purple dead nettle tincture

Purple Dead Nettle Tincture with Fresh or Dried Herb

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Today, I’ll guide you through making a purple dead nettle tincture using both fresh and dried herbs, following the folk tradition. 

As an herbalist, I find a deep sense of fulfillment in embracing the traditional, time-honored folk method of making tinctures. In today’s fast-paced world, we often chase after precision and efficiency, but when it comes to the gentle healing powers of plants, I’m drawn back to the simplicity and deep connection of the old ways.

The folk method of creating tinctures is a perfect reflection of this. It moves away from strict measurements and formulas, inviting us instead to engage with the plant on a more intuitive level – to notice its color, scent, and texture as it gradually infuses its essence into the alcohol. It’s about feeling and intuition, sensing when the tincture has reached its peak in vibrancy and strength.

This process of maceration, of gently extracting the plant’s vital energies, is incredibly grounding for me. It’s a call to slow down, to trust in the wisdom of nature, and to respect the ancient traditions handed down through generations of herbalists and healers.

And what better way to delve into this method than with the often underestimated purple dead nettle? This modest herb, frequently dismissed as just another weed, holds its own secrets and strengths. 

purple dead nettle - purple dead nettle tincture

What is Purple Dead Nettle?

Botanical Name and Classification: Purple Dead Nettle, known scientifically as Lamium purpureum, belongs to the Lamiaceae family, which also includes many familiar herbs like mint and basil. Despite its name, it’s not a true nettle.

Identifying Purple Dead Nettle:

  • Leaves: Look for heart-shaped leaves that grow in opposite pairs along the square stem (a classic trait of the mint family). The leaves at the top of the plant are often tinged with a beautiful purple hue, which fades to a deeper green as you move down the stem.
  • Flowers: Tiny, tubular flowers adorn the top of the plant, nestled snugly among the upper leaves. These flowers are usually a soft pink or purple color, adding to the plant’s delicate charm.
  • Height: Purple Dead Nettle is a low-growing plant, usually reaching only about 5 to 20 cm tall. It’s often found in clusters, forming a lovely purple carpet in early spring.
  • Habitat: This plant isn’t picky about where it grows. You’ll find it in gardens, along hedgerows, in fields, and even in urban areas. It prefers disturbed soils, so look for it in areas that have been recently tilled or cleared.

Potential Benefits of Purple Dead Nettle Tincture

Purple dead nettle tincture is appreciated in traditional herbal practices for various potential benefits:

  • Traditional Use for Inflammation: Purple dead nettle has been used in folk medicine for its potential to help soothe conditions like muscle aches and minor inflammatory issues.
  • Seasonal Support: Some herbalists recommend purple dead nettle for managing seasonal discomforts, suggesting it may have properties that support natural relief from symptoms such as sneezing and nasal congestion.
  • Nutritional Support: Rich in natural compounds like antioxidants and vitamins, purple dead nettle is believed to provide gentle support for overall wellness, particularly during seasonal transitions.
  • Topical Applications: When applied topically, purple dead nettle tincture is traditionally used to support skin health, aiding in the care of minor cuts, wounds, and irritations.
  • Digestive Tradition: In folk practices, purple dead nettle has been used to support digestive health, helping to soothe occasional stomach discomfort and promote overall digestive wellness.
  • Women’s Health Tradition: Some herbalists use purple dead nettle in support of women’s health, particularly for its potential role in promoting menstrual comfort and regularity.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or a clinical herbalist before incorporating new herbal remedies into your routine, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking medications.

purple dead nettle tincture
purple dead nettle tincture

Fresh Purple Dead Nettle Tincture

  1. Harvesting: Begin by gently harvesting the Purple Dead Nettle from your garden or a wild area where you know the plants are free from pesticides and pollutants. The best time to harvest is on a dry day, after the morning dew has evaporated but before the midday sun.
  2. Preparation: Rinse the harvested nettles lightly to remove any dirt or little critters. Pat them dry with a clean towel or let them air dry for a short while.
  3. Chopping: Coarsely chop the fresh Purple Dead Nettle to increase the surface area that will be exposed to the vodka, which helps in extracting the plant’s properties more effectively.
  4. Filling the Jar: Fill a clean, dry jar about ⅔ to ¾ full with the chopped Purple Dead Nettle. There’s no need to pack it down; just let it sit loosely.
  5. Adding Vodka: Pour high-proof vodka (at least 80 proof, but 100 proof is ideal for fresh plant material due to its water content) over the nettles, completely covering them. The vodka should come to at least an inch above the plant material. This high alcohol content ensures preservation and effective extraction.
  6. Sealing and Labeling: Seal the jar tightly with a lid. Label it with the name of the plant, the part used, the type of alcohol, and the date.
  7. Infusing: Let the jar sit in a cool, dark place for about 4-6 weeks. Shake the jar gently every few days to mix the contents.
  8. Straining: After the infusion period, strain the tincture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into another clean jar or bottles. Squeeze or press the plant material to extract as much liquid as possible.
  9. Storing: Label the strained tincture with the plant name and date, and store it in a cool, dark place. It should last for several years.
purple dead nettle tincture

Dried Purple Dead Nettle Tincture

  1. Preparation: Start with high-quality dried Purple Dead Nettle. Ensure it’s been stored properly and is free from any signs of mold or decay.
  2. Filling the Jar: Fill a clean, dry jar about ½ full with the dried Purple Dead Nettle. Dried plant material will expand as it absorbs the alcohol, so leave enough room for this expansion.
  3. Adding Vodka: Pour 80-100 proof vodka over the dried nettles, ensuring the plant material is completely covered by an inch or more of alcohol. The lower water content in dried plants means you can use 80 proof vodka effectively, but 100 proof is still preferable for a stronger tincture.
  4. Sealing and Labeling: Secure the lid on the jar and label it with the plant’s name, the part used, the type of alcohol, and the date.
  5. Infusing: Place the jar in a cool, dark location for 4-6 weeks, shaking it gently every few days to encourage extraction.
  6. Straining: Strain the tincture as described above, pressing the plant material to extract the liquid.
  7. Storing: Transfer the strained tincture to labeled bottles and store in a cool, dark place.
purple dead nettle - purple dead nettle tea

Using Purple Dead Nettle Tincture Safely

  • Dosage Recommendations: Start with small doses, such as a few drops in water, and observe how your body responds.
  • Potential Side Effects and Interactions: While generally safe, it’s wise to be aware of any personal allergies or interactions with medications.
  • Storage and Shelf Life: Store your tincture in a cool, dark place. Properly made, it can last for several years.

Disclaimer and Consult a Healthcare Professional

It’s essential to positively identify Purple Dead Nettle before use. Remember, tinctures are not regulated by the FDA, and it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or on medications.

Additional Resources

For those eager to delve deeper into the world of herbal remedies and wild foraging, there are countless resources available. Websites like the Herbal Academy or books by renowned herbalists can expand your knowledge and inspire further exploration. To further your journey, consider delving into these engaging articles about Purple Dead Nettle:

Grab Your FREE Purple Dead Nettle Monograph Pages

purple dead nettle monograph


The Outdoor Apotheca website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is the reader’s responsibility to ensure proper plant identification and usage.

Please be aware that some plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects. We are not health professionals, medical doctors, or nutritionists. It is essential to consult with qualified professionals for verification of nutritional information, health benefits, and any potential risks associated with edible and medicinal plants mentioned on this website.

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