Herbal Health Information on White Dead Nettle

We stayed with my Uncle in Arundel over the weekend and went for a glorious walk on Sunday morning around the Arun valley. The autumn colours were spectacular, all red, gold, orange and yellow.

There were quite a lot of plants still flowering, the nicest of which was the White Dead Nettle.

It looks like a nettle but has a white flower a bit like an antirrhinum but it doesn’t sting if you touch it.

The flowering tops of the plant are used medicinally which contain saponins and tannins.

It is an astringent (toning) plant due to the tannin content, with anti inflammatory, healing, antispasmodic and menstrual regulating properties.

It is used internally in tincture form for painful periods, cystitis, diarrhoea and irritable bowel. Externally it may be used as a douche (wash) for vaginal discharge.

2 oz of fresh herb is steeped in 2 pints of boiling water until the water is cool. This is then strained and the liquid used as a vaginal douche.

If you have never used a douche before please do your research to find the correct way to use a douche so that you do not hurt yourself.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Marshmallow (Althea Officianalis)

Both the roots and the Ariel parts of this plant are used which contain high amounts of mucilage, flavonoids and tannins

Marshmallow in the Cuckmere Valley

The marshmallow has a history of over 2,000 years of use in European Herbal Medicine. It is known as a demulcent, meaning it soothes and protects mucous membranes. It is also antitussive (cough), is an alterative (restoring normal organ function) and diuretic.
It is used for all inflammation of the digestive system, lungs, kidneys and bladder. I forgot to mention the kidneys and bladder on the walk but marshmallow is my herb of choice to protect and soothe the bladder if a patient comes to me suffering from Cystitis.
In clinic I use it in mixes for irritating tickly coughs, irritable bowel, ulcers, and colitis, in all cases to protect and soothe the mucous membranes lining these two organs.
I have to say I was astounded at the rate it had spread along the river bank and pleased too, to know it isn’t likely to disappear from the Cuckmere. Plants are so vulnerable, a small change in conditions and they might not be growing where I last saw them and yet it seems they are also opportunists and if the conditions are good they will spread like mad. Thank goodness.

Linda Bostock
Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Tormentil (Potentilla Tormentilla)

Tormentil forms a carpet wherever it is growing and has yellow flowers that look a bit like a buttercup but smaller. Its main active ingredient is tannin which has astringent properties.

Astringent herbs tone up any mucous membrane lining such as the gut and the respiratory system. They can therefore help heal damaged linings and stop bleeding.


That has given you a pretty good clue as to how I use it.

It is invaluable, in small amounts, as a tincture in mixes for irritable bowel conditions.

We can never use any herbs containing tannins in large amounts as all medicinal treatments are a juggling act between achieving optimum healing without affecting any other normal body functions. In this case, if tannins were consumed in large amounts then they would bind with the protein available in food ingested and make it unavailable for absorption in to the body. This is also true for people who drink a large amount of ordinary tea and coffee both of which are high in tannins.

We also saw Tormentil on the Pevensey castle walk.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information