encyclopedia

White Dead Nettle

Scientific Names:
Lamium album L. [Fam. Labiatae]

Forms:
Infusions made from flowers, leaves and other aerial parts of white dead nettle.

Traditional Usage:
– Arthritis Pain Relief
– Bladder Health Maintenance
– Bone and Joint Pain
– Bronchitis
– Bruises
– Catarrh (upper respiratory mucous)
– Cleansing
– Coughs
– Detoxification
– Expectorant
– Female Health Maintenance
– Flatulence
– Gastrointestinal Disorders
– Liver Health Maintenance
– Menopause
– Menstrual Disorders
– Poultice
– Prostatitis
– Respiratory Health Maintenance
– Skin Inflammation
– Sore Throat and Mouth
– Urinary System Infections
– Varicose Veins (topically)
– Whooping Cough
– Wounds

Overview:
White Dead Nettle, Lamium album L. [Fam. Labiatae], also known as Archangel, is common throughout Europe and Asia. Similar, related species including common dead nettle, Lamium amplexicaule, are now weedy Eurasian introductions to North America that have naturalized from gardens. These ‘stinging nettle-like’ plants are called ‘dead’ nettles in the sense that they don’t sting when touched. The medicinal properties of white dead nettle are found in the leaves and flowers of the plant, which can be used as a topical, infusion, or bath additive. White dead nettle is primarily given for gastrointestinal problems, skin inflammation, and is an effective expectorant used to treat a wide range of respiratory conditions such as whooping cough, acute breathing disorders, and bronchitis. In folk medicine it was given for mouth and throat irritation, urinary and vaginal infections, and for symptoms of menopause. Poultices of white dead nettle were applied to inflamed and swollen skin, bruises, varicose veins, and for arthritic pain relief. White dead nettle tea is also believed to be a blood-cleansing agent. Studies have identified the anti-inflammatory properties of white dead nettle tea but have not substantiated the other claims. The flowers can be found in a variety of medicinal teas and herbal cures. Culpeper liked to describe dead nettles as, “growing almost everywhere unless it be in the middle of the street” and used the flowers particularly as a women’s herb to treat menstrual disorders and leucorrhoea, spleen disorders and to drive away melancholy. Culpeper also recommended a poultice made from dead nettle for treating the pain of sciatica and other bone and joint problems. He writes that the herb is also good for healing green wounds and old ulcers. The flower tea is now also recommended for men with prostatitis, for catarrhal (mucous) conditions and to stimulate the liver.

Active Ingredients:
There is limited information available on the white dead nettle herb. Triterpenoid saponins, phenol-carboxylic acids, flavonoids, and mucilage have been reported but not substantiated. This herb also contains iridoid glycoside, tannins, betaine stachydrine, rosmarinic acid and similar compounds, and traces of essential oil.

Suggested Amount:
The German Commission E recommends the use of dead nettle tea for treating catarrh of the upper respiratory passages (internally) and a topic treatment of mild inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat and for non-specific leucorrhoea. Dead nettle infusions are also recommended externally for mild superficial inflammation of the skin. The German Commission E recommends a daily dose is 3 grams for internal use and 5 grams for external use as a hipbath. May be made into a tea or added to mouth rinses, baths, and compresses. For tea preparation: Pour boiling water over 1 gram (1 teaspoon = 0.5 grams) of finely chopped white dead nettle, steep for 5 minutes, then strain. To relieve respiratory ailments, drink one cup with honey several times per day.

Drug Interactions:
None known.

Contraindications:
None known.

Side Effects:
None known.

References:

Budzianowski J, Skrzypczak L. 1995. Phenylpropanoid esters from Lamium album flowers. Phytochemistry 1995 Mar; 38(4): 997-1001.

De Smet, P., Keller, K., Hansel, R. and R. Chandler (eds.) 1993. Adverse Effects of Herbal Drugs. Springer-Verlag New York Berlin Heidelberg. Pp. 52.

Potterton, D. (ed.) 1983. Culpeper’s Color Herbal. Copyright W. Foulsham and Co. Ltd. 1983. Publ. by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., Two Park Avenue, New York, NY, 10016. Pp. 17.

Savchenko T, Blackford M, Sarker SD, Dinan L. 2001. Phytoecdysteroids from Lamium spp: identification and distribution within plants. Biochem Syst Ecol 2001 Oct; 29(9): 891-900.

Wichtl M and NG Bisset (eds). 1994. White Dead Nettle. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, Pp. 288-291.