Pinyin: Xia Ku Cao Latin: Prunella Vulgaris
Perennial growing to 0.15m by 0.3m. It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.
Edible Parts: Leaves. Edible Uses: Drink. Leaves - raw or cooked. They can be used in salads, soups, stews etc. Somewhat bitter due to the presence of tannin in the leaves, though this can be removed by washing the leaves. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves is used as a refreshing beverage. Very tasty.*
Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) Uses*
Self heal has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of wounds, ulcersand sores. It was also taken internally as a tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhea, sore mouth and internal bleeding. In Korea it is used to treat edema, nephritis, scrofula and goitre. The whole plant is alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi. It can be used fresh or dried, for drying it is best harvested in mid-summer. The plant is experimentally antibiotic and hypotensive.*
Dye; Ground cover. An olive-green dye is obtained from the flowers and stems. The plant is a good ground-cover in sunny positions or light shade.*
Sources: Prunella Vulgaris Xia Ku Cao Plants For A Future, England 1996-2008.
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