I went for a walk in the woods with a friend the other day to harvest self heal, also known as prunella. We found it along paths and creeks.
It's a common wild plant in the Ozarks. It can be used medicinally to treat fevers, diarrhea, sore throat, internal bleeding, and weakness of the liver or heart. From what I have read, it also seems to be antibacterial. It can be cooked with, too.
When we come upon a group of plants, we only harvest a few from each group, so the plants can reseed. We cut below the leaves, so we can make use of the leaves and the flowers, but we don't pull the plant up by the roots.
Sage, cutting the self heal.
After we harvested it, we dried it, and it will be used for tea.
I have been slowly learning about medicinal plants, wild and cultivated. There are quite a few other wild plants I have learned about that are growing around here, but I wanted to highlight prunella because I just learned about it. It doesn't seem to grow in the area of Missouri where I am from (Kansas City). I find it interesting that it grows around here though.
The path that we took through the woods was a path I had never been on before. The amount of land to explore here is enormous. I am planning on taking a solitary trip into the woods this weekend, and get some quiet alone time. I think I will bring a plant identification book with me and hopefully learn some more.