Selfheal (Prunella Vulgaris)
Selfheal (prunella vulgaris) is a short grassland perennial wildflower with bright green, oval-shaped leaves. The flowers are a vibrant shade of purple, violet and green, hooded and two-lipped, and bloom from June to September. A native species of the UK, selfheal is found in grasslands, meadows, lawns, roadsides and woodland clearings. It can be as short as 2 cm – you might well have some covering part of your lawn – and grow as tall as 40 cm in wilder, less cultivated places.
Selfheal blooming in Meadowmat Roofmix
Selfheal is one of many wildflowers that are part of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Perfect for Pollinators list; its rich nectar attracts bumble bees especially, as well as butterflies and other insects. So by growing selfheal in your garden, you can help promote bio diversity and support the eco-system.
Growing and harvesting selfheal
Selfheal can be planted at any time of the year, using seeds or plant cuttings. It is a short and relatively slow growing plant which can be quickly dominated by taller, more vigorous vegetation, so either plant it in a gentle wildflower meadow where it will find its way and provide attractive ground cover, or cut back the taller vegetation. Once given space to grow, selfheal can flourish. Cuttings of the purple wildflower make a pretty floral display inside the house.
As an alternative to growing your own selfheal, why not keep things really simple and invest in Meadowmat, a pre-grown wildflower meadow that’s as easy to lay as lawn turf? Turfonline and organisations such as the RHS and local Wildlife Trusts can offer further tips and advice about wildflowers and their many benefits.
Traditional uses for selfheal
Selfheal attracts pollinators, insects and birds. It is also used for its culinary and medicinal properties. It is very nutritious and the leaves and flowers are packed with antioxidants. The leaves can be eaten raw but cooking takes away their mildly bitter taste. They are most commonly added to salads or soups, used as a herbal tea, or added to cold water to make a flavoursome and nutritious drink.
Selfheal has long been used in Chinese medicine; its cooling properties are thought to ward against fevers and help treat liver and kidney disorders. It is an antibiotic and is believed to help lower blood pressure.