Prunella vulgaris, also known as self-heal or heal all, and Duánceannchosach in Irish, is familiarto almost everyone, even if they do not know the name. Those who wish forperfect lawns dislike this plant as it invades their velvet sward. If left toits own devices and not mown into the ground it will reach a height of 5 – 30cm. For those interested in its familytree it is a member of the mint family.
This‘weed’ is edible and can be usedin salads, soups, stews, and boiled as a pot herb. Some Native American peoplescooked and ate the young leaves or drank a cold infusion of the whole plant.This use is not surprising as the plant contains vitamin A, C, and K as well asflavonoids and rutin.
To make a cold infusion, simply add a loosefistful of this herb to a non-metal tea pot (china or clay pottery). Let watercome to the boil and then let it cool for about two minutes before pouring overthe herb in the tea pot. Let herb infuse in water for ten minutes and thenstrain. When cooled sufficiently, place in fridge and enjoy, when fullychilled.
Its health benefits are many and it rightlydeserves the name, ‘Heal all’. Perhaps its use in the treatment of Herpessimplex 1 or ‘cold sores’ is what will be of interest to many people whoare plagued with this viral infection. There is a particular carbohydrate in Prunella vulgaris that stops thereplication of HSV cells (1) or at least that is what they found in laboratory research even though anyperson half versed in the use of ‘weeds’ could have told them. It even helps the kind that are resistant to Acyclovirthe usual product recommended to treat the Herpes virus. Prunella willalso help to reduce the severity of genital herpes but is not as goodhere as with HSV1.
(1) Chiua, LawrenceChi-Ming, WenZhub, andVincentEng-Choon Ooia. 2004.
A polysaccharidefraction from medicinal herb Prunella vulgaris downregulates the expression ofherpes simplex virus antigen in Vero cells. Journal of Ethnopharmacology93(1):63-68.