Getting the garden and yard ready for the spring involves shoveling, raking, and of course, weeding. Some of the lovely wildflowers you might encounter in your spring activities are lilies, daffodils and violets, and some of the herbs are violets (considered a medicinal and edible herb as well as a wildflower), self-heal, and mint.
Let's talk about self-heal. It's related to mints, and it boasts dark purple and deep green leaves and flowers similar to oregano. It's also called heal-all, which is a good indicator that in times past, our European and Native American great-grandmothers really treasured this plant for its extensive list of benefits. Today, it is largely forgotten, which is a shame because it's a beautiful little flower that requires no work, it's easy to harvest, it's perennial, and it's actually quite useful.
As a medicinal, self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) is included in many respiratory remedies, not because it is an expectorant but because it soothes and protects. We often forget that our lungs need protecting--doctors teach us to be very pro-expectorant. Get that mucous out! Get that coughing out! They like to evacuate fluids from the body. It's very satisfying for them, and is has been for centuries. (To learn more about evacuation medicine and the alarming practices of purging and blood-letting, read Green Pharmacy by Barbara Griggs.) Self-heal is mucilaginous, so it soothes sore and raw bronchial tissues and helps them relax.
When you're in the garden and you cut yourself, reach for self-heal. Chew the leaves briefly until the mass feels thick and wet in your mouth. Apply this poultice to the cut, and know that you are providing your body with quick, easy and 100% natural juices that will work much more nicely than a tube of stuff from the drug-store.
For more natural wound or bronchial remedies, harvested from fresh plants, please visit Vineyard Herbs.