While the name Prunella may elicit the image of a prissy princess or call to mind an Italian folk tale, Prunella vulgaris is a common perennial wildflower. The genus includes seven species that are all known by the common name self-heal. Self-heal has been used medicinally for centuries on practically every continent to treat just about every ailment. Perhaps it is Prunella’s little purple flowers that cause its association with little plums and prunes. The flowers bloom constantly from May to September.
Self-heal is a medicinal plant, or weed as some consider it, which is incredibly abundant, available, and found practically all over the world. It has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of wounds. Prior to World War II it was used to staunch bleeding and treat heart disease. Considered one of the fairy herbs in rural Ireland, perhaps because of its wand of delicate purple flowers and ability to heal, it inspired the young English artist Cicely Mary Barker. Cicely Mary Barker’s art elicited a sense of freedom of spirit that charmed a war-weary world in the early twentieth century with a vision of innocence and hope.
The herbal actions of self-heal are so many that it is usually considered to be an herbal panacea. Self-heal is used as an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. In addition, self-heal also exhibits the following herbal actions: alterative, antimutagenic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, immunostimulant, stomachic, styptic, vermifuge, vulnerary, and tonic. It is used to gradually restore health, promote wound healing, stop internal hemorrhaging by contracting blood vessels, reduce fever, cause tissue to contract, relieve symptoms of indigestion such as hyperacidity and gas, strengthen and tone the stomach, treat edema, induce urination, lower blood pressure, and even expel intestinal worms.
Fresh-picked self-heal is used as a fresh herb poultice applied directly to a wound. Although the most common use is topically to treat sores, burns, and bruises, it is also used internally to relieve hemorrhaging, fevers, diarrhea, and swollen glands. In Chinese medicine self-heal is classified as cooling to the liver and used to treat liver and gallbladder inflammation and stagnation. There is also evidence to support the traditional use of self-heal in the treatment of some forms of cancer as well as type 2 diabetes. Its antiviral actions seem to slow cell division, making it a potential aid in the treatment of HIV and herpes simplex virus.
Self-heal wants us to heal and has brought herself into close proximity, and relationship, with humans for this reason. She cools our livers, heals our anger, and teaches us how to heal and love ourselves unconditionally. Love is the greatest healer, and this plant loves us so much that she just keeps showing up—practically everywhere! Sometimes, when a person has been badly damaged or wounded through neglect or violence, we have to love them until they are able to love themselves. This is what the devas of the medicine plants are doing—loving us until we learn how to love ourselves. Take a moment to look around. Where is this plant growing near you? How will you honor her medicines? There is no imbalance that she cannot restore. You have only to open your heart and receive.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself,” implies that one must start by learning to love one’s self. If we look around at our neighbors in the world today we can see that we have not done so well with this lesson. Why is it so difficult to truly love our Self? Perhaps it is because of what we were taught about being born. Were we born in blessing, or born in sin? How were we raised? Were we loved and supported and encouraged to carry our gifts or told that we were bad and punished?
When we love ourselves enough to do the inner work of bringing back the lost soul pieces that keep us from being fully present, and we integrate those pieces into our third dimensional physical form, then we free ourselves, and others, to experience new levels of consciousness. We become present in love.
The Deva Speaks
What is this that you call love and to which you aspire with no conditions? The human has only ever known the emotion of love upon which there has always been conditions. Your condition for love is based on the elements for survival. The elements have always been here to serve your evolution, and it is their love alone that is unconditional on this plane.
It is a law in your dimension that there will always be this struggle toward the light of love: a struggle that will continue for as long as you take form in a dimension of duality and separation. For your notion of an unconditional love is actually a field of love emanating from a central sun that you have already begun to perceive. When the need to survive is no longer upon you then you will enter this vibrational field of love. No conditions as you presently know them exist in this field, for love is what is. It is in this field that I have grown my medicines for you, and through this field that we will walk together as I show you the way home.