This little plant with the big name has inspired a lot of contemplation in me lately. Prunella vulgaris , commonly known as Self Heal ...

Uses for Self Heal Plant

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This little plant with the big name has inspired a lot of contemplation in me lately. Prunella vulgaris, commonly known as Self Heal or Heal All, has some big shoes to fill. It grows right outside my door and I see its unique blooms multiple times per day. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about the plants that live in our habitat (and we in theirs, of course). I truly believe we are adapted to each other, they are our best medicine, and for every symptom, there is a plant closeby that can help relieve it. I want to focus my blogs on these plants, the natives and (or) the wild. 

Speaking of self healing, I sometimes get down on myself and frustrated that, as an Herbalist, I can't always relieve my own symptoms. Sometimes I need help from practitioners or mentors, sometimes I need to change my thinking, be more inventive, or try a different tact. So, just like Heal All doesn't always heal all, we all need a little help sometimes. My wish for you, as with myself, is to ask for and allow it gently. 

I like thinking about and researching plants like this one because they're often referred to as weeds, but they pack a lot of punch. Besides, a weed is just any plant growing where you don't want it. (I want these, though.) Self Heal is in the mint family (Lamiaceae). You can tell that by the square stems, opposite leaves, and "lips" on the bottom petals (check out my pictures), though it doesn't have the usual aromatics of a mint family plant. And don't forget what I always say, "All mints have square stems, but not all square stems are mints."

I work with Self Heal topically, for any kind of wound or irritation. I add it to my salve recipe. I also work with it internally for coughs and sore throats mostly, in teas or tinctures. However, the most interesting method of working with this plant is to relieve herpes virus conditions, like canker sores, chicken pox, shingles, and genital herpes. Some write about its anti-inflammatory and tonic effects, too. The plant's leaves are edible and mild-tasting. I wouldn't recommend eating the flowering tops, though. They tasted like rotting fish to me (ewww!); interesting that the top looks a little like fish scales.

I invite you to have your own experiences with Self Heal, and let me know about it. I believe that a lot of the healing that we get from the plants comes from our connection with them. I have been practicing plant meditation lately (more on that later). It's amazing to see what comes through my intuition and connection before I even start the research. 

Wishing you natural connections and happy forest frolicking!

Resources for further research:
Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of the Midwest by Matthew Alfs
Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech
The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman
http://www.localharvest.org/self-heal-all-heal-tea-prunella-vulgaris-C19300


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