Self Heal Herb

Herbal Medicine

The Benefits of Prunella Vulgaris

This is a beautiful, wee medicinal  plant which is often dismissed as a weed.

Prunella Vulgaris has a longish purple flower. It grows more or less as ground cover, and is often found growing in lawns and on grassy banks. It is found in New Zealand and in the less hot parts of Australia. It was introduced to our parts of the world when the early settlers arrived from Europe in the 18th century.

Self Heal, or Prunella Vulgaris, used to be very common in New Zealand.  However:  If you find Prunella Vulgaris growing anywhere around your house and garden, then nurture it.  It is a valuable herb which is fast disappearing from our lawns and gardens because of the use of commercial grass mixes and pesticides and herbicides which have killed many plants off.

Common names for Prunella Vulgaris are:  Self Heal, carpenters herb, sticklewort, touch and heal, all heal, woundwort, Hercules’ woundwort, hock heal.

Prunella vulgaris, or ‘self heal’,  belongs to the Lamiaceae family.

This plant has been used in herbal medicine since the days of the ancient Greeks who commonly used self heal to treat sore throats and cases of tonsillitis.

Its purple flower is calming, which gives it some use as a nervine to calm anxiety, lower blood pressure, and to help soothe the heart and lungs.

The famous ‘Doctine of Signatures’, in later medieval times, came up with another theory as to why self heal should be effective in treating several conditions. This is truly interesting, because the idea of ‘the doctrine’ seems very fanciful and romantic, but this magic theory only backs up what the ancient Greeks were already using the herb for, even without a ‘Doctrine of Signatures’.

The ‘Doctrine of Signatures’ recognized ‘Self Heal’ as being important to the medicine of man because of the flower’s likeness to the shape of the throat. This likeness was an indication that the plant was beneficial for the treating of diseases of the throat such as quinsy and diptheria. Part of the flower resembles that of a billhook or sickle, and this indicated its use in treating the wounds, sores and gashes which were common amongst field workers who used these implements.

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