SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Scutellaria laterifolia L. Family: Labiatae

COMMON NAME(S): Scullcap, skullcap, helmetflower, hoodwort, mad-dog weed

Skullcap is a powerful medicinal herb, it is used in alternative medicine as an anti-inflammatory, abortifacient, antispasmodic, slightly astringent, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, sedative and strongly tonic. Some valuable constituents found in the plant are Scutellarin, Catalpol, other Volatile oils, bitter iridoids and Tannins. Scientific studies are proving this to be a valuable plant in many areas for mental disorders.


Skullcap appears to have been introduced into traditional American medicine toward the end of the 1700s as a treatment for the management of hydrophobia. It was later used us a tonic, particularly in proprietary remedies for "female weakness.The plant was reputed to be an herbal tranquilizer, particularly in combination with valerian but has since fallen into disuse.

Botany :- Scullcap, a member of the mint family, is native to the US where it grows in moist woods. Scull cap is an erect perennial that grows to 0.6 to 0.9 m in height. Its bluish flowers bloom from July to September. Official compendia (eg, NF VI) recognized only the dried overground portion of the plant as useful; however, some herbal texts listed all parts as medicinal.The aerial parts of the plant are collected during the flowering period, typically August and September. A number of species have been used medicinally, and the most common European species has been S. baicalensis Georgii, a native of East Asia .

Uses of Skullcap

Skullcap is not recognized as having therapeutic activity although recent studies suggest that it might have anti-inflammatory activity.

Today skullcap is commonly used in connection with anxiety, nervous tension, muscle spasms, PMS-related symptoms, tension headaches, restless legs syndrome, insomnia, and mild Tourette's syndrome.

Side Effects of Scullcap

  • If taken in a normal dose, scullcap does not seem to exhibit any adverse effects.
  • Avoid taking American skullcap if you are pregnant or nursing.


Skullcap may be used for calming purposes in children as a mild tea. The dose is given according to the child's age and weight.

  • Children 1 to 2 years (24 lb [11 kg] or less) - ¼ cup one to three times per day
  • Children 3 to 6 years (25 to 48 lb [11 to 22 kg]) - ½ cup one to four times per day
  • Children 7 to 11 years (49 to 95 lb [22 to 43 kg]) - ¾ cup one to four times per day
  • Children 12 and older (over 95 lb [43 kg]) - 1 cup one to four times per day
It is best to steep tea bags or 1 tsp of dried leaves in a cup of boiling water for 2 minutes. The suggested adult dosage for skullcap is 1 to 2g three times per day.

There is no evidence to indicate that Scutellaria is toxic when ingested at "normal" doses. According to the FDA, overdose of the tincture causes giddiness, stupor, confusion, twitching of the limbs, intermission of the pulse, and other symptoms similar to convulsions.

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