Today we learned the difference between red dead nettle or purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum) and self-heal (Prunella vulgaris). Self-heal is a very healing anti-inflammatory, anti bacterial herb that commonly grows in natural lawns, we use it in our Balsam Rose Skin Balm. We are growing our own this year. Below you can view the self-heal seedlings, a young self-heal plant, and some harvested self-heal from last season.

We took a close look at a very similar plant growing quite big right now and learned it is purple dead nettle or red dead nettle. This edible "weed" is a non-stinging nettle of the mint family. Did you know that you can identify mint plants by their square stems?. The whole plant is astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and styptic (meaning that it helps to stop bleeding). Below are the purple dead nettle plants that are growing in our front yard.

Updated: May 2

Hi, I am Nancy of Balsam Rose Soap Company and Cazenovia Artisans. Using my extensive knowledge of food prep and cooking, the healing power of herbs, sewing, and developing natural skin care products, I would like to share with others about what I am learning and doing. I am a Family and Consumer Science (aka Home Economics) professional that has retired early from teaching middle school Life Skills classes to move to the Finger Lakes region of New York state. My husband Bob and I have been working on our business for eight years and now we both only work, full time, for the Balsam Rose Soap Company. We love it and could not be happier! It has always been our dream to move north! We meet so many people that also run their own local businesses or participate in farmers' markets! We have many opportunities to learn how to use nature to improve our health and being a teacher, I have to share the wealth!

The view from our deck in Otisco Valley.

We experience and learn so much, very different than our focus years ago raising two boys, who are now young men, in New Jersey. We grew out of work space in our home in Spafford, NY. With a lot of work and organization we now have a garage converted into a studio that will house our soapmaking business with room to spare! As a result of construction, we will now be able to grow our own medicinal and culinary herbs. We have space for a garden, A Secret Garden, right behind our studio! This blog is my first step to creating The Balsam Rose Blog series of posts, articles, and eventually workshops and online demonstrations! I am sure I will get better at blogging and hope that folks will find this informative and helpful! Stayed tuned.......

Some of this year's calendula blossoms, very high in healing resin, drying for use in our Balsam Rose Skin Balm


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