Prunella (plant)

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Prunella
Prunella vulgaris - harilik käbihein.jpg
Prunella vulgaris (Common Self-heal)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Prunella
L.
Synonyms[1]
  • 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.

Habitat[edit]

Most are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but Prunella vulgaris (the Common Self-heal) is Holarctic in distribution, occurring in North America as well, and is a common lawn weed. Self-heals 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 divide clumps in spring or autumn.

Species[1]
  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

Uses[edit]

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.[citation needed] They also used the whole plant to treat cuts and inflammations.[citation needed] Ointments can be made by fixing the plant with grease. Dried Prunella (Chinese: 夏枯草) is used to make a herbal drink.

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Flora of China Vol. 17 Page 134 夏枯草 xia ku cao Prunella vulgaris Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 600. 1753.
  3. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Prunella includes photos plus range maps for Europe + North America
  4. ^ "Prunella vulgaris L.". www.itis.gov. ITIS. Retrieved 23 June 2016.