Family: Lamiaceae Botanical description




Дата канвертавання22.04.2016
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© Nikki Darrell 2009

Common name: Self Heal, All-heal, Carpenter’s Herb, Sticklewort, Touch and Heal, Woundwort, Hercules’ Woundwort, Blue Curls, Brownwort, Hock Heal

Prunella vulgaris Family: Lamiaceae

Botanical description: A creeping perennial, reaching 5-30 cm. The leaves are oval. The flowers are a blue-violet colour and occur in densely packed heads with a pair of leaves at the base. They are the typical lipped shape of Lamiaceae. They grow in grasslands and waste ground. The name comes from Brunella from the German for quinsy. Self heal was deemed to be good for throat problems due to the shape of its flowers according to the Doctrine of Signatures.

Part used: Aerial parts gathered when in flower. In China the flower spikes are used as a remedy.

Harvesting, habitat and cultivation: Can usually be found growing wild, but will also grow easily from seed. Found throughout Europe, into Asia and also naturalized in other temperate regions. In Europe it is harvested just before or during flowering. In China the flowering tops are gathered in late summer as they start to wither. This may account for the slightly different uses in the two regions.

History and folklore: The plant has a long history of use in Europe as a wound healer and also as a general tonic (hence it’s common name). However, it has fallen out of fashion in recent times. The fact that it is used in Chinese medicine for fevers and liver weakness has resulted in more interest in it again.

It is a particularly soothing remedy for the nervous system and for supporting us in grounding and earthing our energies and helps us to access our inner ability to heal and do inner repair work on all levels. It seems to calm and help us to work at a steady grounded pace, one that suits the work we are doing on ourselves, particularly releasing stagnation and old traumas and irritations. It is cooling. Slightly bitter, pungent, drying.


Constituents: Flavonoids including rutin, Vitamins ABCK, Fatty acids, Volatile oil, Bitter principle, Pentacyclic triterpenes based on ursolic, betulinic and oleanolic acids, Tannins, Caffeic acid

Actions: Antibacterial, Reduces blood pressure, Diuretic, Astringent, Wound healing, Liver stimulant, Astringent, Antioxidant


Traditional and current uses:

  • All sorts of bleeding, including heavy periods and blood in the urine

  • Diarrhoea

  • Spring tonic

  • Haemorrhoids

  • Eyewash for tired and hot eyes or conjunctivitis

  • Gargle and mouth wash for sore throats, bleeding gums and mouth inflammations

  • High blood pressure

  • Leucorrhoea

  • In China it is used for fevers, dizziness, vertigo, headaches and sore, inflamed eyes (signs of ‘liver weakness’ and liver fire). They mainly use the dried flower heads

  • Infected and enlarged glands, especially in the neck .

  • Possibly may be useful for the treatment of diabetes due to an alleged effect on the pancreas

  • Flu and hot flushes

According to Chevallier, Chinese research shows that the herb dilates the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Other research from China shows that the herb has a reasonable antibiotic action against a broad range of pathogens. According to Bruton-Seal and Seal, recent research shows it to be an effective remedy for herpes. The young leaves and stems can be used in salads and the plant can also be used as a pot herb (added into stir fries, soups and stews). The flowers are very mild in flavour (sweet) and pleasant in salads


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