How to Make Purple Dead Nettle Salve – Recipes for Foraging

purple nettle salve

This article will tell you how to make purple dead nettle salve, which has so many uses. Purple dead nettle is a common weed and can be found all over. I found it in my yard using a plant ID app. I also found different plants including henbit, creeping charlie and plantain in my yard. They are just common weeds that we all see, but when you research them, they are actually medicinal weeds and can all provide so many health benefits! I plan to continue to forage and research and post more about this subject.

Purple nettle in my yard
Purple nettle in my yard

About Purple Dead Nettle

Lamium purpureum, known as purple nettle, red dead nettle, purple dead nettle, or purple archangel, is an annual herbaceous flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. Not to be confused with the stinging nettle, which is a different plant. The common name ‘Dead Nettle’ refers to the resemblance of the leaves to those members of the Nettle family with stinging hairs. However, purple dead nettle does not have the stinging hairs, therefore they are the safe, or ‘dead,’ nettles to be around. The purple dead nettle is a member of the mint family and is considered a wild edible.

Purple Dead Nettle Health Benefits

Purple dead nettle has many medical benefits, it has stringent, purgative, diuretic, and diaphoretic properties. It’s also anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. The leaves can be used on cuts or wounds as a poultice.

Purple dead nettle also a high nutritional value and contains vitamin A, C and K, plus iron and fiber. The plant has medicinal properties and can support healthy immune function as it contains Quercetin flavonoids. The Quercetin can also reduce seasonal allergies.

This powerful weed also has some antioxidant effect and has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help with pain and inflammation and can be used to help fight infections!

The purple dead nettle leaves can be eaten raw including the whole plant or made into a tea or tincture.

Purple Dead Nettle Salve Benefits

Since purple nettle has antibacterial and antifungal properties it makes the salve useful for rashes, insect bites and skin irritations and infections, plus for applying to cuts and minor wounds. The salve can also be used to relieve pain from arthritis and joint pain and can also be used for minor injury pain. Dry and cracked skin can also be relieved with the purple nettle salve.

All of this from a weed in your yard. Foraging is a very interesting subject!

How to Make a Purple Dead Nettle Salve

The first thing you do is to identify the purple dead nettle. I used a plant ID app. But the purple dead nettle has a square stem, spade-shaped leaves, purple tops and purple flowers. It may have green leaves or the lower leaves may be green with the upper leaves purple or all of the leaves may be purple. The color depends on the soil chemistry where it is growing.

Close up of purple nettle
Close up of purple nettle

Second step is to dry the purple nettle. You can let the plants air dry by spreading them in a single layer on a dish towel or paper towel and let them dry for several days. The other option is to use a dehydrator set at a low setting.

I used my dehydrator to dry the plants.

dried purple nettle
dried purple nettle

The next step is to make an infused oil with the herb by steeping the herb in a carrier oil. Different kind of oils can be used including sweet almond, olive, sunflower or coconut oil.

Sweet almond oil
Sweet almond oil

Infused oils can be used to make salves, balms, and lotions.

Add the dried herbs to a glass jar. The amount of oil you want will depend on how much salve that you want to make. You will add about twice as much oil as herbs. For example you can add herbs to a pint jar about halfway and then fill the jar almost to the top. If you want less, you can fill the jar about 1/4 up with herbs and then 1/2 way with oil.

Dried purple nettle mixed with oil
Dried purple nettle mixed with oil

There are several options for making the infused oil:

Slow option: Just add the lid to the jar and put it away in a cabinet for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake the jar every once in a while.

Fast double boiler method: Place the jar in a saucepan of a couple inches of hot water and heat the water on low for about 2 hours

Fast crockpot method: Add your herbs and oil to the crockpot, make sure that the oil covers the herbs. Heat the oil slowly and keep the crockpot on warm. Try to keep the temp between 120-130 F. Let it heat for several hours.

I used the crock pot method for this salve.

purple nettle infusing in oil using the crockpot method
Purple nettle infusing in oil using the crockpot method

Once you have the infused oil, you add the amount desired to a double boiler, then add the beeswax and shea butter. My measurements are 1 cup infusion oil to 2 Tbsp beeswax and 1 Tbsp shea butter. A lot of recipes for salves that I have seen use measurements in grams and oz. I feel it is easier with simple measurements and the salve turned out great.

Adding beeswax to infused oil in double boiler
Adding beeswax to infused oil in double boiler

Stir the mixture until the beeswax and shea butter melts.

Stirring until the beeswax melts
Stirring until the beeswax melts

When the beeswax and shea butter are melted, pour the mixture, which will be in liquid form, into 2-ounce tins or glass jars.

Pouring salve liquid into tin container
Pouring salve liquid into tin container

You can also add a couple drops of essential oils of your choice. I added some lavender oil. Let it sit for awhile until it sets up.

Purple nettle salve
Purple nettle salve


Enjoy making and using this salve made from natural ingredients and medicinal herbs. It is very easy to make small batches of these salves. I plan to continue to explore making salves, balms, lotions, and other similar items from plants and flowers found in nature and also from herbs and flowers that I grow.

See my website at to learn more and for additional made from nature recipes, such as my flower jellies including my dandelion jelly reciperedbud jelly recipelilac jelly recipe peony jelly and apple blossom recipe.

The website also includes canning recipes and other favorite great recipes, plus posts about other homestead-type activities, such as gardening and raising chickens.

For updates, please follow my Facebook page at Hawk Point Hobby Homestead.

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purple nettle salve

Purple Nettle Salve Recipe

Yield: 4 2-oz tins
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

An easy recipe for making a soothing salve made from the common weed "purple nettle".


  • Dried Purple Nettle Leaves and a Carrier Oil, which can include sweet almond oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil, to make your infused oil
  • 1 cup of the infused oil
  • 2 Tbsp. beeswax
  • 1 Tbsp. shea butter
  • Optional: Essential oil of your choice


  1. Create the purple nettle-infused oil with the dried purple nettle and the carrier oil- See Notes
  2. Heat the infused oil in a double boiler
  3. Add the beeswax and shea butter
  4. Heat and stir until the beeswax and shea butter are completely melted
  5. Pour the liquid into 2 oz tins or jars
  6. Optional: Add essential oil of your choice, such as lavender
  7. Let the salve set up


There are several methods for creating the infused oil which are described in the article.

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