Prunella vulgaris

Heal-all, self-heal, selfheal, Aleutian selfheal, Lance selfheal

Description: perennial

Place of origin: North America, Asia, Africa, Europe

Urban habitat: commonly found in waste dump areas, roadsides, in urban meadows and at the edges of wooded areas.

Ecological functions: food and habitat for wildlife; tolerant of dry conditions and compacted soil.

History: Prunella vulgaris has a long history of human use in North America, starting with numerous Native American tribes using all parts of the plant medicinally to treat inflammation and pain and for a wide variety of ailments, including: fevers, eyes treatment, wounds, ulcers, burns, bruises, sore throat, diarrhea, colds, as a blood purifier, for gastrointestinal and gynecological ailments, asthma, depression, tuberculosis, goiter, gout, hepatitis, rheumatism, and venereal disease. The leaves were also consumed as food and drink by Cherokee peoples. An olive-green dye can be made from its stems and flowers. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K as well as flavonoids and rutin. Current research has revealed potential uses of the plant to treat AIDS and allergies. Despite its native status, it is often considered to be a weed because of its tendency to sprout in lawns.