Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Native to the East Coast of North America, skullcap is a small plant with square stems and small heart-shaped leaves with toothed edges. The flowers range from blue to lavender and are hooded and tube-shaped. The plant blooms from May to August, which is when the plant is harvested.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Skullcap has long been used for mental disorders. It has also been used to treat epilepsy, hysteria, delirium tremens, insomnia, fever and withdrawal from various drug addictions. It is an emmenagogue and is used to promote menstruation. The infusion can be taken to treat throat infections, nervous headaches, neuralgia, pain and as a sedative.
The herb is being used to treat ADD and similar disorders. This herb can lower blood pressure and ease muscle tension and spasms such as occur with Parkinson's disease. Historically, it was used to treat rabies, hence its nickname of "mad dog." Studies have shown that it eases inflammation and the release of histamines. It has also been effective for anorexia, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, mild cases of Tourette's syndrome and seizures.
Externally not used externally
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
To make a calming herbal tea, combine skullcap with passionflower, chamomile and lemongrass and steep for 15 minutes. After straining, this tea can be taken throughout the day without worry.
The Chinese blend skullcap with stinging nettle for an herbal remedy for hay fever.
Leaves, flowers Both the leaves and the small flowers are used to make herbal teas and tinctures. They are also dried and powdered to put into capsules.
Pregnant women should not take skullcap, as it can induce a miscarriage. Overdosing can cause stupor, giddiness, twitching and confusion. Occasionally you may experience cramping or diarrhea.
Preparation and Dosage
To make a medicinal herbal tea, add 1 tablespoon of skullcap to 1 cup of water at the boiling point. Steep this solution for 15 minutes. For severe forms of anxiety, 3 to 6 cups of this herbal tea can be taken for a day or two. After that, the dosage must be reduced to 2 to 3 cups per day as needed. For long term use or for less severe cases, take 1 to 3 cups per day.
If you are taking a tincture, ¼ to 1 full teaspoon of tincture can be taken 2 to 4 times per day, depending on your response to the herb. Start with the lowest dose and gauge your reaction before increasing.
If you prefer capsules, take 2 capsules 2 to 4 times per day as needed.