Red Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum) compared to Heal All (Prunella vulgaris)

Red Dead Nettle

Red Dead Nettle

The plant on the bottom front of the pile in the photo below is from my yard and is called Red Dead Nettle, like the plant in the photo above.

The first time I saw this plant in my yard I became curious.  Was I seeing the little plant that is so great for healing called “Heal All”?  I looked up Heal all online and could see this little plant was obviously different . . . but still looked similar in my opinion.  Plants can be so difficult to identify without a name to use for looking it up!!  Finally I searched Heal All look alikes, and there was my little plant!


Red Dead Nettle is my little plant’s name.  Yay!  I found out what the plant was!!!  –Unless you have tried to figure out what plants are when you or your friends don’t know, you have no idea how difficult it can be, so I was thrilled to have found out this plant’s name so easily–  Now I could look up more about the plant in my yard.  Is it edible?  Is it medicinal?  Turns out it is both.

Red Dead Nettle is not a true nettle and does not sting.  That is why it is called “Dead nettle.”  Red Dead Nettle is a member of the mint family.  Some of the other common names for Red Dead Nettle are Purple Dead Nettle, Lavender Dead Nettle, Purple Archangel, and Velikdenche  (according to Wikipedia).

Heal All

Below are two photos of Heal All.  Another common name for Heal All is Self Heal.  Heal All is also a member of the mint family.  Heal All is both edible and medicinal.

When we were camping a couple summers ago, one of our party got a nasty infection under her big toenail when she was injured.  Her toe was swelling and very painful.  We made a poultice of Plantain (a drawing herb which brings the infection to the surface of the skin) and Heal All (good for any healing).  She said the poultice stung like the dickens but she kept it on for awhile.  By morning, the infection had come to the surface and could be cleaned out.  One more application a couple days later, when her toe began swelling again, completed the cure!

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Thank goodness for these gorgeous plants that voluntarily appear for our benefit!  Plants are such a God given gift!

9 responses to “Red Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum) compared to Heal All (Prunella vulgaris)”

  1. I’m glad to finally determine I have red dead nettle in my yard & not heal all. Have wondered about this for a long tine. And I’m super happy to learn they are edible!! I eat out of my yard a good deal of the time. Thus, this is good news. Thank you


    • That’s great! You might want to double check now that you know the name and get a second reference. I was always taught to get two references before taking it as truth. Not trying to say I don’t know what I’m talking about but just as a general rule it’s a good idea to get a positive ID from two different sources that actually have used the herb. So glad I could give a name to something you have seen in your yard :-).


  2. I’m just beginning to learn how difficult it can be to identify plants, especially wild ones. Thanks for providing these good images of these two seemingly common flowers.


    • Hi Gunta, I’m so glad I could help. I just love all these beautiful plants and weeds and flowers and hope to post more of the things I have discovered. Thank you so much for your comment.


        • So true Gunta!! It blows my mind at the variety of plants. There’s no way all the plants have even been identified and categorized. In an effort to learn to key out plants I was trying to identify one and it was close but different. Like it must have been a variation of the plant we were concluding it to be.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Something you might enjoy trying is to first do focusing meditation to sift through the layers of your own feelings by asking yourself how you feel, setting that feeling aside and asking yourself how you feel again, over and over until you have done enough. Then you take a plant and as you hold it against your skin ask, how does this make me feel, over and over. That is the way some people learn what plans are good for medicinally.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. “Unless you have tried to figure out what plants are when you or your friends don’t know, you have no idea how difficult it can be, so I was thrilled to have found out this plant’s name so easily.” – your words and my words exactly! Thanks a bunch!


    • Hi Joy,
      Amen sister! One of the best ways I have found to learn about wild plants in my area is to search for wild week walks led by a local expert on wild edible and medicinals. While living in Florida near Orlando, a subtropical climate, I went on wild weed walks with “Green Dean”, a local expert more than once; as well as taking a class with Florida School of Holistic Living. There is nothing like hands on teaching for the amazing plants around us. I took notes as fast as I could and snapped photos to compare with my notes when I got home! When you can find someone nearby with that kind of knowledge, what a FIND!!
      Now that I am living in Oregon, I have a whole new world of temperate climate plants to learn.


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