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Allheal SelfHeal

    

Genus and Species:
Prunella vulgaris.

Other Posible Synonyms:

P. vulgaris ssp. lanceolata, P. vulgaris ssp. vulgaris, P. vulgaris var. atropurpurea, P. vulgaris var. calvescens, P. vulgaris var. elongata, P. vulgaris var. hispida, P. vulgaris var. lanceolata, P. vulgaris var. minor, P. vulgaris var. nana, P. vulgaris var. parviflora, P. vulgaris var. rouleauiana

Related species:

P. grandiflora is though to have the same properties.

Parts Used Medicinally:

Leaves and flowers-aerial portions.

FAMILY:

Labiatae.

Also Known As
:

All-Heal, blue curls, brownwort, brunella, Carpenters's Herb, Carpenter's weed, Heal-all, Heart of the Earth, Hercules Woundwort, Hock-Heal, hood weed, Hook-heal, panay, Prunella, selfheal, sicklewort, siclewort, slough-heal, Woundwort (is also used by other herbs such as St. Johns'wort, comfrey, and yarrow).

Chinese name: Xia Ku Cao
Danish name: Almindelig Brunelle
Finnish name: Niittyhumala
Gaelic name: dubhan ceann chosach/dubhanuith(translates to dark healing plant)
German names: Brunella vulgaris/Gemeine Braunelle/Kleine Braunelle/Kleine Prunelle
Irish Gaelic: Tae Na Ngarraithe, Du'ain'in An Tseanchais
Japanese name: UTSUBO GUSA, or KAKO SO

Norwegian name: Blakoll
Swedish name: Brunort
Welsh: Lluellin

Drug: Prunellae vulgaris herba

Energy and Flavor
:

Sweet, acrid, slightly bitter, spicy, cold.

Systems Affected:

Blood, Liver, Gall badder, lung.

Bodily Influence:

Alterative; Antibacterial; Antibiotic; Antipyretic; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Astringent; Carminative; Cholagogue, Diuretic; Febrifuge; Hypotensive; Pungent, Stomachic; Styptic; Tonic; Vermifuge; Vulnerary.

Biochemical Constitutions:

Essential oil, bitter principle, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rutin, hyperoside, caffeic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin k and tannin.

The flowers contain the glycosides of delphinidin, Lyanidin, d--camphor, d-fenchone, and ursolic acid.

Prunellin, an aqueous extract of the herb, has been identified as an active antiviral compound.

Agueous extracts have the most antiviral activity(Yamasaki et al., 1996)


History:
If one is to believe Pliny, The kings ofParthia had a special scent prepared for them, which was simply called 'The Royal'. It consists of many ingredients, none of them being rose, but of them exotic seen from the point of view of Rome. Pliny, of course is only one source, and he does not provide details, except a list of the ingredients that went into a base oil made from the shells of the nut of Moringa, the tree that grew in Upper Egypt, Ethiopia and Arabia, though vast imports of the oil from Phoenicia and Asia Minor are recorded. Honey and wine are mentioned. The list of the ingredients are: costus, amomum (spice plant similar to cardamom), cinnamon, cardamom, spilenard, cat-thyme, myrrh, cassia, styrax, ladanum, opobalsamum, sweet flagm camel grass, wild grape, cinnamon leaves, serichatrum (Arabian aromatic shrub), henna, aspalathos, all-heal (since all-heal can refer to many different herbs-not sure if this is in referrance to Prunella, since only the common name is use), crocus, cyperus grass, marjoram, jujube (Ziziphus lotus, not to be confused with the Egyptian lotus flowers). It is assumed that the preparation was a token of reverance to the rulers of the world of that time.

Originally, Prunella was called Brunella, from the German bruen meaning quinsy, a disorder of the throat, for which this plant was considered a certain cure. Vulgaris comes from vulgus, of the common people. Both refer to the ancient belief in the healing powers of this plant.

Prunella is evidently the way Linnaeus heard its German name Brunella, a word which was intended to indicate that the weed was used in case of Braune, the German name for quinsy. That was one ailment the plant was actually used for. Its leaves were bruised and bound on throats suffering with quinsy.

The U.S. Dispensatory says, "It was formerly used in hemorrhage and diarrhoea and as a gargle in sore throat." The hemorrhage and diarrhea use was derived from the Indians. They used it "in cases of dysentery, especially for babies."

In the past, the flower spikes were considered to resemble the throat, and under the
Doctrine of Signatures
theory, whereby plants cured those parts of the body that they most resembled, self-heal was also used for inflammations of the mouth and throat.

Although there is doubt as to whether it was listed by Aelfric (called Grammaticus; The "Grammarian" 955-1020?), was an English abbot and author. The plant was certainly known to the Anglo-Saxons.

Its common names, sicklewort and hook-heal, come from the resemblance to the upper part of the flower to a billhook or sickle (this, according to the
Doctrine of Signatures'
, was an outward sigh of the plant's use as a healer of accidental wounds). As the throat was also discerned in the shape of the flower, seflheal was also used to treat diseases of the throat, Indeed, its botanical name Prunella is derived from the German for quinsy.

My understanding of quinsy is that it is a severe acute inflammation of the tonsil and peritonsillar tissue with swelling, fever, and generation of pus (Peritonsillar absess) accompanied by chills, fever, painful swallowing, swollen throat and tongue, and dry mouth. It may induce panic if the tightening in the throat area makes breathing difficult. The abcess may rupture spontaneously,. Surgical incision may be required.

Although selfheal had various medicinal uses, including being a traditional cure for sore throats, in medieval England it was primarily regarded as a wound herb. 'There is not a better Wound herbe,' says Gerard (1597), 'in the world than that of SelfHeale is, the very name importing it to be very admirable upon this account and indeed the Virtues doe make it good, for this very herbe without the mixture of any other ingredient, being onely bruised and wrought with the point of a knife upon a trencher or the like, will be brought into the form of a salve, which will heal any green wounde even in the first intention, after a very wonderful manner, The decoction of Prunell made with wine and water doth join together and make whole and sound all wounds, both inward and outward, even as Bugle doth. To be short, it serveth for the same that the Bugle serveth and in the world there are not two better wound herbs as hath been often proved.'

Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654) writes:
"This is under Venus, and is a special remedy for inward wounds and outward wounds. Taken in syrups for inward wounds; for outward wounds in unguents and plasters. It is like Bugle in form and qualities, answers the same purpose, and if accompanied with it and sanicle, and other wound herbs, it is more effectual to wash any wounds or inject into ulcers in the parts outwardly. Where the sharp humours of sores, ulcers, inflammations or swelling need to be repressed, this compound will be effectual; it will also stay the flux of blood from wounds, and solder up their lips, and cleanse the foulness of sores, and speedily heal them. It is a remedy for green wounds. Anoint the temples and forehead with the juice and the oil of roses, to remove the head-ache; the same mixed with honey of roses, cleanses and heals all ulcers in the mouth and throat, and those also in the secret parts."

William Cole, wrote in 'Adam in Eden"(1657), says: 'It is called by modern writers (for neither the ancient Greek nor Latin writers knew it) Brunella, from Brunellen, which is a name given unto it by the Germans, because it cureth that inflammation of the mouth which they call "die Breuen," yet the general name of it in Latin nowadays is Prunella, as being a word of a more gentile pronunciation.' Cole further explains that the disease in question 'is common to soldiers when they Iye in camp, but especially in garrisons, coming with an extraordinary inflammation or swelling, as well in the mouth as throat, the very signature of the Throat which the form of the Floures so represent signifying as much' - an instance of the doctrine of signatures of which William Cole was such a ready exponent.

The Irish herbalist John K'Eogh stated that self-heal "heals all internal and external wounds, removes obstructions of the liver and gall, and is therefore good for jaundice"(1735).

In China this herb is regarded as being very specific for the liver and gallbladder; cooling in over-heated conditions and soothing to the eyes, which the Chinese associate with liver in traditional theory. The slang phrase "gung-ho" is derived from the Chinese for "liver fire", gan hao; self-heal is ideal for cooling this overexuberance.

According to Chinese folklore medicine, P. vulgaris is still used for conditons such as infectious hepatits, jaundice, TB, cancer, pleuritis with effusion, and bacillary dysentery(Lee et al., 1988)

A story on self-heal from Henry Lu:
The mother of a mayor suffered from scrofula with a swollen neck. All the doctors said there was no cure for it. One day, however, an herbalist came along who told the mayor that he knew of an herb that could cure this disease.
The herbalist climbed a nearby mountain to pick the herb and brought it to the mayor for decoction and it indeed cured the patient.

Prior to his departure, the herbalist told the mayor that the herb grew only during the summer and that it would be gone when the summer was over.

In the winter of the following year, the governor suffered from scrofula with a swollen neck. The mayor was eagar to help, so he told the governor about the herb that had cured his mother. The mayor climbed the mountain to pick the plants, but he couldn't find any growing there and returned home empty-handed. Naturally, the governor was terribly disappointed and the mayor felt very embarrassed.

When the herbalist returned in the summer, the mayor blamed him for his failure to find the herb. "I made it a point to tell you before I left that this herb cannot be found after the summer is over", said the herbalist. And so, the herb was named "see-me-not-after-summer" to remind herbalists that it grows only during the summer.

In the book "Back to Eden " Kloss says it is excellent for epilepsy, convulsions, falling sickness, and obstruction of the liver, and especially useful for internal and external bleeding. He also mention an old Italian proverb "He that hath self-heal and sanicle needs no other Physician".

American Indian Reference:

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Algonquin, Quebec Drug (Febrifuge)
Infusion of leaves used for fevers.
Black, Meredith Jean 1980 Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada . Mercury Series Number 65 (224)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Bella Coola Drug (Heart Medicine)
Weak decoction of roots, leaves and blossoms taken for the heart.
Smith, Harlan I. 1929 Materia Medica of the Bella Coola and Neighboring Tribes of British Columbia. National Museum of Canada Bulletin 56:47-68 (63)

Prunella vulgaris L.
; Lamiaceae
Blackfoot Drug (Dermatological Aid)
Infusion of plant used to wash a burst boil.
Hellson, John C. 1974 Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada . Mercury Series (78)

Prunella vulgaris L.
; Lamiaceae
Blackfoot Drug (Dermatological Aid)
Infusion of plant applied to neck sores.
Hellson, John C. 1974 Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada . Mercury Series (78)

Prunella vulgaris L.
; Lamiaceae
Blackfoot Drug (Eye Medicine)
Infusion of plant used as an eyewash to keep the eyes moist on cold or windy days.
Hellson, John C. 1974 Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada . Mercury Series (82)

Prunella vulgaris L.
; Lamiaceae
Blackfoot Drug (Veterinary Aid)
Infusion of plant used for saddle and back sores on horses.
Hellson, John C. 1974 Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada . Mercury Series (90)

Prunella vulgaris L.
; Lamiaceae
Blackfoot Drug (Veterinary Aid)
Infusion of plant used as an eyewash for horses.
Hellson, John C. 1974 Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada . Mercury Series (90)

Prunella vulgaris L.
; Lamiaceae
Catawba Drug (Misc. Disease Remedy)
Plant used in certain diseases.
Speck, Frank G. 1937 Catawba Medicines and Curative Practices. Publications of the Philadelphia Anthropological Society 1:179-197 (191)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Cherokee Drug (Adjuvant)
Cold infusion used as a wash for burns and used to flavor other medicines.
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey 1975 Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co. (54)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Cherokee Drug (Burn Dressing)
Cold infusion used as a wash for burns and used to flavor other medicines.
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey 1975 Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co. (54)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Cherokee Drug (Dermatological Aid)
Infusion of root used as wash for bruises, diabetic sores, cuts and acne.
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey 1975 Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co. (54)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Chippewa Drug (Cathartic)
Compound decoction of root taken as a physic.
Densmore, Frances 1928 Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #44:273-379 (346)

Prunella vulgaris L.
; Lamiaceae
Cree, Hudson Bay Drug (Throat Aid)
Plant used or herb chewed for sore throats.
Holmes, E.M. 1884 Medicinal Plants Used by Cree Indians, Hudson's Bay Territory . The Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions 15:302-304 (303)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Delaware Drug (Febrifuge)
Plant tops used to make a cooling drink and body wash for fevers.
Tantaquidgeon, Gladys 1972 Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Harrisburg . Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers #3 (37)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Delaware, Oklahoma Drug (Febrifuge)
Liquid made from plant tops taken and used as a wash for fever.
Tantaquidgeon, Gladys 1942 A Study of Delaware Indian Medicine Practice and Folk Beliefs. Harrisburg . Pennsylvania Historical Commission (31, 78)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Analgesic)
Infusion of plant taken for backaches.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (425)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Antidiarrheal)
Decoction of plants taken for colds, coughs and diarrhea.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (423)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Antiemetic)
Decoction of plants taken for vomiting and diarrhea.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Blood Medicine)
Compound decoction of roots and shoots taken as a blood purifier.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Cold Remedy)
Decoction of plants taken for colds, coughs and diarrhea.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (423)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Cough Medicine)
Decoction of plants taken for colds, coughs and diarrhea.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (423)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Emetic)
Decoction of whole plant taken as an emetic.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (425)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Febrifuge)
Decoction of plants taken for fevers and shortness of breath.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Gastrointestinal Aid)
Infusion of plants taken for stomach cramps and biliousness.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (423)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Gastrointestinal Aid)
Compound infusion of roots and plants taken for upset stomachs.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Gastrointestinal Aid)
Infusion of plant taken for biliousness.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (425)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Gynecological Aid)
Decoction of whole plant taken to strengthen the womb.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (425)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Hemorrhoid Remedy)
Compound decoction of roots taken and used as wash for piles.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Misc. Disease Remedy)
Plant used for sugar diabetes.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (425)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Orthopedic Aid)
Compound decoction of plants used as steam bath for sore legs or stiff knees.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Orthopedic Aid)
Infusion of plant taken for backaches.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (425)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Panacea)
Infusion of plant taken for any ailment.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (425)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Pediatric Aid)
Compound infusion of plants given to babies that cry too much.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Psychological Aid)
Compound infusion of plants taken for sickness caused by grieving.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Pulmonary Aid)
Decoction or infusion of roots taken for shortness of breath.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Respiratory Aid)
Infusion of roots taken for heaves or shortness of breath.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Sedative)
Compound infusion of plants given to babies that cry too much.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany , PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Tuberculosis Remedy)
Compound decoction of roots taken for consumption.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Iroquois Drug (Venereal Aid)
Compound decoction of roots and shoots taken for venereal disease.
Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (424)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Menominee Drug (Antidiarrheal)
Infusion of stalk used, especially good for babies, for dysentery.
Densmore, Francis 1932 Menominee Music. SI-BAE Bulletin #102 (131)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Menominee Drug (Pediatric Aid)
Infusion of stalk used, especially good for babies, for dysentery.
Densmore, Francis 1932 Menominee Music. SI-BAE Bulletin #102 (131)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Mohegan Drug (Febrifuge)
"Drink" made from leaves taken and used as a wash for fevers.
Tantaquidgeon, Gladys 1972 Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Harrisburg . Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers #3 (74, 13)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Ojibwa Drug (Gynecological Aid)
Compound containing root used as a female remedy.
Smith, Huron H. 1932 Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of Milwaukee 4:327-525 (372)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal-all; Lamiaceae
Ojibwa Drug (Hunting Medicine)
Root, sharpened the powers of observation, used to make a tea to drink before going hunting.
Smith, Huron H. 1932 Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of Milwaukee 4:327-525 (430)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Quileute Drug (Dermatological Aid)
Plant used for boils.
Gunther, Erna 1973 Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Seattle. University of Washington Press. Revised edition (45)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Quinault Drug (Dermatological Aid)
Plant juice rubbed on boils.
Gunther, Erna 1973 Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Seattle. University of Washington Press. Revised edition (45)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Self Heal; Lamiaceae
Salish, Coast Drug (Dermatological Aid)
Leaves used for boils, cuts, bruises and skin inflammations.
Turner, Nancy C. and M. A. M. Bell 1971 The Ethnobotany of the Coast Salish Indians of Vancouver Island, I and II. Economic Botany 25(1):63-104, 335-339 (84)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Thompson Drug (Tonic)
Hot or cold infusion of plant taken as a tonic for general indisposition.
Steedman, E.V. 1928 The Ethnobotany of the Thompson Indians of British Columbia . SI-BAE Annual Report #45:441-522 (471)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Self Heal; Lamiaceae
Cherokee Food (Vegetable)
Small leaves used as a potherb.
Perry, Myra Jean 1975 Food Use of "Wild" Plants by Cherokee Indians. The University of Tennessee, M.S. Thesis (44)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Selfheal; Lamiaceae
Cherokee Food (Vegetable)
Leaves cooked and eaten as greens.
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey 1975 Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co. (54)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Terrapin Paw; Lamiaceae
Cherokee Food (Vegetable)
Leaves cooked with sochan, creaseys and other potherbs and eaten.
Witthoft, John 1977 Cherokee Indian Use of Potherbs. Journal of Cherokee Studies 2(2):250-255 (253)

Prunella vulgaris L.
Heal All; Lamiaceae
Thompson Food (Beverage)
Plant soaked in cold water and used as one of the most common drinks.
Steedman, E.V. 1928 The Ethnobotany of the Thompson Indians of British Columbia . SI-BAE Annual Report #45:441-522 (494)

Other Uses:

An olive-green dye is obtained from the flowers and stems.

Plant-Animal Interdependence:

Although self-heal is not a primary forage plant, most herbivores will eat it. The rhizomes are soil aerator and help allow the introduction of beneficial organisms. The flowers attract pollinators, drawing them down where other plants will benefit, too. Where self-heal grows in abundance on the shoulders of roadways, it helps prevent erosion and collects some of the toxic compounds that otherwise would be washed into adjacent habitats.

Uses Traditional Herbalist Believe:

Prunella has been used for the treatment of sore throat, colic, gas, diarrhea, hemorrhage, and boils.

Addiction:
The flower essence of this herb provides healing support and inspires confidence in one's abilities to break an addictive habit, thereby providing an important emotional support.

ALL-SAINT'S TEA:

This comes from Dukes site:
Mix all-heal(Prunella vulgaris (in clinical trials for AIDS)), with shoots of various species of flowering Hypericum, especially St. John's-wort(Hypericum perforatum), and St. Peter's-wort(Hypericum hypericoides), with proven antiretroviral activity.

The patient him or herself should collect the plants on St. John's Day, June 24, and extract them in an hydroalcoholic tincture. Additionally, the patient should extract the flowers of Hypericum by steeping in evening primrose oil until the oil turns blood-colored. (NOTE: Prunella is a well recognized antioxidant food plant, used in teas and as a potherb, or added to salads, soups and stews.

Of the Hypericums, only Hypericum perforatum is GRAF; Facciola says of it: The herb and fruit are sometimes used as a tea. Flowers can be used for making mead."

Breast Cancer:

Tonifying herbs in Breast Cancer? include:
Barberry bark, burdock root, chaga, chaste tree berries, cronewort (mugwort), dandelion root, echinacea root, elecomapane root, fennel seeds, garlic, ginkgo leaves, ginseng root, ground ivy, hawthorn berries, horsetail herb, lady's mantle herb, lemon balm, milk thistle seeds, motherwort herb, mullein leaves, parsley, pau d'arco, peony root, raspberry leaves, redroot, schisandra berries, self-heal, sundew, St. Joan's wort, turmeric root, usnea, wild yam root, and yellow dock root.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has many formulas for helping women with breast cancer. Ideally, a formula is created for you individually. Some of the many nourishing herbs that might be included are astragalus, dandelion, ginseng, ginger, licorice, orange peel, self-heal, seaweed (especially fucus), and violet.

Chinese:
The aerial parts are astringent and antiseptic and may reduce blood pressure. It is used to treat sore throats, TB, bleeding gums, hemorrhoids, and heavy menstruation.

In China , the antiseptic, cooling flower spikes are considered a liver and gallbladder stimulant, and treat the symptoms associated with an unbalanced liver, including hypertension and conjunctivitis.

It has been used medicinally to cure many ailments. Such as the treatment of boils, gas, colic, sore throat, hemorrahages, and diarrhea. It is much esteemed for healing wounds as it is an effective astringent, thus useful in stopping the flow of blood from a cut or wound.

It is also used in China in the treatment of cancer because of its anti-tumor properties.

Prunella spike (Xiakucao)
Pharmaceutical Name: Spica Prunellae
Botanical Name: Prunella vulgaris L.
Common Name: Prunella spike, Selfheal spike
Source of Earliest Record: Shennong Bencao Jing
Part Used & Method for Pharmaceutical Preparations: The spikes are gathered in summer and dried in the sun.
Properties & Taste: Bitter, pungent and cold
Meridians: Liver and gall bladder

Functions: To clear the fire in the liver. To dissipate accumulation of nodules. To quench fire of the liver and counteract inflammation of the eye, and to reduce modulation and induce subsidence of swelling.

Indications & Combinations:
1. Flaring up of liver fire manifested as red, painful, swollen and watery eyes, headache and dizziness. Prunella spike (Xiakucao) is used with Sea-ear shell (Shijueming) and Chrysanthemum flower (Juhua).
2. Accumulation of phlegm-fire manifested as scrofula, lipoma, swollen glands or goiter. Prunella spike (Xiakucao) is used with Oyster shell (Muli), Scrophularia (Xuanshen) and Laminaria (Kunbu).

Dosage: 10-15 g

Digestion:

As a gentle astringent it can be used internally for diarrhea, hemmorrhoids or mild hemmorhages.

Eyes:

An infusion is used for very weak, hot, tired eyes or conjunctivitis.

Flower Essence:

Self-heal assists the healing process. When there is little belief in recovery, it can connect to an inner source of healing strength and intuition.

Grave's Disease:

Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus) and lemon balm are usually used together for Grave's disease. Make an infusion of 2 parts lemon balm to one part of each of bugleweed, mint, rosemary, self-heal and verbena.

Hyperactivity:

Self-Heal & Wood Betony Tea

Ingredients:
10 g dried self-heal spikes (Xia Ku Cau - Prunella vulgaris)
5 g dried wood betony (Stachys betonica)
5 g dried borage (Borago officinalis)
500 ml water
2-3 drops licorice fluid extract (Glycyrrhiza glabra) or peppermint emultion (Mentha piperita) per dose

Place the dried herbs in a teapot and add freshly boiled water. Steep for 10 minutes and strain. The surplus can be stored in a covered jug in a cool place for up to 48 hours.

Dosage: Give a 100-150 ml dose for 3-6 year olds 3 times a day. Flavor with licorice extract or peppermint emulsion (available over the counter) as required.

Menstrual:

Infusion for women with heavy menstrual flow, and is applied topically to treat leucorrhea-vaginal discharge. A tincture can be used for all sorts of bleeding, including heavy menstruation and blood in the urine.

Shingles:

For shingles it is recommended to try a combination of lemon balm, oregano, hyssop, peppermint, rosemary, sage, self-heal, spearmint or thyme.

Skin Problems:

A tea infusion can be taken internally for eczema and psoriasis.

Historically, self-heal has been used as a medicine for nearly everything. Modern herbalists know it as and excellent topical emollient, astringent, and vulnerary agent. It is an ingredient in several commercial all-purpose salves, ointments, and lotions intended to sooth and speed the healing of minor burns,wounds, and other irritations.

For the outdoors enthusiast, the juice of a crushed stem or two will sooth stinging nettle stings, minor bouts with poison ivy, insect bites, and stings, and various other trail annoyances.

Internally, herbalists use the tea to relieve gastritis and diarrhea, and to add in the healing of digestive ulceration.
Self-heal contains ursolic acid, a compound that has diuretic and antitumor qualities. Researches are investigating self-heal in cancer studies.

For use in salves, self-heal combines well with Saint John's wort and chickweed.

For treating digestive tract disorders, consider using cleavers, catnip, pineapple weed, chickweed, plantain, shepherd's purse, or uva ursi as possible alternatives.

For specific treatment of stomach ulcers, herbalists sometimes combine juice from self-heal with juice from cleavers.

Other plants utilized for boils by the Indians include blue flax, which was favored by the Paiute and Shoshoni tribes; the common self-heal, a remedy of the Quileute Indians of Washington;which was emplayed as a poultice for boils, burns, and inflammations by the early settlers who may have improvised from an Indian remedy; Virginia anemone, the root of which was pulverized and applied as a wet poultice by the Menmominees; and the glacier lily, which was a favorite boil medicine of the Blackfoot Indians. The root of this last-named plant was also pulverized and applied as a wet dressing on skin sores.

Teeth and gums:

Tea as a mouthwash and gargle for sore throats, healing ulcers, bleeding gums and any other inflammation of the mouth.

A tincture can be made for bleeding gums-add 1 tsp to 20 ml of water and use as a mothwash.

Tonic:

An infusion of the herb, made from 1 ounce. to a pint of boiling water, and taken in doses of a wine-glassful, is considered a general strengthener; a spring tonic, or as a general tonic in convalescence.

Sweetened with honey, it is good for a sore and relaxed throat or ulcerated mouth, for both of which purposes it also makes a good gargle.

Wounds:

Self-heal works best when the fresh plant is used on fresh clean wounds/sprains, good for slow-healing wounds that refuse to close.

Some herbalists recommend when using the fresh plant mix a few leaves of fresh plantain to the poultice.

Since self-heal can draw skin together quickly,
you need to make sure the wound is clean.


Can be used as a tea wash.

For bleeding piles it can be used in a lotion or oinment.

HEALING:


Allergies/Inflammation:

Korean researchers have isolated compounds that may be responsible for the traditional uses of self-heal to treat inflammation and allergies.

The researchers isolated four organic acids, including betulinic and ursolic acid, which were found to have a strong inhibitory activity against allergenic tests systems in the laboratory. One of the acids was found to be as potent as clinically used anti-allergic drugs.

Ursolic acid was found to be the most important anti-inflammatory compound in the plant. Previous studies on ursolic acid have reported anti-tumor and diuretic activity.

Traditionally, the leaf tea was used as a gargle for sore throats and mouth sores and internally for asthma, fevers, and diarrhea. Externally, a wash of the tea or poultice is used for ulcers, wounds, bruises, and sores.

In China , a tea made from the flowering plant is considered cooling and is used to treat heat in the liver and aid circulation.

Science confirms that self-heal helps dilate the bronchial tubes and plantain preparations are widely used in Europe to treat bronchitis and bronchial spasms.

The herb is approved in Germany for treatment of catarrh of the upper respiratory tract and inflamed mucous membranes of the mouth and throat.

Earlier research suggests that self-heal possesses antibiotic, hypotensive, and antimutagenic qualities. Like several mint family members, it contains high levels of natural antioxidant components.

Antioxidant:

[Medicinal Lamiaceae with antioxidant properties, a potential source of rosmarinic acid]. [Article in French]
Lamaison JL, Petitjean-Freytet C, Carnat A Laboratoire de Pharmacognosie et Phytotherapie, Faculte de Pharmacie, Clermont-Ferrand .
Hydroalcholic extracts from four native medicinal Lamiaceae, Lycopus europaeus L., Melissa officinalis L., Origanum vulgare L. and Prunella vulgaris L. have shown significant antioxidative activities, by free radical scavenger effect on DPPH, compared with those of Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Salvia officinalis L. extracts. The antioxidative activity was partly in relation to the rosmarinic acid content. The major hydroxycinnamic compound, quantitatively determinated by HPLC, was present in large amount. The content in Prunella vulgaris L. spikes average 6.1%, based on dry weight

Antioxidative and free radical scavenging activities of selected medicinal herbs.
Liu F, Ng TB Department of Microbiology, Nankai University, Tianjin, China .
The antioxidative and superoxide- and hydroxyl radical-scavenging activities and pro-oxidant effect of twelve selected medicinal herbs were studied. The aqueous extracts of Coptis chinensis, Paeonia suffruticosa, Prunella vulgaris and Senecio scandens exhibited the highest potency in inhibiting rat erythrocyte hemolysis and lipid peroxidation in rat kidney and brain homogenates. The aforementioned four herbs also demonstrated strong superoxide- and hydroxyl radical-scavenging activity, but exerted only a slight pro-oxidant effect.

[Prunella vulgaris L.--a rediscovered medicinal plant].
[Article in Czech] Markova H, Sousek J, Ulrichova J Katedra chemie Prirodovedecke fakulty Ostravske univerzity, Ostrava.
In the past, the self-heal (Prunella vulgaris L.) was primarily used as a remedy alleviating pains in the throat, fevers and accelerating wound healing. A high content of rosmarinic acid, immunomodulation effects of the polysaccharide prunelline and antiviral activity of some constituents make the plant interesting from the viewpoint of therapeutical applications. The paper summarizes the contemporary phytochemical knowledge about the self-heal and the results of pharmacological studies of the extracts and pure substances from this plant.

Blood Pressure:

Studies in China indicate that self-heal has a mild dilating effect on the blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure.

Cancer:

In vitro studies in human lung carcinoma and lymphocytic leukemia showed ursolic acid to have significant cytotoxic activity (Lee et al., 1988). Ursolic acid has shown marginal cytotoxic activity in human colon and mammary tumor cells.

Antimutagenic activity of extracts from anticancer drugs in Chinese medicine.

Lee H, Lin JY Department of Biochemistry, Chung Shan Medical and Dental College, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China.
The antimutagenic activities of extracts of 36 commonly used anticancer crude drugs from Chinese herbs were studied by using the Salmonella/microsomal system in the presence of picrolonic acid or benzo[a]pyrene to test whether they contain direct or indirect antimutagens. Each crude drug was extracted with boiling water for 2 h, the method which is commonly used by Chinese people to prepare the drug for oral intake.

The extracts of Pteris multifida P. showed the highest antimutagenic activity against picrolonic acid-induced mutation.

The extracts of 6 other different kinds of Chinese herbs were shown to have a moderate antimutagenic activity against picrolonic acid-induced mutation, and they are: Actinidia chinensis P., Artemisia lavendulaefolia DC. and Crotalaria sessiflora L., Prunella vulgaris L., Paris polyphylla S. and Ampelopsis brevipedunculata T. The extracts of Smilax china L., Prunella vulgaris L. and Actinidia chinensis P. were demonstrated to inhibit the mutagenicity of benzo[a]pyrene completely.

The 12 other kinds of extracts of Chinese herbs which had a moderate antimutagenic activity against benzo[a]pyrene were: Pteris polyphylla S., Ampelopsis brevipedunculata T., Duchesnea indica F., Gossypium herbaceum L., Lithospermum erythrorrhizon SZ., Artemisia lavendulaefolia DC., Selaginella doederleinii H., Dianthus superbus L., Centipeda minima ABA., Curcuma zedoaria R., Marsdenia tenacissima WA. and Kalopanax septemlobus K. Among them, there were 5 kinds of crude drugs, Actinidia chinensis P., Artemisia lavendulaefolia DC., Prunella vulgaris L., Paris polyphylla S. and Ampelopsis brevipedunculata T., containing antimutagenic factors against both picrolonic acid- and benzo[a]pyrene-induced mutation.

Moderate inhibition of mutagenicity and carcinogenicity of benzo[a]pyrene, 1,6-dinitropyrene and 3,9-dinitrofluoranthene by Chinese medicinal herbs.

Horikawa K, Mohri T, Tanaka Y, Tokiwa H Department of Health Sciences, Fukuoka Institute of Health and Environmental Sciences, Japan.
The activity of six Chinese medicinal herbs against the environmental mutagens and carcinogens benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), 1,6-dinitropyrene (1,6-diNP) and 3,9-dinitrofluoranthene (3,9-diNF) was determined. Samples of Prunella spica, Rheum palmatum, Polygonum multiflorum, Agrimonia pilosa, Ephedra sinica and Teitoutou were tested in an in vitro system.

Antimutagenic activity against B[a]P was marked in the presence of extracts (boiled for 2 h in a water bath) whereas that against 1,6-diNP and 3,9-diNF varied from 20 to 86%. The differences in inhibition might be due to inactivation of metabolic enzymes. An extract of P. multiflorum was divided into ether, ethyl acetate and water soluble fractions, which were tested for antimutagenic activity against B[a]P. The antimutagenic action of the ethyl acetate soluble fraction was substantial and dose-dependent. Tannins and related compounds were the major components of the extract, of which epigallocatechin, epigallocatechin gallate, epicatechin gallate and tannic acid strongly inhibited the mutagenicity of B[a]P (2.5 micrograms/plate) in Salmonella typhimurium TA98 with S9 mix. To confirm the results of the in vitro test system, F344/DuCrj male rats were given a subcutaneous injection of B[a]P. Thereafter, they received water extracts of the six Chinese medicinal herbs for 50 weeks and were examined for tumors.

The P. multiflorum extract significantly reduced the tumor incidence.

Graves's Diease:

A quarter-pound serving of self-heal greens with bugleweed tubers, spiced with basil, oregano, rosemary and spearmint, should contain significant quantities of the compound rosmarinic acid, which helps to suppress thyroid production according to Duke.

He also mentioned that herbs such as bugleweed, lemon balm, self-heal and verbena seem to normalize thyroid hormones so they might also work for hypothyroidism as well.

Herpes:

Patients with herpes simplex type 1 keratitis given an ophthalmic form of P. vulgaris extract experienced clincial cure or improvement (Zeng, 1990)
A traditional Chinese remedy may help treat the symptoms of herpes. Spencer Lee and Song Lee of the
Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre
in Halifax say an extract of the plant Prunella vulgaris [commonly known as allheal] helps speed up the healing of sores on both the genitals and around the mouth.

They believe it works by stopping the virus from growing within cells and by preventing it from binding to cells.

Researchers from
Dalhousie University
in Halifax, Nova Scotia , say the herb Prunella vulgaris contains a carbohydrate that stops herpes viral growth. The compound known as 000PVP, in inactive against other viruses, such as influenza and polio, but proved effective in fighting both herpes simplex type 1 and type 2.

Scientists say the compound also was effective against other strains of the herpes virus that are resistant to the common antibiotic acyclovir.Tests showed that high doses of 000PVP in mammalian cells did not cause toxic effects.
These findings were presented recently at the
Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
meeting in San Diego .

Drs. Spencer Lee and Song Lee, noting that boiled extract from the plant is a time-honored agent against the skin lesions in Asia , they say an anionic carbohydrate in the herb stops both viral growth and production of visible lesions when added to infected cells during early and late stages of infection.
They suspect it works in part by competing for cell receptors and by unknown mechanisms after the virus penetrates the cell.

It was effective against viral strains known to be resistant to acyclovir (Zovirax, Glaxo Wellcome), and wasn't toxic to mammalian cells up to the highest concentration tested.

Experimental study of 472 herbs with antiviral action against the herpes simplex virus.
[Article in Chinese] Zheng M Dept. of Microbiology, Jiangxi Medical College, Nanchang .
Using tissue culture method, the present work with its first-hand observation was primarily concerned with evaluating the antiviral effect of 472 traditional medicinal herbs (comprising raw material 10 mg/ml), through both initial (qualitative) and repeated (quantitative) screens, on type 1 herpes simplex virus. When dealing with water and alcoholic extracts, the effective herbs during initial screens were reduced after repeated screens by a range of 28.8-80.0%. Employing the basic value attained by the simultaneous route of drug administration, a stepwise declining of effective herbs would be: extratube route greater than simultaneous route greater than therapeutic route greater than preventive route. The more the routes of drug administration, the less the multiple-route simultaneous efficacy of a herb. Through repeated screens, 10 highly effective herbs were Aristolochia debilis, Artemisia anomala, Lindera strychnifolia, Patrinia villosa, Pinus massoniana, Prunella vulgaris, Pyrrosia lingua, Rhus chinensis, Sargussum fusiforme and Taraxacum mongolicum. Clinically, among the 78 cases of herpetic keratitis due to HSV1 treated by Pyrrosia lingua and Prunella vulgaris eye drops, a cure was effected in 38 and an improvement in 37, with 3 being of no benefit.

Isolation and characterization of an anti-HSV polysaccharide from Prunella vulgaris.

Xu HX, Lee SH, Lee SF, White RL, Blay J Department of Applied Oral Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.
A water soluble substance was isolated from a Chinese herb, Prunella vulgaris, by hot water extraction, ethanol precipitation and gel permeation column chromatography. Chemical tests showed that the substance was an anionic polysaccharide. Using a plaque reduction assay, the polysaccharide at 100 microg/ml was active against the herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), but was inactive against cytomegalovirus, the human influenza virus types A and B, the poliovirus type 1 or the vesicular stomatitis virus. The 50% plaque reduction dose of the polysaccharide for HSV-1 and HSV-2 was 10 microg/ml. Clinical isolates and known acyclovir-resistant (TK-deficient or polymerase-defective) strains of HSV-1 and HSV-2 were similarly inhibited by the polysaccharide. Pre-incubation of HSV-1 with the polysaccharide at 4, 25 or 37 degrees C completely abrogated the infectivity of HSV-1, but pre-treatment of Vero cells with the polysaccharide did not protect cells from infection by the virus. The addition of the polysaccharide at 0, 2, 5.5 and 8 h post-infection of Vero cells with HSV-1 at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of five reduced the 20 h-yield of intracellular infectious virus by 100, 99, 99 and 94%, respectively. In contrast, a similar addition of heparin showed 85, 63, 53 and 3% reduction of intracellular virus yield, respectively.

These results suggest that the polysaccharide may inhibit HSV by competing for cell receptors as well as by some unknown mechanisms after the virus has penetrated the cells. The Prunella polysaccharide was not cytotoxic to mammalian cells up to the highest concentration tested, 0.5 mg/ml and did not show any anti-coagulant activity.

In conclusion, the polysaccharide isolated from P. vulgaris has specific activity against HSV and its mode of action appears to be different from other anionic carbohydrates, such as heparin.

HIV:

Antiviral activity of prunellin against the HIV-1 virus has been shown in vitro. Prunellin was more effective than retrovir (AZT) in inhibiting reverse transcriptase activity. Viral replication was completely abolished up to 60 days after exposure in lymphoid and monocytoid cells.

When the extract was added after viral adsorption, the aqueous extract achieved partial inhibition of HIV replication. Prunellin was also found to inhibit the binding of glycoprotien 120 to CD4 cells, which was concluded to be its primary mechanism for inhibiting HIV-1 infection(Yao et al.,1992)

Diluted and undiluted aqueous extracts of P. Vulgaris provided complete coverage against HIV-induced cytotoxicity. Diluted P. Vulgaris extract with zidovudine or didanosine provided protection of 69-74% compared with either agent alone(John et al., 1994)

Biol Pharm Bull 1998 Aug;21(8):829-33 Anti-HIV-1 activity of herbs in Labiatae.

Yamasaki K, Nakano M, Kawahata T, Mori H, Otake T, Ueba N, Oishi I, Inami R, Yamane M, Nakamura M, Murata H, Nakanishi T Osaka Prefectural Institute of Public Health, Japan .
The anti-HIV-1 activity of aromatic herbs in Labiatae was evaluated in vitro. Forty five extract from among 51 samples obtained from 46 herb species showed significant inhibitory effects against HIV-1 induced cytopathogenicity in MT-4 cells. In particular, the aqueous extracts of Melissa officinalis, a family of Mentha x piperita "grapefruit mint," Mentha x piperita var. crispa, Ocimum basilicum cv "cinnamon," Perilla frutescens var. crispa f. viridis, Prunella vulgaris subsp. asiatica and Satureja montana showed potent anti-HIV-1 activity (with an ED of 16 microg/ml). The active components in the extract samples were found to be water-soluble polar substances, not nonpolar compounds such as essential oils. In addition, these aqueous extracts inhibited giant cell formation in co-culture of Molt-4 cells with and without HIV-1 infection and showed inhibitory activity against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.

YAKUGAKU ZASSHI. JOURNAL OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN*****
Yamasaki K Otake T Mori H Morimoto M Ueba N Kurokawa Y Shiota K Yuge T [Screening test of crude drug extract on anti-HIV activity] In: Yakugaku Zasshi (1993 Nov) 113(11):818-24 ISSN: 0031-6903 (Published in Japanese)
The anti-HIV-1 effects of 204 crude drugs of common use in Japan were evaluated in vitro. As a result, 45 samples inhibited HIV-1-induced cytopathogenicity in MT-4 cells.

In particular, the hot water extracts of Lithospermum erythrorhizon (root) and Prunella vulgaris (spike) showed the strongest anti-HIV-1 activities. Their IC100 values were both 16 micrograms/ml. In general, the hot water extracts of the crude drug suppressed the replication of HIV-1 growth more strongly than the cold water extracts.

Mechanism of inhibition of HIV-1 infection in vitro by purified extract of Prunella vulgaris.

Yao XJ, Wainberg MA, Parniak MA Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada .
Crude extracts of four Chinese herbs, Arctium lappa, Astragalus membranaceus, Andrographis paniculata, and Prunella vulgaris, were assessed in several tissue culture lines for anti-HIV activity and for cytotoxicity.

One extract, obtained from P. vulgaris, was able to significantly inhibit HIV-1 replication with relatively low cytotoxicity. The active factor was purified using sequential precipitations with ethanol and n-butanol, followed by reverse-phase and gel permeation high-performance liquid chromatographic separations. The active component was anionic with a molecular weight of approximately 10 kDa. The purified extract inhibited HIV-1 replication in the lymphoid cell line MT-4, in the monocytoid cell line U937, and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells at effective concentrations of 6, 30, and 12.5 micrograms/ml, respectively. Pretreatment of uninfected cells with the extract prior to viral exposure did not prevent HIV-1 infection. By contrast, preincubation of HIV-1 with the purified extract dramatically decreased infectiousness. The purified extract was also able to block cell-to-cell transmission of HIV-1, prevented syncytium formation, and interfered with the ability of both HIV-1 and purified gp120 to bind to CD4. PCR analysis confirmed the absence of HIV-1 proviral DNA in cells exposed to virus in the presence of the extract.

These results suggest that the purified extract antagonizes HIV-1 infection of susceptible cells by preventing viral attachment to the CD4 receptor.

Isolation, purification, and partial characterization of prunellin, an anti-HIV component from aqueous extracts of Prunella vulgaris.
Tabba HD, Chang RS, Smith KM Department of Chemistry, University of California, Davis 95616.
Prunellin, an anti-HIV active compound, was isolated from aqueous extracts of the Chinese medicinal herb, Prunella vulgaris, and purified to chromatographic homogeneity. Infrared and NMR spectroscopy identified prunellin as a polysaccharide. Elemental analyses, precipitation with calcium(II), barium(II), or 9-aminoacridine suggest a sulfated polysaccharide. Paper chromatography of the exhaustively hydrolyzed material indicates the presence of glucose, galactose, xylose, gluconic acid, galactonic acid and galactosamine as the constituent monosaccharides. The molecular size of prunellin, as determined by gel permeation chromatography and the Squire method on Sephadex G-75, is about 10 kDa.

German Health Authority:

Clinical: inflammatory diseases and ulcers in the mouth and throat. Risks are unknown.
Form of adminsitration:ground and as an extract.
Indications: Inflammation of the mouth and pharynx.
Symptoms: Coated tongue, difficulty in swallowing, pain when swallowing, reddened throat, scratchy throat, swollen neck glands.

Infection:

Chinese research shows that the herb has a moderately strong antibiotic action against a broad range of pathogens, including Shigella species and E. coli strains of which can cause enteritis and urinary infections.

The Safety Factor:

In Chinese medicine this herb should be used with caution
in cases with a weak stomach and spleen.

Self-heal could potentially interfere with the actions of prescription blood thinners.

On the other hand it may be very useful in the event of a bleeding episode from too high a dose. Prescription blood thinners include heparin, Coumadin, warfarin, Plavix, Persantine and dipyridamole.

In 1999, there seemed to be a difference of opinion on whether or not allheal/selfheal should be on the GRAS (generally regarded as safe list). References ("Pharmacopoeia of the Peoples Republic of China ", 1995; and Hu, 1997) provide evidence of historical use of the herb in herbal teas and medicinal uses. The PRC Pharmacopoeia provides multiple disease-related medicinal claims for the herb.

Hu reviews 21 varieties of herbal teas that are popular in the province of Guangdong and are also marketed in Hong Kong, Macao, and Boston (Chinese stores). Hu identifies 127 species of plants used in those herbal teas, including the herb Prunella vulgaris, however; the Hu article states that these herbal teas should be consumed occasionally rather than daily. The article also pointed out that Prunella vulgaris specifically should only be used occasionally.

In FDA's view, this evidence limits this herb to occasional use and it can not be considered GRAS.

Growing Your Own:

Self-Heal is a very common plant throughout Britain and all over Europe , abundant in pastures and on waste ground. In open and exposed situations, the plant is diminutive, while in more sheltered spots it is larger in all its parts. It branches freely, lateral stems being thrown out in pairs at almost every node, from which the leaves spring. The main stem is often deeply grooved and rough to the touch, the lower parts tinted with reddish purple.

Self-Heal is one of those common wildflowers that have found their way to North America , tending even to oust the native flowers. It is known there as 'Heart of the Earth' and 'Blue Curls.'

No other plant is at all like it. Immediately below this ear are a pair of stalkless leaves standing out on either side like a collar. The flowers and bracts of this spike or 'ear' are arranged in most regular tiers or whorls, each tier composed of a ring of six stalkless flowers, supported by a couple of spreading, sharp-pointed bracts. The number of whorls varies from half a dozen to a dozen. The flower-spike is at first very short, compact and cylindrical, but then opens out somewhat, maintaining much the same size throughout its length, not tapering as in the flower spikes of most other flowers. The flowers do not come out simultaneously in any one ring, so that a somewhat ragged-looking head of flowers is produced.

Each flower consists of a two-lipped calyx, the upper lip very wide and flat, edged with three blunt teeth, the lower lip much narrower and with two long, pointed teeth. Bothlips have red margins and carry hairs. The two-lipped corolla is of a deep purple hue, the upper lip strongly arched, on the top of the arch many hairs standing on end, and the lower lip of much the same length, spreading out into three holes. Under the roofing upper lip are two pairs of stamens, one pair longer than the other, their filaments ending in two little branches, one of which carries an anther, the other remaining a little spike.

Through the centre of the two pairs of stamens the long style runs, curving so as to fit under the lip, its lower end set between four nutlets. Honey lies at the bottom of the corolla tube, protected from tiny insects by a thick hedge of hairs placed just above it. The flower is adapted by this formation, like the rest of the Labiate group, for fertilization by bees, who alight on the lower lip and in thrusting their probosces down the tube for the honey, dust their heads with the pollen from the anthers and then on visiting the next flower, smear this pollen on the end of the curving style that runs up the arch of the upper lip and thus effect fertilization.

After fertilization is effected, the corolla falls out of the sheath like calyx, which, however, remains in place, as do also the two bracts supporting each whorl. When all the purple corollas have fallen and only the rings of the persistent calyces remain, the resemblance to an ear of corn.

The plant does not rely wholly for its propagation on the four little nutlets that ripen within the continually reddening calyx, even though the flowering season is particularly long, lasting through all the summer months, for its creeping stems can throw out roots at every point, new plants thus being formed, as in the case of the Bugle. It is from the creeping stems that the flowering spikes arise, standing upright among the herbage, 3 inches to a foot in height. The leaves, oblong in form and blunt, about an inch long and 1/2 inch broad, grow on short stalks in pairs down the square stem, from which they stand out boldly, and are often roughish on the top, with scattered, close hairs, their mid-rib at the back also carrying hairs and their margins fringed with tiny hairs. Their outline is either one continuous line, or they are slightly indented along their margins.

Self-heal is a rhizomatous perennial that can be introduced into the herb garden by transplanting root cuttings. To thrive, the plant needs consistent moisture, rich soil, and usually at least a few hours of shade each day. The plant produces viable seed that can be planted into the garden, but the seeds are tiny and disperse quickly after maturing.

Self-heal grows on the fringes of areas that receive constant soil compression. probably because the plant's shallow rhizomes require heavy soil density to support the weak-stemmed upper plant.

Gathering Season and General Guidelines:

Gather this plant while it is blooming. The juiciest, most useful part is the base of the stem, so cut the plant just above ground level with sharp shears. Take care not to pull the plants when cutting or you will damage the roots and compromise next year's growth. Avoid marshy areas and gather during dry weather to prevent excessive soil compression.

When gathering this herb around livestock, be aware that herbicides may be present, particularly if such plants as Saint John's wort, knapweed, or tansy are nearby.

Avoid gathering near roadways, as this plant readily
collects lead compounds and other toxic substances.


Care after Gathering:

Self-heal is best used fresh, but you can dry and store it for up to six months for use in tea. It has a pleasant flavor and is useful in poultice form for soothing sore gums and other minor injuries and irritations to the skin.

According to herbalist Michael Moore, fresh self-heal juice can be preserved by mixing it with a small of vodka (75 percent juice, 25 percent vodka). This formula can be stored and used as needed on minor wounds and irritations.

If you dry this herb, give it plenty of air circulation to prevent mold growth.

If you make an oil infusion from the fresh herb, let the plants wilt for a full day to increase the shelf life of your oil.

References:
Adam in Eden (1657) by William Cole

Back To Eden (original copyright 1939) by Jethro Kloss

Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way . Susan S. Weed

Chinese Herbal Cures by Henry C. Lu

Culpeper's Complete Herbal Original printed in 1653 by Nicholas Culpeper

Earth Medicine Earth Food. The Classic Guide to the Herbal remedies and wild plants of the North American Indians. by Michael A. Weiner