Henbit: an edible, medicinal herbal weed of early spring

Updated: Apr 11, 2021

This wild edible is very nutritious and to my surprise, it is growing here at the cottage. Henbit is low in calories as well as rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber which I will get into a little later.

Here's a few springs I pulled from my cottage yard. Aren't they gorgeous?

I am so excited these glorious, ladylike flowers of #henbit have arrived in the cottage's front yard (and spreading!). Some interesting facts I found when researching this little known herb -- I refuse to call it a weed because that sounds nasty and people want to kill every "weed".

As I am restoring Plains Cottage inside and out, planting and preserving mother nature's own medicinal plants and food is important to me.

What Is Henbit

Henbit is its common name, but the scientific name is Lamium amplexicaule L. You can find it in lawns, along the road and in garden beds if you're lucky, but to say this relative of the mint family is a common weed would be a gardening sin.

Along with other naturally growing herbs like Chamomile, Lavender, Mint, Lemon Balm, Bee Balm, Echinacea that can be brewed into teas, henbit is also good in a salad, smoothies, sandwiches, or as a whole plant tea as well.

Interesting Facts About Henbit

  1. Medicinal benefits of henbit include astringent, diuretic, diaphoretic and purgative. It's also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.

  2. The henbit's leaves can be used on external wounds or cuts similar to how you would use yarrow or plantain.

  3. Chickens like the taste of it, which probably explains why there's so much of it spread around the historical cottage and chicken coop here!

Much of my reading came from reading the Idiots Guide Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest wild foods.

Scientific Name(s): Lamium amplexicaule

You Can Eat: leaves, stem, and flowers

How: raw, cooked, or tea

Nutritional Value: vitamins, iron, antioxidants

Here's a look at the cottage front yard. I was so happy to see so much of it blooming this week!

I just love the delicate and feminine flowers. Again, so many people would spray the dreaded Round Up killer on these babies. It breaks my heart because they are literally killing something that will improve their health naturally.

What I truly love is that the whole plant is edible either raw or cooked though the stems can become stringy as the plant matures. It has a mild bitter/spinach-y flavor. But the flowers are sweet and tasty!

Our diets are so depleted of nature's medicinal benefits because folks want to take a manmade drug or quick fix medicine. The truth is, mother nature provides what we need.

What I have learned from owning this cottage for only a few months is that when the miracles don’t come quick and things don’t happen when we need them to, God is still working. The true reward is in the waiting… here we are refined just like the Henbit that I've recently discovered and learned about.

Mother Nature is so good if we just stop and take notice. #henbit #wildherbs #medicinalherbs



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Melisa Kennedy is the author and founder of Plains Cottage.  She hopes to "Paint Plains Pink" with her enchanted vision.

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