Lamiums and song thrushes; cloth and healthy tea

Lamiums are a very useful type of ground cover. In many shades including white, pink, red and even yellow, they flourish under trees and in deep shade and poor soil especially the yellow form which still has Archangel in its name. Although apparently a distant member of the nettle family they do not sting but spread easily through seed or roots systems  and provide colour from early Spring until late Summer.

Early spring when the lamiums begin to flower is also the time the song thrush should begin to sing.

The stinging nettle is actually from the urtica family and therefore is a different plant and has numerous health benefits according to many including being:

diuretic, astringent, pectoral, anodyne, tonic, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic, nutritive, hermetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, decongestant, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine, anti-lithic/lithotrophic, herpetic, galactagogue, and an anti-histamine. – See more at: http://naturalsociety.com/29-nettle-tea-benefits-health-herb/#sthash.YcmiD6Uk.dpuf

Aaron Hill [1685-1750] says in his Verses Written on a Window in Scotland:

Tender-handed stroke a nettle,

And it stings you for your pains;

Grasp it like a man of mettle,

And it soft as silk remains

Traditionally the silk aspect relates to the fact that you can make a cloth out of nettle fibres – see http://nettlecraft.com/Nettle_Fibres.php. You need to ‘rett’ the nettles, that is soak for a very long time in order to remove the fibre but the resulting cloth is similar to linen.

Lamiums are not noted for any health benefits and so are usually cultivated only for their grand cover.

yellow nettle lamium_album_white_dead_nettle

 

 

My Almanack for the 19th January says that in 1640 John Parkinson wrote in his Theatrum Botanicum that:

The Dead Nettle  or Achangell. ..The flowers of the white Archangells are preserved or conserved daily to be used to stay the whites, and those of the red to stay the reds in women, and is thought good to drive away melancholy, and to quicken the spirits.

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