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Prunella vulgaris - L.
Common Name Self-Heal, Common selfheal, Aleutian selfheal, Lance selfheal
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Waste ground, grassland, woodland edges etc, usually on basic and neutral soils[9, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to N. Africa and temperate Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Prunella vulgaris Self-Heal, Common selfheal, Aleutian selfheal, Lance selfheal

Prunella vulgaris Self-Heal, Common selfheal, Aleutian selfheal, Lance selfheal
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Prunella vulgaris is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


 Ground Cover; Lawn; Meadow;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Drink.

Leaves - raw or cooked[9]. They can be used in salads, soups, stews etc[183]. Somewhat bitter due to the presence of tannin in the leaves, though this can be removed by washing the leaves[177]. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves is used as a refreshing beverage[161, 183]. Very tasty[168].
Medicinal Uses

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Alterative;  Antibacterial;  Antibiotic;  Antidiarrhoeal;  Antipyretic;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  
Carminative;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge;  Hypotensive;  Stomachic;  Styptic;  Tonic;  
Vermifuge;  Vulnerary.

Self heal has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of wounds, ulcers, sores etc[7]. It was also taken internally as a tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth, internal bleeding etc[4, 222]. In Korea it is used to treat oedema, nephritis, scrofula and goitre[279]. The whole plant is alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary[4, 9, 13, 21, 176, 218]. It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi etc[176]. It can be used fresh or dried, for drying it is best harvested in mid-summer[4]. The plant is experimentally antibiotic and hypotensive[218, 222].
Other Uses

An olive-green dye is obtained from the flowers and stems[168]. The plant is a good ground-cover in sunny positions or light shade[200].
Cultivation details
Thrives in any damp soil[1], in full sun or in light shade[238]. Plants are apt to become troublesome weeds in turf that is at all damp[1]. Self heal is a good plant for growing in the spring meadow[24].
Seed - sow in mid spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in mid to late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Subject : Prunella vulgaris  

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