Skullcap is a plant. It get its name from its blue flowers, which have two “lips” and are reminiscent of the skullcaps worn in medieval times. Skullcap is sometimes called “mad dog,” in reference to its historical use in treating the symptoms of rabies, which can result from the bite of a rabid dog.
The herb also is found throughout the United States and southern Canada. Skullcap can refer to 2 herbs: American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis).
Both contain very different components and are used for different conditions, one cannot be substituted for the other. Skullcap herb can be found in most all health food stores that sell herbs, in all herb stores and on the internet at many herbal sites.
Skullcap also grows wild and can be wild harvested, if you know what you are looking for. Skullcap offers pain relief, a cure for insomnia and headache relief including migraines.
The herb is used to dry dampness from the stomach or intestines, treating any kind of digestive upset that stifles the urge to drink fluids or causes inflammation of the urinary tract. Skullcap has beneficial gastrointestinal effects and can slow down intestinal movement.
Skullcap is effective at inducing sleep when necessary without unpleasant side effects. It can lower blood pressure and thus potentially lower one’s risk of cardiovascular events and strokes.
Leaf and stem are an important part of the harvest as well, and offer minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that make Skullcap a cherished nervine to relax and calm a weary body.
Although skullcap is generally considered safe, a report published in 2001 warns that the herb may have a causal association with pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung tissue).
Given the potential adverse effects of skullcap use, it’s important to consult a doctor before taking this herb. Documented adverse effects in pregnancy, avoid use. It may inhibit pituitary and chorionic gonadotropins, as well as prolactin.