Herb of the Week: Self Heal

Species: Prunella vulgaris

Common names: Prunella, All-Heal, Hook-Heal, Touch and Heal, Brunella, Heart of the Earth, Blue Curls

History/Folklore: Self-heal’s use has been noted in Chinese medicine as early as 206 BC. It has been used quite commonly in Europe for centuries as a remedy for throat ailments and as a treatment for wounds. It was valued as treatment for cuts and wounds and used to stop bleeding and help knit a wound together. It was taken internally as a tea to help with fevers, diarrhea, and internal bleeding. More recently Self-heal has been used to treat herpes and mouth and throat lesions because of its antiviral properties, although John Parkinson had noted its use back in 1640. It has also been found to be effective for hypothyroidism by stimulating an underactive thyroid.


Prunella has erect, many-flowered spikes and associated, overlapping, hairy bracts. The square stem has dense, cylindrical, terminal spikes of purple flowers Grows from 2 inches up to 1 foot in height.

Parts Used: Leaves, Flowers

Collection: Leaves from Spring through Fall, flowers just before blooming or as it is blooming if using fresh, allow spike to brown slightly before picking if drying.

Actions: astringent, bitter tonic, diuretic, styptic, vermifuge, vulnerary, amphoteric, antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 
Indications: Calms inflammatory and allergic responses, increases appetite and promotes digestion, increases the flow of urine, stops bleeding, effective against many types of bacteria, heals injuries.

Contraindications: none noted

Cultivation: stolons, division or seeds (cold-stratifying helps)

Light: Full sun to Shade

Zones: 4-9

Plant Type: Creeping herbaceous perennial

About Airmeith Naturals

Anna has over 25 years of experience working with herbs. She trained as a chef specializing in classical French cuisine. Anna has extensive knowledge of herbs used in cooking, as well as having researched the historic use of culinary herbs & spices. She is a Certified Community Herbalist who has completed multiple apprenticeships and classes with renowned Herbalists along with her own studies. Her concentration is in Western European Herbal Practices. She has attended college for Environmental Science as well as earning her certificate in Massage Therapy and is licensed in the state of Massachusetts. In addition, Anna is a Certified Reiki Master Teacher. Anna lives in Western Massachusetts with her family and has over an acre of gardens to play in. Anna is the herbalist at Airmeith Naturals in Holyoke Massachusetts
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