Heal Thyself With Self Heal

Self HealPrunella vulgaris This is a gorgeous little plant flowering profusely now in January, in full sun or shade. I love it and want to share more about it along with a delicious pesto recipe I whipped up.

Self heal flowers

Self heal flowers

  • Prunella comes from either the Latin meaning purple as in the flower colour or from German where Prunella means quinsy, which means to cure
  • a perennial plant that has no smell, even though interestingly it is in the lavender/mint family
  • the tubular violet flowers form compact, cylindrical heads at the tops of the square stems (one of the features of the lavender family)
  • the bluish-purple flowers, hooded and lipped observed closely are covered in hairs
  • in winter the plant is compact and low growing
  • the leaves are oval and in opposite pairs, often with a reddish/purple tinge, which the stem can have too
  • the lower leaves have stalks and the upper leaves near the flowers are stalkless
  • Self heal has a creeping, mat forming habit and likes to grow indamp lawns, damp lime deficient pastures, forest margins and clearings

    Mat forming Self Heal

    Mat forming Self Heal

  • Self heal is one of the great unsung healers of the world, according to Susun Weed. She says the leaves and flowers contain more antioxidants (rosmarinic acid), which helps prevent heart disease and cancer than any other plant tested
  • Self heal has antiviral properties and can also be used in liver, gall bladder and thyroid problems
  • it can also increase circulation to the head for ‘hot’ conditions in the throat, lymph glands, tonsils and eye problems, conjunctivitis, eye tiredness & strain, headaches (Burgess, I., Weeds Heal:A working Herbal)
  • Self heal contains minerals, including calcium, making this plant especially important for pregnant, nursing, menopausal and post-menopausal women
  • The leaves and pretty violet flowers can be added to salads, pestos (see recipe below) and even better added to your smoothies.

Self heal Pesto Recipe
bunch of galensoga (left in photo) bunch of self heal (right in photo)

Galensoga & Self heal leaves

Galensoga & Self heal leaves

2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cashew nuts
3T lemon juice
3T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper optional

Method

Smash up the garlic & cashews in a food processor or blender add the rest of the ingredients and process until well combined. Adjust the seasoning and add a small amount of water or more lemon juice if it should be too thick.(Adapted from Dr Libby’s Real Food Kitchen)

Self heal pesto

Self heal pesto

 

4 Responses to “Heal Thyself With Self Heal”

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  1. Teresa says:

    Hi Julia,
    I live in the United States between Seattle WA and the Canadian boarder. I’m amazed at how many weeds we have in common! I have what I am almost 100% positive is Self Heal creeping all over my lawn. My concern is, is there a look alike? I worry about this when harvesting something new. It’s identical to your pictures, but it makes me nervous not knowing. I love your website, videos and that you too love weeds!
    Thanks for your help with my question.
    Teresa

    • Julia says:

      Hi Teresa, Really awesome to hear from you and to know that we have many weeds in common. It is true they have gone all over the world and so many are universal. Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback about the video and my website – I so appreciate you taking the time to do it. Ok Self heal should have square stems as it is in the mint/lavender family and it doesn’t smell. It has lovely tubular flowers on compact, cylindrical heads at the top of the stem. It likes to grow in lawns we have it in our lawn. Another site to check it on is Plants for a future – that has something like 7000 plants on it.
      http://www.pfaf.com Try that or google it and you’ll get it. Good luck and enjoy your weeds as I do ours!!:)

  2. Verena Funnell says:

    Hi Julia
    How much selfheal should I take daily and over what period of time?
    Thanks
    Verena

    • Julia says:

      HI Verena, are you wanting to take it for something specific I wonder?
      Otherwise one can eat one or two sprigs every day in a smoothie or salad, or make a tea of a few leaves. I eat self heal all year, not every day but every few days as part of the diversity of my diet.
      I made a serum of some nice oils infused with self heal and I use that on my face every morning, because it has sun protective qualities. Self heal is a wonderful plant.
      Thank you for writing and for your questions.

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