Plant Profile: Skullcap

Skullcap

Scutellaria lateriflora



Family: LABIATAE

Energetics: 
Cooling/Relaxing



Taste: Bitter. Astringent

Tissue States: Heat, Tension

Body Systems Affected: Gallbladder, Heart, Large intestines, Liver, Lungs. Nervous System


Parts Used: Aerial parts

Key Components: Flavonoid glycosides (scutellarin & scutellarein), trace volatile oils.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion. Tincture: Skullcap is best tinctured when fresh. 95% alcohol at a 1:2 ratio, though other herbalists have been known to use as low as 40% alcohol. I'd probably go with a 50%. The standard recommended dose is 3–5 ml three times per day. Smoking Herb. Infused oil (Not to be confused with essential oil as this is a NON aromatic member of the mint family).

Actions:

Foundational: 
  • Astringent
  • Bitter
Primary:
  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Relaxing Nervine
  • Laxative
  • Sedative
  • Hemostatic
Secondary:
  • Analgesic
  • Antipyretic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Clears Heat (From heart, lungs & liver)

Uses:
  • Anxiety
  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Panic Attacks
  • Seizures
  • Stress
  • Teething
  • Twitching

My Personal Experience with Skullcap: I personally suffer from anxiety that presents with chronic pain across my upper back (across my shoulder blades) as wells as a perceived difficulty breathing that feels like I'm unable to take a full deep breath (my lungs are clear and my oxygen level is always 100% or close). I take 1 squirt of skullcap tincture and these 2 symptoms completely disappear within minutes. I also find myself feeling calmer and less panicky and stressed. Energetically this should not be a good fit for me as I run cold. Curious though, that as an astringent, it is locally drying and I do have a tendency toward energetic dampness.  

Anxiety & Panic Attacks: Can be taken over time combined with other lifestyle changes to ease chronic stress. It is also excellent as a tincture for sudden anxiety or panic attacks.

Best suited for those who tend to have more of an energetic excess of heat and excitation. These types of people might be people who always tend to be or people who easily become overheated or get cranky in hot weather. They have a red tongue, possibly with a yellow coating and a fast pulse. They also tend to have a more "type A" personality. 



ADHD: Large doses over a period of time have shown that Skullcap is successful (especially when blended with Fresh oat, rose petals, sweet birch and Holy basil) in people with ADHD who suffer from irritability, tremors, nervous tics, anger outbursts and hypersensitivity.

Combines well with: 
  • Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
  • California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Hops (Humulus lupulus)
  • Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)
  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Identifying: 


Growing: Different species of Skullcap grow all throughout North America. "Prefers shade to full sun" Which I guess means that it's not picky...  Is comfortable in rich moist fertile soil. 

Harvesting: According to herbalist Darcy Williams it is best to “Pick the flowering herb, taking only the top 2/3 of the blooms, leaving the lower ones to form seeds. Be certain to harvest from a large, healthy colony and take only one out of every ten flowers.”

Contraindications: none
Sources


Comments