harvesting include gloves, long sleeves and pants. Scissors are usually used to trim the leaves and leaf buds from the plant, and they are typically collected in plastic bags.

Recognizing Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettles have a unique, heart-shaped leaf with serrations along the leaf edge. They are typically a deep green and are often harvested in the spring and early summer. Once they flower, they develop some hard deposits that some believe will irritate the urinary tract. If in doubt about a plant, you can always run your finger along a leaf from the tip to leaf stem. If it stings, you’ve found a stinging nettle. Hopefully you only have to do this once or twice as you familiarize yourself with the plant.

Cures for a Sting

It’s inevitable that you’ll get stung if you regularly collect stinging nettles. Common remedies include the external application of apple cider vinegar, a paste of baking soda and water, over-the-counter sprays like Bactine or Solarcaine, aloe vera, ice cubes and cold water.

Initial Prep for Stinging Nettles

Most recipes for stinging nettles recommend an initial preparation step that involves immersing the nettle leaves in lightly boiling water, broth or sautéed in butter or oil for at least 2 minutes up to 5 minutes.  The leaves are then squeezed dry for addition to some recipes, or left in the broth for a soup or stew.  Some people simply add the raw nettles to a food processor but I prefer blanching them for at least 2 minutes before any food-processor step.

Countless recipes for stinging nettles can be found on the Internet, and we’ll feature some of them here, but a basic rule of thumb is that any green, leafy vegetable or herb can be substituted with the leaves of the stinging nettle. Examples include replacement of basil with stinging nettles leaves in a pesto, or any recipe that calls for collard greens, kale, spinach, mustard greens and others. You can even make a green pasta with a processed paste of nettles leaves and flour. What’s important is to precede any usage of nettles with the initial preparation step in gently boiling water or hot oil.

Nettle Pesto


  • 1 cup of blanched nettle leaves
  • ½ cup of nuts (pine nuts or your choice or mixed nuts)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ¾ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup of olive oil


Stinging Nettles: The Edible Weed That Tastes Like Spinach, Is Healthier Than Broccoli, And Is Easily Tamed

Image source: Pixabay.com

Add all of the ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor and pulse until the nettles are a smooth paste. Drizzle the olive oil into the processor while it’s running. You can add more oil to the consistency you like. Use to top pasta or any other dish that calls for pesto.

Nettle Soup with Noodles

(Makes four one cup servings)


  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 carrots sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 cups of fresh, raw nettles
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of rotini or other spoon-sized noodles


Sauté the onion and carrots in a saucepan in the olive oil for about three minutes or until the onions are translucent. In a separate sauce pan, bring water to a boil and cook the noodles. Deglaze the carrots and onions in the other pan with the chicken broth and bring to a gentle boil. Add the fresh nettle leaves and simmer for four minutes. Strain the noodles and add to the soup broth. Serve with crusty bread.

Nettle Greens with Bacon

(Serves 4)


  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 4 cups of water
  • 6 cups of fresh nettle leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Fry the bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon drippings in the frying pan. While frying the bacon, bring four cups of water to a boil and add the nettle leaves and cook at a gentle boil for four to six minutes. Drain the leaves and try to press out some of the moisture and toss in the warm bacon drippings. Serve on a platter and sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top.

If you’ve never tried stinging nettles before, this may be the year to give them a try.

Do you eat stinging nettles? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Stop Bleeding Fast With This Weed

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This article first appeared at The Prepper Project I was out in the yard one beautiful May afternoon when I made an exciting discovery. It was a tall, scraggly plant towering a good foot and a half above the other weeds scattering our overgrown yard. I crouched down to get a closer look and immediately … Continue reading Stop Bleeding Fast With This Weed