Prunella (plant)

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Prunella vulgaris - harilik käbihein.jpg
Prunella vulgaris (Common Self-heal)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Prunella
  • Brunella Mill.
  • Prunellopsis Kudô

Prunella is a genus of herbaceous plants in the family Lamiaceae, also known as self-heals, heal-all, or allheal for their use in herbal medicine.


Most are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but Prunella vulgaris (common self-heal) is Holarctic in distribution, occurring in North America as well, and is a common lawn weed. Prunellas are low-growing plants, and thrive in moist wasteland and grass, spreading rapidly to cover the ground. They are members of the mint family and have the square stem common to mints.[1][2][3]

Biological descriptions[edit]

The common name "self-heal" derives from the use of some species to treat a range of minor disorders. Self-heal can be grown from seed, or by dividing clumps in spring or autumn.

  1. Prunella albanica Pénzes – Albania
  2. Prunella × bicolor Beck – parts of Europe (P. grandiflora × P. laciniata)
  3. Prunella × codinae Sennen – Spain (P. hyssopifolia × P. laciniata)
  4. Prunella cretensis Gand. – Crete
  5. Prunella × gentianifolia Pau – Spain (P. hyssopifolia × P. vulgaris)
  6. Prunella grandiflora (L.) Scholler – central + southern Europe from Caucasus to Russia; Caucasus
  7. Prunella hyssopifolia L. – Spain, France, Italy, Morocco
  8. Prunella × intermedia Link – central + southwestern Europe (P. laciniata × P. vulgaris)
  9. Prunella laciniata (L.) L – central + southern Europe, North Africa, Middle East
  10. Prunella orientalis Bornm. – Turkey, Syria
  11. Prunella prunelliformis (Maxim.) Makino – Japan
  12. Prunella × surrecta Dumort. – central + southwestern Europe (P. grandiflora × P. vulgaris)
  13. Prunella vulgaris L. – widespread in Europe, North Africa, Asia, North America; naturalized in New Zealand, parts of South America

Subspecies are[4]

  • Prunella vulgaris ssp. aleutica (Fernald) Hultén – Aleutian selfheal
  • Prunella vulgaris ssp. lanceolata (W. Bartram) Hultén – lance selfheal
  • Prunella vulgaris ssp. vulgaris (L.) – common selfheal


Traditional medicine[edit]

Dried Prunella
Traditional Chinese夏枯草
Simplified Chinese夏枯草

In the Pacific Northwest, its juice was used by the Quinault and the Quileute on boils.[5] They also used the whole plant to treat cuts and inflammations.[6] Ointments can be made by fixing[clarification needed] the plant with grease. Dried Prunella (Chinese: 夏枯草; pinyin: xià kū cǎo) is used to make a herbal drink.[7] Prunella is also used for halitosis, especially when combined with other herbs (e.g. perilla, field mint, etc.). Herbal tea for treating ozostomia caused by oral local lesion

Food uses[edit]

The mildly bitter leaves are also good as salad greens. Prunella species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora albitarsella.[citation needed]

As a health supplement[edit]

Prunella vulgaris is used as an ingredient in some bodybuilding supplements.


  1. ^ a b c "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew".
  2. ^ "Prunella vulgaris in Flora of China @".
  3. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Prunella includes photos plus range maps for Europe + North America
  4. ^ "Prunella vulgaris L." ITIS. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  5. ^ "USDA Plants Database" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Prunella spike History..." Archived from the original on 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  7. ^ "StackPath".