Friday, May 28, 2010
Prunella vulgaris (Self Heal)
This low growing weed is commonly found in lawns in the Eastern US but less so in the Western US. It is commonly called Self-Heal and being in the mint family will grow prolifically. It may be more common in Chinese Medicine where it is used for cardiovascular problems than in Western Herbalism. It is not native to North America but has of course become naturalized and grows mainly as a weed, but has its place in my garden. Prunella is antioxidant rich and contains rosmarinic acid. This phenylpropanoid is an antioxidant and has been show to inhibit cancer. Prunella has also been found to have activity against the Herpes virus that causes cold sores as well as antiinflammatory activity, pain relieving activity and wound healing activity; hence its nickname Self Heal. To me this says it has a place in healing balms and I use it in my healing lip balm. You could also use it as a poultice for various wounds or as a tea to relieve mouth pain from various sores.
The small purple flowers of the plant are edible and can be used in salads, soups or in a tea. Use it as a diuretic, liver stimulant,astringent and antispasmodic. Its nutritional value includes vitamin C, K and B1 as well as antioxidants. Its always great to know how important some of our 'weeds' are.