by Mae Chan
Prunella Vulgaris has a long history of medicinal use. It shows antiviral and antibacterial properties, and in China it is used as an anti-cancer drug. It can also be used for the prevention and treatment of cognitive impairments associated with Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia.
Prunella vulgaris var. lilacina Nakai (Labiatae) is commonly known as the 'self-heal' herb or heal-all. It is widely distributed in Europe, Asia and North America.
Daily consumption of extracts from Prunella vulgaris var. lilacina may enhance cognitive function in lab mice, says a new study from South Korea. It is often found growing in waste ground, grassland, woodland edges, usually on basic and neutral soils.
Once proclaimed to be a Holy herb and thought to be sent by God to cure all ailments of man or beast, and said to drive away the devil, which lead to the belief that Heal-All was grown in the Witches garden as a disguise. The root was used to make a tea to drink in ceremonies before going hunting by one Native American tribe to sharpened the powers of observation.
Heal-All is edible and medicinal, can be used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb. Used as an alternative medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world, and for just about every ailment known to man.
Prior to World War II, it was used to staunch bleeding and for treating heart disease. A decoction of the leaves was used to treat sore throats and internal bleeding. Although in western medicine it is used externally for treating minor injuries, sores, burns, bruises, it has far more powerful applications therapeutically.
The plants most useful constituents are Betulinic-acid, D-Camphor, Delphinidin, Hyperoside, Manganese, Oleanolic-acid, Rosmarinic-acid, Rutin, Ursolic-acid, and Tannins. The whole plant is medicinal as alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary.
A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves is a very tasty and refreshing beverage, weak infusion of the plant is an excellent medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye.
It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart. Clinical analysis shows it to have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It is showing promise in research for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies.
New data from scientists from Kyung Hee University and CJ Foods R&D indicated that two weeks of intake of the 'heal-all' extract was found to directly or indirectly activate the NMDA receptor in nerve cells, which is linked to synaptic plasticity changes.
"The results of present study demonstrate that the sub-chronic administration of [the standardized ethanolic extract of Prunella vulgaris var. lilacina] EEPV enhanced cognitive performance in the passive avoidance task in normal naive mice," they wrote in Phytotherapy Research .
"To our knowledge, the present study marks the first report of the role of EEPV in cognitive improvement resulting from adult hippocampal neurogenesis and the activation of various signaling cascades."
Commenting on the potential bio-actives, the researchers point to rosmarinic acid as the key mediator of cognitive improvement.