1. Family: Lamiaceae Martinov
    1. Genus: Prunella L.
      1. Prunella vulgaris L.

        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.
    Habit
    Hierba
    Conservation
    No Evaluada
    [UPB]

    The Useful Plants of Boyacá project

    Ecology
    Alt. 2200 - 3900 m.
    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]
    Unspecified Medicinal Disorders
    Medicinal (State of the World's Plants 2016).

    Images

    Distribution

    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, Masachusettes, Mexico Central, 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

    Common Names

    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
    • 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.

    Sources

    Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/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 2019. 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 2019. 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