Saturday, August 01, 2009

Wild Medicinal Salad

Common Self-heal
(Also called Allheal and Woundwort)
(Prunella vulgaris)

It's an intensely purple little wild herb which blooms in the midst of summer, and it's one we tend to overlook because it is short and the vividly green leaves blend in with field grasses and shorter species of clover. Encountering it in the field, I am always fascinated by the color and complexity of the flowers.

The mildly bitter leaves are wonderful in salad, and the name tells us something about the plant's properties and folklore. Reputed to have antiseptic, healing and antibacterial properties, prunella has been used by practitioners of native medicine on wounds for centuries, and in traditional Chinese medicine, it is employed as an antioxidant, immune stimulant, viral replication inhibitor and anti-inflammatory.


Rowan said...

I love selfheal, it's flowering everywhere at the moment, so pretty as well as useful.

Marcie said...

It is blooming in profussion here now... in my "lawn", my fields, and where it has sprung up in the garden. I love it and your photograph is perfect!

Jann said...

The selfheal grows in the Black Hills, too; I've seen other mints like catnip, but no selfheal so far. I look forward to seeing it again.