Self-heal (Prunella Vulgaris)
It feels silly now to not have created this page sooner (since my whole intro to herbs was based around collecting this gem), but here’s a short version until I can get some pics this summer! The plants pictured above are beyond gathering stage. You want to get them when they are fully in flower (there’s a few little ones hiding in there if you see those purple petals), and most of this patch is drying up.
Self-heal is a perineal plant that has generally been used to aid your body sort of all-over. It’s especially good at maximizing the benefits of other herbs. Although it can be used to treat mild diarrhea, internally I would say it’s true internal value is confidence. It works, as its common name implies, to help your entire body function more smoothly, helping to fight your fears that you can’t fight what you’re dealing with…i.e… helping you to heal yourself.
Externally is where I find its bounty. It’s a wonderful first-aid treatment for minor cuts and scrapes, and its true wonder in my home is helping to ease out splinters. It’s slightly mucilaginous so that might be part of it, sort of lubricating the area, but regardless, some Native American names for this herb directly translate to “pulls it out”. You probably won’t apply a compress (I mix equal parts self-heal and plantain) and magically splinters are completely taken care of, but it will draw them pretty quickly to a point where tweezers can be used. Tea strained REALLY well can be used as eye drops to help when something is lodged in the eye.
A few weeks ago my daughter drug her foot across a toothpick that was hung in the rug, breaking off about a half-inch in the ball of her foot. I searched my pantry and, to my surprise, didn’t have self-heal. Finding this picture this morning reminded me of why.
I was a day late for everything last year…but this years going to better!
Hope this little bit inspires you to learn more and harvest some for your own medicine cabinet!
There is dried self-heal in the center jar of this wooden box I gave to my friend. This and the pic at the top are literally the only pictures I have of this herb right now. If you’d like to read about what these herbs “mean” to me you can find it in the last few paragraphs of that post!