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Skullcap (Sculetellaria laterifolia)

Skullcap (Sculetellaria laterifolia)

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Botanical name: Scutellaria laterifolia

Other names: Skullcap, Scullcap, Mad-dog skullcap, Mad-dog weed, Mad weed, Helmet flower, Quaker bonnet, Blue pimpernel, Hoodwort, Blue skullcap, Virginia Skullcap, Mad dog

Family: Lamiaceae

Parts used: Aerial parts

Skullcap is a resilient perennial herb from the mint family (Lamiaceae) (1). Native to North America and Canada, it's cultivated in other temperate regions. It flourishes in damp habitats such as riverbanks, forests, thickets, and wet meadows (2).

Historically, native cultures used Skullcap as a women's medicine for breast pain relief, menstruation stimulation, and placenta expulsion (2).

Today, Skullcap's primary use is as a natural sedative, relieving nervous tension while rejuvenating the central nervous system. It has shown effectiveness in treating seizures, hysteria, and epilepsy. Additionally, it's used for alleviating pre-menstrual tension, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and insomnia (3)(4).


Skullcap contains a range of flavonoids - including baicalein, baicalin, scutellarein, scutellarin, wogonin, apigenin, hispidulin, and luteolin. The presence of human neurohormones, serotonin, melatonin (in smaller amounts), the iridoid glycoside – catalpol, volatile oil, and tannins further enrich its composition.


A typical dosage is 1-2g, taken three times daily as a tea (infusion), and left for 10-15 minutes.


Skullcap is generally considered safe with no common adverse reactions (4), but an overdose can lead to confusion and stupor (3). If pregnant, breastfeeding, or using other sedating drugs or herbs, please consult a qualified herbal practitioner before use.




(3) Hoffman D. 2003.The Holistic Herbal. London: Element.


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