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The Health Benefits of Spica Prunellae

By Sandi Harrison

Spica prunellae is commonly known as the selfheal fruit-spike or Xioakucao from the Prunellae vulgaris plant. Mainly found in the Chinese provinces such as Jiangsu, Anhui and Henan, the fruit turns brownish-red in the summer and is left to dry in the sun once all foreign matter is removed. They are lightweight and have a faint odor and mild taste. Before using this or any other herbal remedy, consult with your physician.

Active Components

The chemical components of spica prunellae are ursolic acid, oleanolic acid and their saponins. These compounds provide the many purported health benefits of spica prunellae.

Traditional Uses

The plant is called hsia-ku-tsao in China and is used for a tonic. The flower heads of the Spica Prunellae and the lower leaves are ingested to treat fevers and rheumatism. Spica prunellae has a reputation in China for keeping people well even when there is an outbreak of an infectious disease. It was used extensively among troops to help prevent the spread of illness. Taken as a tea, it is purported to help liver function, which results in clear, bright eyes. Helps heal swollen lymph glands or lumps in the neck and acts to boost immunity. Spica prunellae helps women who have distress during menstruation, bloating or indigestion, urinary problems, or heavy bleeding during menstruation causing anemia.

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Medical Uses

Spica prunellae has broad antimicrobial powers and kills many pathogenic fungi. Dr. Spencer Lee from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, believes a compound from the Prunellae vulgaris may even help fight the herpes virus. He believes because it is a nontoxic antiviral topical drug, the extract has high potential. Chinese researchers found that it was effective against hypertension.

Other Purported Benefits

According to Gerard, Spica Prunellae could heal the body internally and externally. He wrote about using it for a headache treatment when combined with oil of roses and vinegar and placed on the forehead, and aiding with dry tongue or swelling or blackness of the tongue. Colonial America used it as a tonic for sore throats, liver and urinary problems and stomach cramps as well as for people with fits or worms. The Shakers sold it for treatment of internal bleeding, cankers and sore throats. In New Zealand, it is used as an ointment for wounds and cuts that don’t heal.

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