Prunella vulgaris, known as common selfheal, heal-all, heart-of-the-earth, is an edible and medicinal plant. This hardy perennial grows to be about 1-2 feet in high with creeping stems that self-root. The short violet/white flower stalks bloom from May to September. For medicinal purposes, the whole plant is gathered when the flowers bloom, and dried. The leaves and small flowers of heal-all are edible and are frequently incorporated into salads, stews and soups. Self-heal has long been used as a treatment for disease in humans and animals. As the name suggests, it has been used traditionally to heal just about everything. Prunella vulgaris seems to have anti-viral properties and is currently being used by many as a salve to treat oral and genital herpes. This includes cold sores. In addition to salves, self-heal is sometimes taken as a tea. It can be gargled for ailments of the throat such a laryngitis and sore throat. It has long been used for healing ulcers and various other wounds, including acne. Self-heal has astringent properties and is rich in vitamins C, K and B1. It is also a good source of antioxidants and acts as a diuretic and liver stimulant.
Growing Information: Self-heal is considered hardy from zones 4a-9b. Prunella seeds are best off being cold-stratified for one month. This means you should put the self-heal seeds in moist paper towels in the fridge for a period of one month to simulate the effect of winter. The warming temperature will signal the seed that Spring is here and it is time to grow. Start your prunella vulgaris seeds in flats or trofts if you wish to transplant them. Your prunella seeds may also be sown directly outdoor in the Fall or early Spring. If sowing outdoors, you should be able to skip stratification since you will have the natural effect of seasonal warming. When seedlings are large enough to handle they can be transplanted to a final location. Usually the plant should have about six leaves at this point. Your prunella vulgaris plants can be kept in large pots or in the ground. Provide full sun or mild shade. Prunella vulgaris is drought-tolerant after its first season, but it will grow rapidly when given continual moisture.
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