SELF-HEAL (Prunella vulgaris)

Self-heal in the RHS bowl

Europe, Asia

A wildflower of fields, pastures and lawns, Self-heal likes moist soil and sunshine. It can grow to a foot in height, but lawnmowers may keep it cropped short. From June/July to September, LAVENDER flowers appear in whorls.


Bees’ Favourite

Self-heal’s persistent root system can make it unwelcome in lawns, except by visiting Honeybees & other insects. One no-more-mowing alternative on the internet included a replacement lawn of nothing BUT Self-heal…  This would definitely be a Bees’ Favourite lawn.


Taken to North America by early settlers, it is known there as ‘Woundwort’. An olive green dye is obtained from the stems and flowers of this edible wildflower.

Self-Heal with Hardy Geranium


“Prunella vulgaris has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It was first mentioned in Chinese medical literature during the Han dynasty (206BC-AD23), mainly for complaints associated with disturbed liver energy. European herbalists have always regarded it primarily as a wound herb”.

RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses, Demi Bown


“Self-heal also has antiviral properties and, taken internally as a tea or tincture can help with throat infections, flu and fever. It’s been shown to hinder the ability of some viruses (including the cold sore virus) to replicate”.  James Wong, Grow Your Own Drugs


Gerard praised the properties of Self-heal, as did Culpeper : “The juice used with oil of roses to annoint the temples and forehead is very effectual to remove the headache, and the same mixed with honey of roses cleaneth and healeth ulcers in the mouth and throat.”   Maud Grieve, A Modern Herbal




Botanical painting by J.N.Fitch

British Wild Flowers in Their Favourite Haunts,  A R Horwood, The Gresham Publishing Company, London 1919


Other names: All-heal, Blue Curls, Brownwort, Brunella, Bumble-bees, Caravaun Bog, Carpenter Grass, Carpenter’s Herb, Consolida Minor, Fly Flowers, Heal-all, Heart of the Earth, Herb, Herb Carpenter, Hercules’ All-heal, Hock heal, Hook-Heal (the plant was largely used by the old herbalists for the healing of wounds inflicted by sickles, scythes and other sharp instruments), London Bottles, Panay, Pick Pocket, Pimpernel, Prince’s Feather, Proud Carpenter, Sickle-heal, Sicklewort, Slough Heal, Square Stem, Thimble Flower, Xiakucao.