Heal-All, Prunella vulgaris
Other Names: Prunella, All-Heal, Hook-Heal, Self Heal, Slough-Heal, Brunella, Heart of the Earth, Blue Curls, Carpenter-weed, Common Selfheal, Consolida Minor, Lance Selfheal, Sicklewort, Woundwort, Xia Ku Cao
Photo by Karen Bergeron Copyright 2007
Heal All is a perennial herb found throughout Europe, Asia, Japan and the U. S., and most temperate climates. Its origin seems to be European, though it has been documented in other countries since before any history of travel. Prunella Vulgaris is often found growing in waste ground, grassland, woodland edges, usually on basic and neutral soils.
Cultivation: Heal-All thrives in any damp soil in full sun or in light shade. Plants are apt to become troublesome weeds in turf that is at all damp. Self heal is a good plant for growing in the spring meadow. Sow seed in very early spring in a flat outdoors, or give a short cold and moist conditioning treatment before sowing in a warm place.
Prunella DescriptionGrowing from 1 to 2 feet high, with creeping, self-rooting, tough, square, reddish stems branching at leaf axis. The leaves are lance shaped, serrated and reddish at tip, about an inch long and 1/2 inch broad, grow on short stalks in opposite pairs down the square stem. The flowers grow from a clublike, somewhat square, whirled cluster, immediately below this club are a pair of stalkless leaves standing out on either side like a collar. Flowers are two lipped and tubular, the top lip is a purple hood, and the bottom lip is often white, it has three lobes with the middle lobe being larger and fringed upwardly. Flowers bloom at different times depending on climate and other conditions. Mostly from June to August. Gather whole plant when flowers bloom, dry for later herb use. Leaves and small flowers are edible.
Properties Heal-All is edible and medicinal, can be used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb. Used as an alternative medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world, and for just about every ailment known to man, Heal-All is something of a panacea, it does seem to have some medicinal uses that are constant. The plants most useful constituents are Betulinic-acid, D-Camphor, Delphinidin, Hyperoside, Manganese, Oleanolic-acid, Rosmarinic-acid, Rutin, Ursolic-acid, and Tannins. The whole plant is medicinal as alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves is a very tasty and refreshing beverage, weak infusion of the plant is an excellent medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye. It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart. Clinical analysis shows it to have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It is showing promise in research for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies.
Folklore Once proclaimed to be a Holy herb and thought to be sent by God to cure all ailments of man or beast, and said to drive away the devil, which lead to the belief that Heal-All was grown in the Witches garden as a disguise. The root was used to make a tea to drink in ceremonies before going hunting by one Native American tribe to sharpened the powers of observation.
Recipe: Medicinal tea or infusion: Add 1 oz. dried or fresh herb to a pint of boiling water, steep till cool, take in ? cup doses, sweetened with honey, as a general strengthener.
Article by Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron