Self-Heal

“Self-Heal”

A highly regarded European wound herb, self-heal is widely used to stop bleeding. In the past, it’s flower spikes were considered to resemble the throat and, under the doctrine of Signatures theory, whereby plants cured those parts of the body that they most resembled, self-heal was used for inflammations of the mouth and throat.
In Chinese medicine the flower spikes are used and known as ‘xia ku can’ – meaning ‘Summer Dry Herb’.

Botanical Name: Prunella vulgaris

Common Name: Self-Heal
Family: Laminaceae
Parts Used: Aerial parts – found shoots harvested before flowering. Dried flower spikes – TCM. 

Qualities: Slightly bitter, pungent, cold & drying (Ody)


Constituents: 

  • Flavonoids – including Rutin
  • Vitamins A, B, C, K
  • Fatty Acids
  • Volatile oils
  • Bitter Principle

“… it serveth for the same that Bugle doth, and in the world, there are not two better wound herbes, as hath been often prooved” – John Gerard, 1597


Actions:
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-viral (Zhang et al)
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Diuretic
  • Astringent
  • Heals Wounds (Ody)
  • Vulnerary
  • Tonic (Hoffman)

SPIKES:

  • Liver stimulant
  • Cooling (Ody)

Indications:

  • To stop bleeding – wounds, heavy periods and blood in urine
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bleeding haemorrhoids
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sore throats/Inflammation
  • Sluggish Liver
  • Herpes – HSV 1 & 2 (Zhang et al)

SUMMARY:

Leaves and young shoots are used to stop bleeding wounds and applied in a fresh poultice or compress in emergency first aid on clean cuts. 

Culpepper recommended them for ‘green’ or fresh wounds, suggesting Self-heal would ‘close the lips of them’ in the days before stitches were utilised.


Cautions/Contraindications:

Always seek medical advise for abnormal uterine bleeding or blood in urine


Dose: 

Infusion: Pour 1 cup boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 3 times a day or use as gargle or lotion

Tincture: Take 1-2ml TDS

DROP DOSE: 20 – 40 drops t.d.s 1:2 (PPC)

(Hoffman)


OTHER USES:
  • INFUSION: Helpful as astringent, bitter herb in diarrhoea and as a spring tonic
  • POULTICE: Apply fresh leaves to clean wound
  • OINTMENT: Apply to bleeding haemorrhoids
  • EYEWASH: Use a very weak, well strained infusion for hot, tired eyes or conjunctivitis
  • MOUTHWASH/GARGLE: Use weak infusion or dilute tincture for bleeding gums, mouth inflammations and sore throats

References & Links to Articles:
Ody, Penelope (1998). The Herb Society’s Complete Medicinal Herbal. Milan: Dorling Kindersley
Hoffman, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons

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