Prunella vulgaris (Common Self-heal)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Prunella

Seven species, including:
Prunella grandiflora (Large Self-heal)
Prunella laciniata (Cut-leaf Self-heal)
Prunella vulgaris (Common Self-heal)

Prunella is a genus of seven species of herbaceous plants in the family Lamiaceae, also known as self-heals, heal-all, or allheal for their use in herbal medicine.


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.

Biological descriptions

The common name "self-heal" derives from the use of some species to treat a range of minor disorders. Self-heal can be grown from seed, or divide clumps in spring or autumn.


Traditional medicine

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.

Food uses

The mildly bitter leaves are also good as salad greens. Prunella species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora albitarsella.

As a health supplement

Prunella vulgaris is also used as an ingredient in some bodybuilding supplements as for its antiestrogenic activity - for which an efficacy has been demonstrated only in mice.[1]

Scientific study

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.[2][3][4][5][6][7] P. vulgaris and P. asiatica have shown some anti-(lung)cancer activity in vitro.[8]