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Prunella (plant)
Prunella vulgaris - harilik käbihein.jpg
Prunella vulgaris (Common Self-heal)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Prunella
L.
Synonyms
  • Brunella Mill.
  • Prunellopsis Kudô

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

Habitat

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. Prunellas 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 by dividing clumps in spring or autumn.

Species
  1. Prunella albanica Pénzes - Albania
  2. Prunella × bicolor Beck - parts of Europe (P. grandiflora × P. laciniata)
  3. Prunella × codinae Sennen - Spain (P. hyssopifolia × P. laciniata)
  4. Prunella cretensis Gand. - Crete
  5. Prunella × gentianifolia Pau - Spain (P. hyssopifolia × P. vulgaris)
  6. Prunella grandiflora (L.) Scholler - central + southern Europe from Caucasus to Russia; Caucasus
  7. Prunella hyssopifolia L. - Spain, France, Italy, Morocco
  8. Prunella × intermedia Link - central + southwestern Europe (P. laciniata × P. vulgaris)
  9. Prunella laciniata (L.) L - central + southern Europe, North Africa, Middle East
  10. Prunella orientalis Bornm. - Turkey, Syria
  11. Prunella prunelliformis (Maxim.) Makino - Japan
  12. Prunella × surrecta Dumort. - central + southwestern Europe (P. grandiflora × P. vulgaris)
  13. Prunella vulgaris L. - widespread in Europe, North Africa, Asia, North America; naturalized in New Zealand parts of South America

Subspecies are

  • Prunella vulgaris ssp. aleutica (Fernald) Hultén – Aleutian selfheal
  • Prunella vulgaris ssp. lanceolata (W. Bartram) Hultén – lance selfheal
  • Prunella vulgaris ssp. vulgaris (L.) – common selfheal

Uses

Traditional medicine

Dried Prunella
Traditional Chinese 夏枯草
Simplified Chinese 夏枯草

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. Prunella is also used for halitosis, especially when combined with other herbs (e.g. perilla, field mint, etc.). [1]

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 used as an ingredient in some bodybuilding supplements.

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