Self Heal - Prunella Vulgaris
~ Self Heal (Prunella Vulgaris) ~
Self Heal is back! This pretty, summer flowering plant in the mint family, is underplanted around my fruit trees, providing groundcover and a burst of beautiful purple all through summer.
I love this dainty wee gem which reminds me of fairies and has soooo many medicinal uses. As the name suggests it can ‘heal all’ and makes a fantastic first aid remedy.
Prunella Vulgaris aka Woundwort, is usually called Self Heal after the 17th Century Botanist Nicolas Culpeper wrote, “when you are hurt, you may heal yourself”. It was once thought to be a Holy herb sent by God to cure all ailments & to drive away the devil. Wow. It’s well known in Chinese Medicine as Xiao Ku Cao, it’s a cold herb used to treat hot, inflamed conditions.
Self Heal has anti bacterial, anti viral & astringent properties & stems the flow of blood. It’s most commonly used throughout history to treat wounds and heal the skin.
In a first aid situation you can make a poultice or a herbal infusion with leaves & flowers to stop bleeding, disinfect a wound, reduce swelling through tonifying & tightening tissues and speed healing. I’ve used this often during camping trips as it’s always growing nearby in summer.
Self Heal is also good for sore throats, upper respiratory infections, gingivitus and overall oral health. Gargle for a sore throat or make into a mouthwash to calm inflammation, assist tissue healing, promote oral health, and prevent plaque build up in the mouth.
Make an infusion and drink to treat fevers, diarrhea, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart or use as a facewash to treat and tone acne breakouts.
Many scientific studies have shown Prunella Vulgaris’s effect in treating Herpes, Cold Sores, HIV & even estrogen type cancers. That’s pretty impressive for this common little herb!
I like to incorporate the leaves & flowers into salads, cold drinks, herbal infusions or cook it as a pot herb (soups & stews). With high levels of antioxidants, Vitamins B, C & K, it makes a nutritious addition to any meal.
This gorgeous wee plant grows low to the ground and is the perfect groundcover for your no mow lawn, as it never gets too high and the purple flowers are just stunning, and well, good for everything!
You can learn even more about Self Heal in my Hot Season Foraging Guide, available to order or download on my 'Foraging Guides' page