Medicinal Plants, Pacific Northwest
Self heal grows on all of the BC coast. This plant is known as a heal all and cure all plant. It is related to the mint plant and like the other mints, once you plant it, you never have to plant it again. The plant spreads by underground stems that spread in every direction.
It has a widespread reputation for keeping people well during an outbreak of infectious disease. This is one of those plants you should ingest on a steady basis. In China, where the plant grows profusely, it is widely used as a tonic. The Chinese collect the plant as it spikes into bloom, take the lower leaves and flower heads from it and make a treatment to treat fevers and rheumatism. They also use the leaves and flower heads as an alterative, which helps the body go from a state of sickness to one of health.
When self heal is taken in tea, it can help the body stay healthy. It is said to assist liver function and as such, self heal is used to treat patients suffering liver illness. It is also used to treat swollen glands. It is an immunity booster. The plant has an antibiotic effect. Experiments indicate that self heal has broad antimicrobial powers and also kills many pathogenic fungi. It can be used as a treatment for athletes foot.
It was used by native Americans to treat sore throats, stomach cramps, and urinary and liver problems. It was also used to kill worms and to help those who suffered from fits.
The plant gets wide use as a first aid ointment, the ground plant is applied as a poultice to cuts, wounds, bruises, and sores that won’t heal. Wounds heal a lot faster when you apply self heal. You can use it in tea form to lower high blood pressure.
It is easy to grow, just stick it in the ground and stand back. To harvest self heal, cut the plant as it breaks into bloom, trimming it off 2.5 cm above the roots. The plant won’t mind and this gives it an incentive to grow more.