O.E. hælan "make whole, sound and well," from P.Gmc. *khailaz (cf. O.S. helian, O.N. heila, O.Fris. hela, Du. heelen, Ger. heilen), lit. "to make whole," which is also the source of O.E. hal (see health). Heal-all as a native word for "panacea" is attested from 1577; applied to various plants since 1853.