Herbs A-Z: Prunella & Pulmonaria
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Today’s herbs from our apothecary shelf are self-heal and lungwort!
Self-heal, Prunella vulgaris, is a lovely lymph-moving herb who we often find in woodland trails. You can find it in lots of places – “vulgaris” does mean “common”, after all – but you probably won’t find it very readily in commerce. It’s not the easiest plant to grow for profit, but thankfully it is easy to grow for yourself! And you may well want to: it’s an excellent wound-healer, lymph-mover, inflammation-reducer, and all-around alterative. (Also worth mentioning is the look-similar plant carpet bugle, Ajuga reptans, which has many of the same actions.)
Lungwort, Pulmonaria officinalis, is an herb Katja likes to add to teas for flavor. It’s not a strong flavor, more of a base note to build on. Lungwort’s in the borage family but it does not have the dangerous types of pyrrolizidine alkaloids – that’s a relief! (Some plants in that family can be damaging to the liver, but not lungwort.) This is not only an herb for bringing moisture to the lungs, easing the elimination of mucous and soothing a cough; it’s also a nice mildly moistening herb to include for balancing the energetics of a formula. NB: don’t confuse this lungwort with Lobaria pulmonaria, a lichen which also has some respiratory actions (though of quite a different nature; the lichen is drying).
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