Henbit

by Daisy on 04/10/2013

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Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), also known as Greater Henbit or Henbit Deadnettle, is a member of the mint family.  Like many in that family, it does not taste mint-y.

Henbit is still edible, fresh or cooked.  Nutritionally, it’s tough to find information on henbit.  Many sources simply quote, “iron, vitamins, and fiber,” which is pretty vague, but good enough for my purposes.

I just learned it’s edible, and first tried it today.  Not bad. Mild, hard to describe. Unoffensive.

Here it is in a wider view:

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In terms of medicinal use, there’s not a whole lot of activity that I can find. Apparently it’s a stimulant, a laxative, reduces fevers, and induces sweating.  The language/terminology used to describe the medicinal qualities sound like that from old-time herbology texts and almanacs, so my guess is that there hasn’t been a lot of modern attention paid to this plant.  From the more common culinary use of henbit, and its wide consumption by grazing animals, I wouldn’t think its medicinal qualities are particularly potent. Let me know if you’ve heard otherwise.

It would look really pretty in a salad or on sandwiches.  If you are looking to expand your wild greens palate, this is another widely available one for the list.



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jody April 10, 2013 at 7:34 am

what a pretty plant! i think it would look lovely right on top of a cupcake. 🙂

KimH April 11, 2013 at 2:16 am

Interesting.. I’ve always been told it was poisonous… and have never seen it mentioned as being edible.. I’ll have to check some of my old herbals to see what they have to say..
Thanks for sharing something old & something new. 🙂

Lanette April 11, 2013 at 5:46 am

Henbit is the bane of my existence. And, despite it’s name, my hens want nothing to do with it (they will devour the aptly named chickweed.) However, I’ve come to an amicable agreement with the henbit in the yard only because the bees love it. I no longer try to rip it out (a Sisyphean task if ever there was one.)

Portia McCracken April 11, 2013 at 7:31 am

Found this in a google search for “medicinal properties of henbit:”
(Tilford is a herbalist with a particular interest in botanical veterinary medicine)
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West – Gregory L. Tilford (1997)
http://books.google.com/books?id=P_s7sD11RM8C&pg=PA72&lpg=PA72&dq=medicinal+properties+of+henbit&source=bl&ots=vlx3KUYuVR&sig=2FvqFlPGEezQ5AbEXZBEbC8EKUA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=KbdmUavoMIKi8ASw4YDgBg&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=medicinal%20properties%20of%20henbit&f=false

Also this (author’s credentials are unknown):
“Seeds are extremely high in antioxidants and the leaves are rich in fiber and vitamins. Foliage has diuretic properties and increases sweating and urine flow. Like the plantains, dead nettle and henbit also diminish bleeding. Extracts and teas are used for menstrual problems.
They also show promise as anti-inflammatories and pain reducers. Purple dead nettle works by interfering with the release of the hormone prostaglandin-2.
Dead nettle contains chemicals called sterols, which among other things help treat enlarged prostates. It appears they can be good for men and women.”
http://www.dailyadvance.com/features/columnist2/spring-mints-962503

Daisy April 11, 2013 at 8:52 am

Portia McCracken–Thank you for that. I have a post on purple deadnettle soon, too. Both are all over the yard.

Little Sis April 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Hunh. This is all over my garden – I think. Interesting. Especially that anti-inflammatory/diuretic bit. Could make the whole month easier – and right there encroaching on my pea plants. 😉

Stephanie A. April 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Oh my gosh!! I’m so glad to know the name of this little weed that grew all over yards in my home town in Kansas! We used to pull the little lavender/pink flower thing out and bite on the bottom where it tastes like honey. We called it “honeysuckle” because we were kids and didn’t know any better, and it does taste honey-like. And sometimes I had the urge to nibble on the greens so I did,and they tasted nice. The little purple/pink flower looks like rabbits. I love, and have very fond memories of this plant. It’s so nice to know the real name now. 🙂 I’ve learned so much from your plant postings. Thank you!

Stephanie

Utenzi April 15, 2013 at 8:12 am

I agree with Lanette’s first statement. Henbit is evil. At least down in the southeast where it will take over a lawn in no time flat if you let it. And Henbit just laughs at Roundup! I’m glad to see from your post here that at least it’s good for something.

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