|Self-heal, heal-all, carpenter's herb, blue curls, sickle-wort, Prunella vulgaris; many names for a tiny plant.|
|The flower has a hooded top, and a fringed lower petal, divided in three parts.|
Prunella is a member of the mint family; it has the same square stems that most mints do. It's a perennial, growing from rhizomes, so it will persist even if it is mowed down before the flowers mature. Unmowed, it will grow up to a foot tall, or long, depending on whether it decides to stand up or crawl along the ground. It will grow in any moist area, from lawns to roadsides or the edges of forests, and can be found all over the Northern hemisphere.
The names come from its many medicinal uses; whatever ails you, someone reccommends self-heal for it. Cold sores, digestive problems, heart conditions, wounds (hence the "carpenter's herb" name), boils and bruises, mosquito bites and sore throats; the list goes on and on. Wikipedia mentions that it is even showing promise in AIDS research. Whether it works for all these or not, the very name and reputation should enhance its usefulness as a placebo.
And it's edible, on top of all that! Fresh in a salad, steeped in a tea, boiled as a pot herb; it's as varied in its culinary talents as it is in the medical department. "They" say it makes a tasty cool drink, too.
I wonder; if I picked every single one of the tiny plants in my yard; would I have enough for one vegetable serving?