The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Skullcap

Scientific Names

Skullcap

  • Scutellaria lateriflora L.
  • Labiatae
  • Mint family

Common Names

  • American skullcap
  • Blue pimpernel
  • Blue skullcap
  • Helmet flower
  • Hooded willow herb
  • Hoodwart
  • Hoodwort
  • Mad dog weed
  • Mad weed
  • Side flower
  • Side-flowering skullcap
  • Skullcap helmet flower

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Parts Usually Used

Aerial parts
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Skullcap

Skullcap is a North American perennial plant; the fibrous, yellow rootstock produces a branching stem from 1-3 feet high, with opposite, ovate, serrate leaves that come to a point.

The axillary, two-lipped flowers are pale purple or blue, blooming from July to September.

Another variety: The Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria macrantha) is called Huang-ch’in.
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Where Found

Grows in wet places in Canada and the northern and eastern United States.

Found in damp, rich woods, moist thickets, meadows, and riversides; from Connecticut, south to Florida and Texas. Indigenous to North America.
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Medicinal Properties

Alterative, antispasmodic, diuretic, sedative, tonic, nervine, slightly astringent
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Biochemical Information

Fat, a bitter glycoside, iron, bitter principle, scutellarin, volatile oil, sugar, tannins, and vitamin E.
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Known as Mad-dog skullcap because tea was once used as a folk remedy for rabies.

This herb was highly esteemed as an herb tea by the old time empirics and eclectics. Skullcap is still collected in the eastern mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky and hung in rafters to dry, ready for use when deemed necessary.
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Uses

An infusion of skullcap is good for spasms and convulsions and for nervous conditions, it has a calming effect on the body, such as excitability, insomnia, hysteria, convulsions, tremors, epilepsy, hypertension, bed wetting, restlessness, stress, and general restlessness. It has also been recommended for rheumatism, rickets, palsy, nerualgia, chorea, snakebites, poisonous insect bites, and delirium tremens (DTs). Native Americans used the plant to promote menstruation, menstrual cramps, and it was reputed to be effective against rabies. It has been given to recovering alcoholics suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

Good for migraine headaches, epilepsy, and relieves pain, stress, neuralgia, neuritis, arthritis, muscle cramps, spasms. Improves circulation, strengthens the heart muscle, and aids sleep.

Useful in St. Vitus’s dance, shaking palsy, hydrophobia, bites of poisonous insects and snakes. Splendid to suppress excessive sexual desire.

As a substitute for quinine, skullcap is more effective and is not as harmful. Also, is a good brain tonic for promoting meditation.

This is one of the best herbs to use to break addictions and to ease the problems associated with drug and alcohol withdrawal. For such a condition, 1/4 to 1/2 a cupful of the tea should be taken every hour or two, tapering off as the symptoms subside. Skullcap is one of the herbs traditionally held to cure infertility.

The following combination is a positive remedy for wakefulness: equal parts skullcap, nerve root, hops, catnip, and black cohosh. Take a tbsp. of each, mix together, and use a heaping tsp. to 1 cup of boiling water. This combination is very useful in aiding a morphine addict to sleep.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. dried plant in a cup of water for 30 minutes. Take 3-4 times a day.

Tincture: a dose is from 3-12 drops, taken in hot water.
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How Sold

It should be noted that most of what is sold as skullcap in this country is germander (Teucrium). Ask for the genuine herb.

Capsules: take 1 capsule for up to 3 times daily.

Dried herb: mix 1 tbsp. herb with 8 oz. warm water. Drink 1 cup of the tea per day. May sweeten with honey and add lemon if desired.

Extract: mix 3 to 12 drops in liquid per day.
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Warning

Large doses are of unknown toxicity.
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Bibliography

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

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