Genus:
Prunella L.

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.
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.

[UPFC]
Distribution
Biogeografic region: Andean. Elevation range: 2200–3900 m a.s.l. Naturalised in Colombia. Colombian departments: Antioquia, Bogotá DC, Boyacá, Caldas, Huila, Magdalena, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindío, Risaralda, Santander, Tolima.
Habit
Herb.
Conservation
IUCN Red List Assessment (2021): LC.
Ecology
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: forest and woodland, shrubland, native grassland, artificial - terrestrial.

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

[KSP]
Use
Medicinal.

[UPFC]
Use Food
Used for food.
Use Medicines
Medical uses.

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, Dominican Republic, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, East Himalaya, Finland, Florida, France, Føroyar, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Hainan, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Idaho, Illinois, India, Indiana, Inner Mongolia, Iowa, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Jamaica, 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, 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, Falkland Is., Hawaii, 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 Has image?
Mar 1, 2015 Teran, J. et al. [3078], Bolivia K000938604 No
Mar 1, 2015 Teran, J. et al. [3731], Bolivia K000938605 No
Jan 1, 2012 Ducloux [4857], China K000735947 No
Jan 1, 2011 Rivera [92], Costa Rica K000735063 No
Jan 1, 2011 Tamashiro, J.Y. et al [817], Brazil K000735358 No
Oct 7, 2009 Atahuachi [1143a], Bolivia K000248768 No
Jan 1, 2009 Bai-Zhong [4139], China K000248763 No
Nov 24, 2008 Arroyo, A. et al. [3593], Bolivia K000938567 No
Jan 1, 2008 Dixon [199/99], Pakistan K000479743 No
Jun 19, 2007 Croat [94646], Ecuador K000479272 No
Jan 1, 2007 Croat [73307], Ecuador K000479629 No
May 23, 2006 Croat [93273], Ecuador K000194499 No
Nennfelft, J. Ax. [17031], Sweden K000509442 Yes
Beguinot, A. [1743], Italy K000910751 Yes
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 2132], Nepal K001115274 Yes
Altamiro [48], Brazil K001225990 Yes
Monteiro, H. [s.n.], Brazil K001225985 Yes
Hatschbach, G. [45556], Brazil K001225993 Yes
Blinkworth, R. [Cat. no. 2132], India K001115272 Yes
Hatschbach, G. [28507], Brazil K001225989 Yes
Cope, T.A. [RBG 139], United Kingdom K000914344 Yes
Pedrosa, D.S. [930], Brazil K001225984 Yes
Casari, M.B. [185], Brazil K001225991 Yes
Leitão Filho, H.F. [1826], Brazil K001225992 Yes
Krapovickas, A. [37596], Brazil K001225994 Yes
Harley, R.M. [20344], Brazil K001225987 Yes
Fiori, Andr. [1744], Italy K000910752 Yes
Lourteig, A. [2134], Brazil K001225986 Yes
Hatschbach, G. [37941], Brazil K001225988 Yes
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 2132], Nepal K001115273 Yes
Guinea, E. [195], Spain K000509440 Yes
Mooney, H.F. [4628], Lebanon K000283433 Yes

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

Accepted by

  • Aistova, E. (2009). Check-list of adventive flora of Amur region Turczaninowia 12(1-2): 17-40.
  • 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.
  • Broughton, D.A. & McAdam, J.H. (2002). The non-native vascular flora of the Falkland islands Botanical Journal of Scotland 54: 153-190.
  • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2010). Flora Iberica 12: 1-650. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Gremmen, N. & Halbertsma, R.L. (2009). Alien plants and their impact on Tristan da Cunha 2: 1-307. Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP).
  • 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. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Kozhevnikov, A.E., Kozhevnikov, Z.V., Kwak, M. & Lee, B.Y. (2019). Illustrated flora of the Primorsky Territory, Russian Far East: 1-1124. National institute of biological resources.
  • Malyschev, L.I. (ed.) (2006). Flora of Siberia 11: 1-310. Scientific Publishers, Inc., Enfield, Plymouth.
  • Nowak, A. & Nobis, M. (eds.) (2020). Illustrated Flora of Tajikistan and adjacent areas 2: 367-766. PAN, Polish academy of sciences.
  • Van Heurck, H. & De Beucker, J.I. (1861). Antwerpsche Analytische Flora 1: 1-192. Drukkerij der weduwe Jos. Van Ishoven, Antwerpen.
  • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.

Literature

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • 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

Kew Species Profiles

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

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.
  • Britton, N. (1918). Flora of Bermuda: 1-585. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.
  • Broughton, D.A. & McAdam, J.H. (2002). The non-native vascular flora of the Falkland islands Botanical Journal of Scotland 54: 153-190.
  • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2010). Flora Iberica 12: 1-650. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Martínez-Gordillo, M. & al. (2019). Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Lamiaceae: 1-233. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  • Orchard, A.E. (ed.) (1994). Oceanic Islands 1 Flora of Australia 49: 1-681. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, rev. ed., 1: 1-988. University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press.
  • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.

Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

  • Allen, D., Bilz, M., Leaman, D.J., Miller, R.M., Timoshyna, A., & Window, J. (2014). European Red List of medicinal plants. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg 10:907382.
  • Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R., & Celis, M. (eds.). (2020). Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia. v1.1. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Dataset/Checklist. https://doi.org/10.15472/7avdhn
  • Diazgranados et al. (2021). Catalogue of plants of Colombia. Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia project. In prep.
  • Diazgranados, M., Allkin, B., Black N., Cámara-Leret, R., Canteiro C., Carretero J., Eastwood R., Hargreaves S., Hudson A., Milliken W., Nesbitt, M., Ondo, I., Patmore, K., Pironon, S., Turner, R., Ulian, T. (2020). World Checklist of Useful Plant Species. Produced by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity.
  • FPI (2021). Food Plants International. https://fms.cmsvr.com/fmi/webd/Food_Plants_World?homeurl=https://foodplantsinternational.com/plants/
  • GBIF.org (2021). GBIF species matching tool. https://www.gbif.org/tools/species-lookup
  • GRIN (2021). Germplasm Resources Information Network from the United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.ars-grin.gov/
  • IUCN (2021). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2021-2. https://www.iucnredlist.org.
  • Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS) v.10 (2021); http://mpns.kew.org/
  • RBG, Kew (2021). Kew Economic Botany Collection. https://ecbot.science.kew.org/

  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

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

  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    ColPlantA 2021. Published on the Internet at http://colplanta.org
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    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 2022. 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 2022. 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 Science Photographs

    Copyright applied to individual images

  • Kew Species Profiles

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

  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

    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