SELF-HEAL (Prunella vulgaris)

Europe, Asia

Self-heal in the RHS bowl


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, flowers visited by Honeybees and other insects. On the internet, someone has grown a grass-free lawn consisting ONLY of self-heal… a Bees’ Favourite lawn.

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”.

Grow Your Own Drugs, James Wong


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.”

A Modern Herbal, Maud Grieve


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.



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, Brunella, Consolida Minor, Heal-all, Heart of the Earth, Herb Carpenter, 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, Pick Pocket, Prince’s Feather, Sicklewort, Slough Heal, Xiakucao.