Wildflowers – Self Heal

Self Heal wildflower is a creeping perennial herb with deep violet flowers. It is traditionally used as food and as a medicine.

Self heal flowers
Self heal flowers

Self Heal is a commonly found plant, most types are native to Europe, Asia and North Africa but Common Self Heal has also spread to most of North America.

Self heal flowers
Self heal flowers

Uses of Self Heal

The leaves can be used in salads but taste bitter.

The juice of the plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat boils and the whole plant is used to treat cuts and inflammation.

Dried self heal can be used to make a Chinese herbal drink and is an ingredient in a treatment for halitosis.

Self-heal is also linked to use for inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, problems in the stomach and intestines, sore throat, however there is little evidence it works.

As always I strongly recommend not using this without professional advice.


The flowers of Self Heal grow from a box shaped cluster. The petals appear to stick out of the flower head at random intervals. The upper petal is shaped like a helmet and the lower petal is three lobes with the middle lobe longer than the outside two.

The leaves are lance shaped and can have a slightly serrated edge.

They rarely grow more than 30cm tall and are very tough little plants. They can tolerate poor soil conditions and being walked on or cut down by lawn mowers doesn’t bother them much.

Growing Self Heal

Self heal propagates either by seed or from the creeping stems which root at the nodes.

Grow in full sun or partial shade in well drained but moist soil.

Try to avoid surrounding self heal plants with taller plants. They can easily crowd out this low growing plant. Cut taller plants back at the end of each season.

Plant self heal plugs or seedlings in spring about 30cm apart.

Sow seeds either directly onto the ground in late spring or in trays in early spring at a depth of about 2mm. Thin out seedlings so they are 30cm apart if grown in the ground. If growing in trays keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse until large enough to transplant into individual small pots. Grow the plants in the pots until late spring then transplant into their final location.

Self Heal wildflower plants can also be divided in the spring to create more individual plants. The plants will also self seed at the end of the summer.

Once established Self Heal requires little maintenance as it isn’t affected by pests or disease.

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