Skullcap (Scullcap) Used For Insomnia, Nervous Tension, Muscle Spasms, Exhaustion and More

Scutellaria lateriflora
Skullcap herb benefits
Skullcap herb benefits

Labiatae (mint family)
Mad-dog skullcap was the historical name for this native perennial herb, an early folk remedy for rabies. The name skullcap comes from the blossoms, which resemble a type of military helmet worn during the colonial period, when Europeans were learning of and naming most native herbs. The genus name, Scutellaria, comes from the Latin meaning "drinking howl," a shape similar to a skullcap; and lateriflora, the species name, means "flowering on the side."

Found growing throughout the East in rich woodland openings and moist hedgerows, skullcap is cultivated in many herb gardens. It will grow up to three feet tall with opposite leaves (oval to lance-shaped) and branching racemes of violet-blue flowers blooming from May through September. It can often create large colonies in favorable locations.
Of some three hundred species of skullcap all told, there are nine noteworthy wild species in the eastern states, and each holds some native medicinal values. All flower in late spring and summer in shades of violet to blue, with occasional varieties of pink or white flowers. Hyssop skullcap, S. integrifolia, has slender, untoothed leaves and grows from six to thirty inches tall in clearings and woodland edges from Connecticut to Ohio and Missouri and south. Heart-leaved skullcap, S. ovata, is a robust, softly downy species favoring limestone soil and wooded riverbanks from Connecticut to Minnesota and Wisconsin to West Virginia, and south. It can grow from one to three feet tall. Downy skullcap, S. incana, is minutely fuzzy and can develop many branches. This species favors dry woods and clearings from New Jersey to Iowa and south, standing up to three or more feet tall. Hairy skullcap, S. elliptica, is much more hairy, branched, and favors similar soils and the same general range as the downy skullcap.
Showy skullcap, S. serrata, is a smooth, slender herb that grows up to two feet tall in woods and along stream-banks from New York south along the Appalachians, while the tiny smaller skullcap, S. parvula, barely twelve inches tall, favors limestone soils from Quebec and Maine south and west to Minnesota. Veined skullcap, S. nervosa, can reach two feet tall in damp soil of thickets and woods from Ontario south to Pennsylvania, and west to Indiana and Illinois. Widespread throughout eastern wet areas from Canada to Delaware to Missouri, common or marsh skullcap, S. epilobiifolia, can grow from one to three feet tall.
Traditional uses:
Strong teas of skullcap were used by the Indians to treat headaches, epilepsy, insomnia and for general pain relief. The leaves and blossoms also went into tonics, tinctures, and salves. The Cherokee used skullcap to relieve cramps and promote menstruation, as well as to relieve certain taboos.
Modern uses:
Modern herbalists continue to take advantage of the healing powers of these native perennial herbs. Our native skullcap, S. lateriflora, and Baical skullcap, S. baicalensis (huang quin), are the principal medicinal herbs of commerce. Their tinctures, infusions, and capsules, with a bitter, astringent taste, serve to treat ailments from migraines and headaches to panic attacks, tension, and depression. It is mainly used as a nerve tonic and sedative. Skullcap medicines have restorative properties that help to nourish and support the nervous system. Often prescribed alone or in formula with other herbs, they also help relieve insomnia and menstrual pain. Teas, capsules, and tinctures made from S. lateriflora act as an antispasmodic for all types of nervous conditions, especially asthma.
Large doses of this herb are harmful.
Growth needs and propagation:
Skullcap favors rich, moist earth and semi-shaded areas in the herb garden. This herb will grow well in most kinds of soil and is easily propagated from root divisions. Also consider purchasing healthy young plants from good garden centers and plant nurseries.
Skullcap grows well with strawberry, mayapple, maidenhair fern, blue flag, and ginger.
As a smallpox preventative, mad-dog skullcap keeps the throat clean. Dry the root and take one tablespoon of powdered root and steep it in one quart of water. Drink a wineglassful three times a day.
- Sam Hill, Onondaga herbalist, Six Nations Reserve, 1912
Skullcap, sometimes spelled Scullcap, has been used in the treatment of epilepsy, headaches, general pain relief and insomnia.

No comments:

Post a Comment