Prunella vulgaris L.
* Species Plantarum 2:600. 1753
Prunella vulgaris, known as common selfheal, heal-all, heart-of-the-earth, is a medicinal plant in the genus Prunella. It grows 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. For medicinal purposes, the whole plant is gathered when the flowers bloom, and dried. The leaves and small flowers of heal-all are edible.
Heal-all is a perennial herb found throughout Europe, Asia and the North America, as well as most temperate climates. Its origin seems to be European, though it has been documented in other countries since before any history of travel. In the United Kingdom it is abundant throughout Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England. In the Republic of Ireland it is currently abundant in the west in counties Galway and Clare, the south-west in Kerry, the south coast and is also found around the central basin of Ireland. It is often found growing in waste ground, grassland, woodland edges, usually on basic and neutral soils. It is grown in any damp soil in full sun or in light shade. Seeds are sown in very early spring in a flat outdoor area.
Heal-all is both edible and medicinal. It can be used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb. It has been used as an alternative medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world, and for just about every ailment, Heal-All is something of a panacea, it does seem to have some medicinal uses that are constant. The plant's 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, antiviral, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. 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.
The flowers are arranged in several whorls at the end of a stem, forming a tight cluster. The upper lip of the flower forms a hood and there is a small lobed lower lip. It blooms throughout June to September.
Heal all was once proclaimed to be a holy herb and was thought to be sent by God to cure all ailments of man or beast. It was 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 also used to make a tea to drink in ceremonies before going hunting by one Native American tribe to sharpen the powers of observation.
In Germany it is known as Kleine Braunelle In the United States, as Lance Selfheal, Aleutian selfheal, Heal-all, Carpenter weed, Heart-of-the-earth, Blue Curls (generically) and as Hook Heal. In Finland it is called Niittyhumala and in Poland it is Glowienka pospolita.
1. ^ a b "Conservation Plant Characteristics for Prunella vulgaris L. (common selfheal)". Plants Database. United States Department of Agriculture. http://plants.usda.gov/java/charProfile?symbol=PRVU.
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License