I can’t profess to use Liz Earle For Men After-Shaving Moisturiser, but I do have an inkling of what’s creating the magic that has made it a firm favourite (dare I say ‘desert island product’) with all the men in my life: the skin-soothing powers of self-heal (Prunella vulgaris).
Shakespeare was wise when he pondered ‘What’s in a name?’ Quite a lot, actually, when it comes to plant names – whether botanical or common. And because Prunella vulgaris is holarctic in distribution (it grows throughout the continents of the northern hemisphere), there are a plethora of names for this familiar herb. From the names of my childhood, where it was a lawn weed that went by ‘square plant’ and ‘groundhog plantain’ to ‘self-heal’, ‘all heal’, ‘cure all’ and even ‘carpenter’s weed’, which describe this herb’s uses as a traditional remedy, we’ve all christened this useful gem. Fortunately, no matter what it is called colloquially, the botanical name a Swedish botanist Linnaeus (who Romanised his own name) gave it in the 18th century, remains the same across the globe: Prunella for the German name of a disease it was thought to cure (Brunella) and vulgaris meaning ‘common’. So when it comes to this little miracle
worker, we know we’re all talking about the same plant.
There’s a certain absolute swagger about a plant known by the names ‘cure all’ and ‘heal all’. If something ails you, from – according to the famous herbalist Gerard – a black tongue to a knife wound, the answer lies in a good dose of self-heal applied in a variety of ways. Confidence in self-heal’s powers doesn’t just run high in Europe; across the globe, wherever we coexist with it, this herb has a long history of use for just about everything.
With all that healing power, you might be more inclined to invite pretty self-heal into your garden – but if only it had better manners when it got there. Like many cousins of mint, self-heal spreads easily and quickly by rooting stems to form mats of dark green pointed leaves. We take advantage of the extract of these leaves in our After-Shaving Moisturiser to help improve skin irritation, blending it with borage and avocado oils to soothe razor burn, ingrown hairs and minor rashes. So next time you get your mower out and set about your lawn with vigour, have a heart and give self-heal a chance.