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   Oct 16

Prunella Vulgaris Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and More

Prunella vulgaris is a natural substance long used in herbal medicine. Sometimes referred to as “self-heal” or “heal-all,” this herb is widely available in supplement form. Touted as a natural remedy for a variety of health conditions, prunella vulgaris contains a number of anti-inflammatory compounds and vitamins (including vitamin C).

Benefits of Prunella Vulgaris

Although there is currently a lack of clinical trials testing the health effects of prunella vulgaris, some preliminary research suggests that it may offer certain health benefits. Here’s a look at several key findings from the available studies on prunella vulgaris:

1) Herpes

Prunella vulgaris may help fight herpes simplex virus 1 (or HSV-1, the virus that causes cold sores) and herpes simplex virus 2 (or HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes), according to a study published in Antiviral Research in 2007. In tests on cells in culture, researchers demonstrated that certain carbohydrates found in prunella vulgaris may help stop HSV-1 and HSV-2 from penetrating host cells.

2) Diabetes

There’s some evidence that prunella vulgaris may aid in the treatment of diabetes. In a 2007 study from the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for instance, treating diabetic mice with prunella vulgaris appeared to increase the animals’ insulin sensitivity.

Additionally, a 2012 study from the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that treating diabetic mice with prunella vulgaris helped inhibit the development of atherosclerosis (a common problem for people with diabetes).

3) Cancer

Several studies on human cells (including a 2011 report published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention) indicate that prunella vulgaris may help induce apoptosis (a type of programmed cell death essential for stopping the proliferation of cancer cells). However, there is currently a lack of scientific support for the claim that prunella vulgaris can treat or prevent cancer in humans.

Uses for Prunella Vulgaris

Prunella vulgaris is said to help treat or prevent the following health problems:

cold sores
Crohn’s disease
genital herpes
ulcerative colitis
sore throat

In addition, prunella vulgaris is purported to stimulate the immune system and strengthen the body’s defense against cancer.

Is Prunella Vulgaris Safe?

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term use of prunella vulgaris.

It’s important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with prunella vulgaris and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you’re considering the use of prunella vulgaris in treatment of a chronic condition, make sure to consult your physician.

Learn more about using dietary supplements safely.


A number of natural remedies may offer health effects similar to the purported benefits of prunella vulgaris. For instance, studies show that lysine, lemon balm, reishi, and resveratrol may help treat oral herpes (also known as cold sores).

Where to Find Prunella Vulgaris

Widely available for purchase online, prunella vulgaris is sold in many natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements.


Fang X, Chang RC, Yuen WH, Zee SY. “Immune modulatory effects of Prunella vulgaris L.” Int J Mol Med. 2005 Mar;15(3):491-6.

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