Prunella, the Little Plant Known as Heal All
By Jhoane Robinson, Herbalist and Co-Founder of Cedar Bear Naturales
A couple of summers ago I came across a spindly little green plant with a purple spike that looked a bit like a lavender flower on the forest floor in the Uinta mountains. Curious, I picked the flower and brought it home, looked it up. Low and behold, my lowly little mountain friend was a very important herb, Prunella vulgaris. The first word in its Latin Name, Prunella, is derived from a German word for a throat issue that this little plant was commonly used for. The second work, vulgaris means ‘common’. Prunella, commonly found in many parts of the world, has been used for centuries throughout Europe and Asia, and by Native Americans, too, but for some reason it hasn’t been well known in recent Western herbalism. It’s high time Prunella got some respect!
When you hear the common names for our little plant friend, you’ll see what I mean. Heal All and Self Heal are used most often, also Woundwort (wort means plant in jolly olde English). So, why was this small plant given those lofty names?
It turns out that Heal All benefits just about everything regarding our health, both inside and out. The more I studied it, the more amazed I was by it. Heal All is regarded throughout most of the world one of those plants that is able to do just about everything we need for our health.
Heal All is legendary for its benefits for digestive tissues, the lymphatic system, kidney and fluid dynamics, cardiovascular system, immune system, skin issues... And the list goes on!
Even though Prunella is in the mint family, it doesn’t smell or taste like mint, but more like its cousin rosemary. Studies have shown that Prunella has more antioxidants (help slow the aging process and support health) than other members of the mint family. It has actions like elderberry, astragalus, and the medicinal mushrooms, and pairs well with herbs like stinging nettle and lemon balm.
While it has all these amazing abilities, Heal All has no known toxicity, hasn’t shown any interactions with medications, and can be used for children. What’s not to love?
The aerial parts, (leaf, stem, flower) can be eaten in salads or dried to make herbal tea, so growing it in your backyard makes a lot of sense. It grows like a ground cover and, like many of the mint family plants, may enthusiastically take over the area it is in, so you may want to contain it.
Give Prunella the respect it deserves and make this lowly garden ‘weed’ one of your go-to herbs for everything your health needs, because Heal All helps you Self Heal!