Scutellaria lateriflora

Also spelled scullcap, this herb is a long time favorite that is most commonly known as a natural tranquilizer. It renews the tissues of the nervous system, benefiting mood issues and PMS.

Skullcap is the herb of a member of the mint family from rich woods and moist soils in eastern North America. Another commonly used species is Baikal skullcap, (S. baicalensis), the root of which is the Chinese drug huang-qin. It is found in sandy fields in northeast China and adjacent Russia and in the mountains of south west China.

SkullcapThe The American species, Virginian Scullcap, flowers in July with inconspicuous blue flowers in one-sided racemes, is one of the finest nervines ever discovered for relieving anxiety, neuralgia, and insomnia. Also known as maddog skullcap, the American species was historically used to treat rabies.

Skullcap as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

Baikal skullcap was first mentioned in the middle class of drugs in Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing. In China it is found in prescriptions for fevers, colds, high blood pressure, hypertension, insomnia, headache, intestinal inflammation, vomiting of blood, and other conditions.

Baikal skullcap, the subject of numerous Chinese studies, inhibits bacteria and viruses, is diuretic, and lowers fevers and blood pressure; in China, it is used to treat hepatitis. One flavonoid found in the root, baicalin, has similar properties. Clinical studies in China show that a tincture of Baikal skullcap reduces high blood pressure.

In nervous headaches, neuralgia and in headache arising from incessant coughing and pain, it offers one of the most suitable and reliable remedies. The dried extract, given in doses of from 1 to 3 grains as a pill, will relieve severe hiccough.

Skullcap Leaf. Ayurveda says that it enhances meditation and awareness and reduces anger, jealousy and hatred. It is emotionally, as well as physically, calming.

The usual dose is an infusion of 1 ounce of the powdered herb to a pint of boiling water, given in half-teacupful doses, every few hours. Both fluid and solid extracts are prepared and Scutellarin is also administered in doses of 1 to 2 grains.


Steep 1 teaspoon dried plant in a teacup of water for 30 minutes.


Overdoses of the tincture cause giddiness, stupor, confusion of mind, twitchings of the limbs, intermission of the pulse and other symptoms indicative of epilepsy, for which in diluted strength and small doses it has been successfully given.

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