Urban Weeds: Henbit

You guys, it’s spring. Well, it was spring. I looked out the window this morning and everything was covered with snow. Again. (I’m really over this winter…)

However, yesterday the day was a reasonable spring temperature, the snow was melted, and the cracks in the sidewalks were suddenly green with life. SPRING. I spent last spring learning about the different urban weeds here in the Philadelphia area but I never considered what medicinal uses people thought they might have. But, most of these weeds are not native – someone had to bring them to North America for a reason. Why? Why did they want these plants around?

So as the plants show themselves this spring, I will be looking into their uses and we will be starting with one that I have already seen this year – Henbit.

henbit

henbit

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is a common weed in the United States. It not cultivated but instead you will find it growing between cracks in the sidewalk or invading a lawn. It’s a member of the mint family which means it has a square stem. The leaves are scalloped and the upper leaves completely encircle the stem. The flowers are tubular and usually purple in color and form in the upper axils of the leaves.

Henbit has long been considered a wild edible plant. It is foraged for in the spring and added to salads as a green high in antioxidents and iron. However, it was traditionally used medicinally for blood related maladies. Taken internally or used externally as a poultice it can help stop bleeding and reduce swelling associated with cuts and burns. It is also thought to be an emmenagogue.

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