Heals All

Scientific Name(s): Prunella vulgaris
Abundance: uncommon
What: leaves
How: raw, tea, cooked
Where: borders, woods, fields, wastelands, full sun, light shade
When: spring, summer
Nutritional Value: medicinal compounds
Dangers: none

Medicinal Summary:
Leaves/Stems/Flowers - wound healer; antibacterial; antiviral; anti-cancer; colitis anti-inflammatory; hemostatic; appetite stimulant (tisane, poultice)

Leaf Arrangement: Leaves are arranged in an opposite-alternating pattern along the stem.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are broadly lanceolate to ovate, typically measuring about 1 to 3 inches in length and 0.5 to 1 inch in width.

Leaf Venation: Venation is pinnate, with a central vein and smaller branching veins.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margins are serrated or toothed, especially towards the tip.

Leaf Color: The color of the leaves is a deep green, often with a slightly lighter shade on the underside.

Flower Structure: Flowers are clustered in dense, pyramidal, spike-like inflorescences at the tips of stems or in the leaf axils.

Flower Color: The flowers are typically purple or violet, though they can also be pink or white. Each flower is tubular with a two-lipped appearance.

Fruit: The fruit is a small, dry nutlet.

Seed: Seeds are contained within the nutlets, small and hard.

Stem: Stems are square in cross-section, a characteristic of the mint family, and can be hairy or smooth.

Hairs: There may be fine hairs on the stems and the undersides of the leaves.

Height: The plant typically grows to a height of about 6 to 18 inches.

Bed of heal's all plants while flowering.

Heal's all bed before flowering.
Bed of Heal's All.

Individual heal's all stalk.
Heal's All herb

Heal's all plant.
Heals All

Close-up of heal's all flower stalk before flowering.
Heal's All herb flower stalk.

Close-up of heal's all flower.

Note the "beard" on the flower's lower lip petal.
Heals All

Heal's All seedlings in January in Houston, before producing a stem or flowers.
Heals All

Heal's All in the summer after going to seed.

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Usually found in somewhat moist, woody areas, Heal's All is a rather unassuming plant for most of it's life. Appearing in late winter, it's first call to attention occurs with the appearance of its unmistakable, pyramidal flower stalk in mid-spring. It isn't a solitary plant and so much prefers being surrounded by many of its fellow Heal's All plants.

Heal's all is often considered to be the best all-around medicinal plant. Other names for it include selfheal, heart-of-the-earth, and woundwort. According to legend and also Peterson's Guide to Medicinal Plants heal's all will take care of problems with lungs, liver, kidneys, blood, joints, cancers, ulcers, tumors, swellings, and back trouble. The usual method of ingestion is as a leaf tea or alcohol extraction. I also like chopping the leaves up and adding them to any rice I am cooking.

The plant can be air-dried for later use. as tea, but the alcohol extraction is best done with fresh leaves. The dried leaves & flowers can also be smoked as part of an herbal "tobacco" mixture.

Link to scientific papers on the medicinal properties of Heal's All (Prunella vulgaris).

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