Self heal Prunella vulgaris
Folk names: Hook- heal, Sickly-wort, Carpenter’s herb.
Self heal survives well in grasslands, waste spaces and more open woodlands. A close cut lawn in summer can look beautiful with the purple flowers of self heal to enliven the otherwise monocultural sward. There is a rarer species known as the cut-leaved self heal ( Prunella laciniata) which has cut leaves and white flowers.
Both the Latin and common name of this plant point to its continued use as a herb. Prunella or Brunella is the German name for a sore throat. Dioscorides knew of the plant’s use for sore throats and treated inflammations of the throat and tonsils with this plant.
Its common name self heal implies an obvious connotation to medicinal usage. In the doctrines of signatures( the concept that every plant has a signature that implies its use), the flower of this plant is said to resemble a hook and as in the past the most common wounds were from billhooks and sickles this implied its use to stanch bleeding.
Self heal does staunch bleeding effectively and is also used for internal bleeding as a syrup or as a tea.
It is also used for respiratory complaints, piles and in Ireland to treat heart trouble. It is less known as a cure for colds.
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Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.