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Prunella vulgaris is a common herb in Britain and is especially visible on lawns that have not been treated with weedkiller. The plant has a long history of medicinal use, and traditionally the leaves are applied to wounds to promote healing. According to the 16th-century herbalist John Gerard, 'there is not a better wounde herbe in the world'. The 17th-century botanist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that the plant is called selfheal because 'when you are hurt, you may heal yourself'.

[CPLC]

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Distribution
Naturalizada en Colombia; Alt. 2200 - 3900 m.; Andes, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Morphology General Habit
Hierba
Conservation
No Evaluada

[UPB]

The Useful Plants of Boyacá project

Ecology
Alt. 2200 - 3900 m.
Morphology General Habit
Herb.
Distribution
Naturalised in Colombia.
Conservation
Not Evaluated.

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Selfheal is a common herb in Britain and has a long history of medicinal use.

Prunella vulgaris is a common herb in Britain and is especially visible on lawns that have not been treated with weedkiller. The plant has a long history of medicinal use, and traditionally the leaves are applied to wounds to promote healing. According to the 16th-century herbalist John Gerard, 'there is not a better wounde herbe in the world'. The 17th-century botanist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that the plant is called selfheal because 'when you are hurt, you may heal yourself'.

Prior to World War II, it was used to staunch bleeding and for treating heart disease. A decoction of the leaves was used to treat sore throats and internal bleeding. It is used as an anti-inflammatory and has anti-allergic activity. In western medicine it is used externally for treating minor injuries, sores, burns, bruises and can also be used as a mouthwash to treat mouth ulcers.

Whereas in European countries herbalists have mainly used selfheal for treating wounds, in Chinese medicine it is mainly used for treating liver complaints, acting as a stimulant in the liver and gall bladder. Selfheal shows antiviral properties, and in China it is used as an anti-cancer drug.

Aside from its medical uses, Prunella vulgaris is a valuable addition to areas of grassland managed for wildflowers and wildlife, but can spread into cultivated areas if unchecked.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Temperate and subtropical northern hemisphere to Central America, and common throughout the British Isles.

Description

Overview: Prunella vulgaris is a perennial herb, with stems often square, crimson tinged, and erect to decumbent, up to 30 cm tall.

Leaves:  The leaves are shortly petiolate, narrowly ovate, margins entire or shallowly toothed.

Flowers: The flowers are purplish blue, rarely pink or white. Nutlets 4. Flowers from late spring until the autumn.

Threats and conservation

Prunella vulgaris is commonly found in a variety of habitats in the UK and is therefore not threatened.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: 11

Seed storage behaviour: Orthodox (the seeds of this plant survive being dried without significantly reducing their viability, and are therefore amenable to long-term frozen storage such as at the MSB)

Germination testing: Successful

Composition values: Oil content 19.2-24.2%, Protein 19-21.4%

Distribution
United Kingdom
Ecology
Grassland, wood-clearings, rough ground, lawns.
Conservation
Classified as Least Concern (LC) using IUCN Red List criteria
Hazards

No hazards currently known.

>

[UPB]
Use Medicines Unspecified Medicinal Disorders
Medicinal (State of the World's Plants 2016).

[KSP]
Use
Medicinal.

Native to:

Afghanistan, Alabama, Alaska, Albania, Alberta, Aleutian Is., Algeria, Altay, Amur, Arizona, Arkansas, Assam, Austria, Azores, Baleares, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, British Columbia, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, California, Canary Is., Cape Verde, Central European Rus, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colorado, Connecticut, Corse, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Delaware, Denmark, District of Columbia, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, East Himalaya, Finland, Florida, France, Føroyar, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Hainan, Hungary, Iceland, Idaho, Illinois, India, Indiana, Inner Mongolia, Iowa, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Japan, Kamchatka, Kansas, Kazakhstan, Kentucky, Khabarovsk, Kirgizstan, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Kriti, Krym, Kuril Is., Labrador, Lebanon-Syria, Louisiana, Madeira, Maine, Manchuria, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Mongolia, Montana, Morocco, Nansei-shoto, Nebraska, Nepal, Netherlands, Nevada, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Newfoundland, North Carolina, North Caucasus, North Dakota, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Norway, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Ontario, Oregon, Pakistan, Palestine, Pennsylvania, Poland, Portugal, Primorye, Prince Edward I., Qinghai, Québec, Rhode I., Romania, Sakhalin, Sardegna, Saskatchewan, Sicilia, Sinai, South Carolina, South Dakota, South European Russi, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Taiwan, Tennessee, Texas, Tibet, Transcaucasus, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Tuva, Ukraine, Utah, Uzbekistan, Vermont, Vietnam, Virginia, Washington, West Himalaya, West Siberia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia

Introduced into:

Amsterdam-St.Paul Is, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Argentina South, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Chatham Is., Chile Central, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Falkland Is., Haiti, Jamaica, Juan Fernández Is., New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Norfolk Is., Peru, Tristan da Cunha, Venezuela

English
Selfheal

Prunella vulgaris L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Harley, R.M. [20344], Brazil K001225987
Mooney, H.F. [4628], Lebanon K000283433
Hatschbach, G. [37941], Brazil K001225988
Hatschbach, G. [28507], Brazil K001225989
Hatschbach, G. [45556], Brazil K001225993
Krapovickas, A. [37596], Brazil K001225994
Lourteig, A. [2134], Brazil K001225986
Guinea, E. [195], Spain K000509440
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 2132], Nepal K001115273
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 2132], Nepal K001115274
Beguinot, A. [1743], Italy K000910751
Blinkworth, R. [Cat. no. 2132], India K001115272
Cope, T.A. [RBG 139], United Kingdom K000914344
Nennfelft, J. Ax. [17031], Sweden K000509442
Altamiro [48], Brazil K001225990
Leitão Filho, H.F. [1826], Brazil K001225992
Fiori, Andr. [1744], Italy K000910752
Casari, M.B. [185], Brazil K001225991
Monteiro, H. [s.n.], Brazil K001225985
Pedrosa, D.S. [930], Brazil K001225984

First published in Sp. Pl.: 600 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Arbo, M.M. & al. (2018). Flora Argentina. Flora vascular de la República Argentina 20(1): 1-488. INTA, IMBIV & IBODA.
  • Bernal, R., Gradstein, R.S. & Celis, M. (eds.) (2016). Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia 1-2: 1-3068. Libro impreso.
  • Jørgensen, P.M., Nee, M.H. & Beck., S.G. (eds.) (2013). Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127: 1-1741.
  • Davidse, G. & al. (eds.) (2012). Flora Mesoamericana 4(2): 1-533. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
  • Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2012). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 4: 1-431. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
  • Garcia-Mendoza, A.J. & Meave, J.A. (eds.) (2012). Diversidad florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas (colecciones y listas de especies), ed. 2: 1-351. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2010). Flora Iberica 12: 1-650. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
  • Aistova, E. (2009). Check-list of adventive flora of Amur region Turczaninowia 12(1-2): 17-40.
  • Gremmen, N. & Halbertsma, R.L. (2009). Alien plants and their impact on Tristan da Cunha 2: 1-307. Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP).
  • Malyschev, L.I. (ed.) (2006). Flora of Siberia 11: 1-310. Scientific Publishers, Inc., Enfield, Plymouth.
  • Danton, P. & Perrier, C. (2004). Liste de la Flore vasculaire de l'île Robinson Crusoe archipel Juan Fernández, Chili Journal de Botanique Société de Botanique de France 24: 67-78.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Broughton, D.A. & McAdam, J.H. (2002). The non-native vascular flora of the Falkland islands Botanical Journal of Scotland 54: 153-190.
  • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.
  • Van Heurck, H. & De Beucker, J.I. (1861). Antwerpsche Analytische Flora 1: 1-192. Drukkerij der weduwe Jos. Van Ishoven, Antwerpen.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Bown, D. (2008). The Royal Horticultural Society encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  • Mabberley, D.J. (2008). M abberley’s Plant-book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses. 3rd Ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Williamson, E.M. (2003). Potter’s Herbal Cyclopedia. C.W. Daniel, Saffron Walden.
  • Usher, G. (1974). A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable, London.
  • Gerard, J. (1633). The Herbal; or General Historie of Plants: The Complete 1633 Edition. Dover, New York.

Useful Plants of Boyacá Project

  • Kew’s Economic Botany collection in The State of the World’s Plants Report–2016. (2016). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew https://stateoftheworldsplants.org/2016/

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Martínez-Gordillo, M. & al. (2019). Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Lamiaceae: 1-233. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  • Bernal, R., Gradstein, R.S. & Celis, M. (eds.) (2016). Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia 1-2: 1-3068. Libro impreso.
  • Jørgensen, P.M., Nee, M.H. & Beck., S.G. (eds.) (2013). Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127: 1-1741.
  • Davidse, G. & al. (eds.) (2012). Flora Mesoamericana 4(2): 1-533. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
  • Garcia-Mendoza, A.J. & Meave, J.A. (eds.) (2012). Diversidad florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas (colecciones y listas de especies), ed. 2: 1-351. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2010). Flora Iberica 12: 1-650. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
  • Gremmen, N. & Halbertsma, R.L. (2009). Alien plants and their impact on Tristan da Cunha 2: 1-307. Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP).
  • Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008). Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela: 1-859. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
  • Danton, P. & Perrier, C. (2004). Liste de la Flore vasculaire de l'île Robinson Crusoe archipel Juan Fernández, Chili Journal de Botanique Société de Botanique de France 24: 67-78.
  • Broughton, D.A. & McAdam, J.H. (2002). The non-native vascular flora of the Falkland islands Botanical Journal of Scotland 54: 153-190.
  • Orchard, A.E. (ed.) (1994). Oceanic Islands 1 Flora of Australia 49: 1-681. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.
  • Britton, N. (1918). Flora of Bermuda: 1-585. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Useful Plants of Boyacá Project
ColPlantA database
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0