Also known as
Scutellaria lateriflora, Scutellaria, Scullcap, Scute, Blue Skullcap, Mad-Dog Skullcap, and Madweed.
Skullcap is an herbaceous perennial mint with ridged leaves and tiny flowers that can range in color from purple and blue to pink and white. The two-lobed flowers resemble the military helmets worn by early European settlers, hence the herb's name. A hardy plant, it grows 1 to 4 feet (25 cm to 1 m) high, thriving in the woods and swamplands of eastern North America. Settlers in the late 1700's promoted the herb's effectiveness as a cure for rabies, giving rise to one of its common names, mad dog weed. This claim was later discarded, and herbalists began to focus on the plant's considerable value.
Volatile oil, scutellarin, bitter glycoside, tannin, fat, bitter principles, and sugar.
The above-ground parts of the plant, dried.
Traditionally taken as a tea or tincture; can be used in capsule form. For a mild sedative, combine equal parts skullcap, hops and valerian root. This can be taken as a tea or tincture three times daily and a half hour before retiring. 15-20 drops of skullcap tincture taken every hour or two can lessen the severity of drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Skullcap is a comforting herb, traditionally used to alleviate nervous tension and exhaustion. It is used to promote emotional wellbeing and relaxation during times of occasional distress.
Medical Herbalism by David Hoffmann page 582
Not toxic in normal amounts, although overdoses of skullcap tincture may cause confusion, giddiness, stupor, and seizures. Due to its use in expelling afterbirth, it should not be used by pregnant women. Skullcap cut with related species can be dangerous (for example, Teucrium chamaedrys, a close relative of pink skullcap, can cause hepatitis and liver damage), so make certain you are getting authentic scutellaria.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.