The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

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Woundwort

Contents:

Common Names | Parts Usually Used | Plant(s) & Culture | Where Found | Medicinal Properties | Biochemical Information
Legends, Myths and Stories | Uses | Formulas or Dosages | Nutrient Content | Warning | Bibliography

Scientific Names

Woundwort

  • Prunella vulgaris L.
  • Labiatae
  • Mint family

Common Names

  • All-heal
  • Blue curls
  • Brownwort
  • Carpenter’s herb
  • Carpenter’s weed
  • Heal-all
  • Hercules woundwort
  • Hock-heal
  • Hood weed
  • Hook-heal
  • Hsia-ku-ts’ao (Chinese name)
  • Panay
  • Prunel
  • Selfheal
  • Sicklewort

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Parts Usually Used

The whole plant
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Description of Plant(s) and
Culture

Woundwort is a low perennial plant to 1 foot tall; the slender, creeping rootstock produces ascending or procumbent stems which grow from 1-3 feet in height. These slightly hairy, square, grooved stems may be solitary or in clusters. Entire or slightly toothed, the petioled, opposite leaves are ovate to oblong-lanceolate in shape. Tubular and two-lipped, the tiny purple flowers grow in dense terminal spikes, blooming from May to October. The fruit is an ovoid, smooth, angled nutlet.

Other varieties: P. grandiflora, also called self-heal, grows to 1-1 1/2 feet tall, has much larger and showier purple or violet flowers; P. laciniata, has creamy white, occasionally violet-tinged flowers, and deeply cut leaves.
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Where Found

Grows as a very common weed in open woods, lawns, fields, and waste places in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
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Medicinal Properties

Antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, bitter tonic, cholagogue, diuretic, styptic, vermifuge, vulnerary
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Biochemical Information

Ursolic acid, essential oil, bitter principle, oleanolic acid, rutin, caffeic acid, hyperoside, vitamins A, C, B1, K and tannin
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Legends, Myths and Stories

An old Italian proverb: “He that hath self-heal and sanicle needs no other physician.”

The plant yields fiber dyes in shades ranging from soft yellow to brilliant gold.

Woundwort is a highly regarded European wound herb, widely used to stop bleeding. In the past, the flower spikes were considered to resemble the throat, and under the Doctrine of Signatures theory, whereby plants cure those parts of the body that they most resemble, self-heal or woundwort was also used for inflammations of the mouth and throat.

In Chinese medicine, the flower spikes are used, and are known as xia ku cao, literally meaning “summer dry herb.”

The leaves and young shoots are used by Western herbalists to stop bleeding and applied fresh in poultices as emergency first aid on clean cuts. Culpeper recommended them for “green” (fresh) wounds, suggesting that they would be ideal to “close the lips of them” in the days before stitches.

There are other plants that are called woundwort; Stachys palustris, a cousin of the wood betony; and Stoneroot (Collinsonia canadensis) also called Hardrock, Horse-weed, Heal-all, Rich-weed, Ox-balm, Knob-root, also from the mint family, with greenish-yellow flowers of a peculiar balsamic fragrance.
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Uses

The tea of the plant helps heal internal wounds; as a wash or poultice, for external wounds, bruises, ulcers, and sores. Used as a gargle for throat irritations, cold mouthwash for bleeding gums, including pharyngitis, and for stomatitis, canker sores, and thrush. Useful for hemorrhage and diarrhea. Excellent for convulsions and seizures, epilepsy, hepatitis, jaundice, headache, high blood pressure, fluid retention, edema, fevers, and will expel worms.

In China a tea made from the flowering plant is considered cooling, and was used to treat the liver and aid in circulation; used for conjunctivitis, boils, and scrofula; diuretic for kidney ailments. Research suggests the plant possesses antibiotic, hypotensive, and antimutagenic qualities. Contains the antitumor and diuretic compound ursolic acid.
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Formulas or Dosages

Harvest the aerial parts before flowering time.

Infusion: 1 oz. of the herb in 1 pint of boiling water, cover and let stand for 10 minutes, strain. Take 1 wineglassful several times a day.

Extract: soak 1 tsp. herb in 1 pint brandy or whiskey for a few days. Take 1 tbsp. a day or as needed.
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Nutrient Content

Vitamins A, B1, C, K
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Warning

Always seek medical professional advice for abnormal uterine bleeding, bleeding gums, or blood in the urine.

Avoid use if hypertensive.
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Bibliography

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Company, Inc., West Nyack, NY, 1987.

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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