|Prunella vulgaris (Common Self-heal)|
Most are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but Prunella vulgaris (the Common Self-heal) is Holarctic in distribution, occurring in North America as well, and is a common lawn weed. Self-heals are low-growing plants, and thrive in moist wasteland and grass, spreading rapidly to cover the ground. They are members of the mint family and have the square stem common to mints.
In the Pacific Northwest, its juice was used by the Quinault and the Quileute on boils. They also used the whole plant to treat cuts and inflammations. Ointments can be made by fixing the plant with grease. Dried Prunella (Chinese: 夏枯草) is used to make a herbal drink.
As a health supplement
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While most of the traditional uses are clinically untested and of unknown efficacy, Prunella vulgaris has been shown to have pharmacological effects in vitro and in some animal models as an antioxidant, immune stimulant, viral replication inhibitor and an anti-inflammatory agent. P. vulgaris and P. asiatica have shown some anti-(lung)cancer activity in vitro.