Today, skullcap is taken mainly as a nerve tonic and for its restorative properties. It helps to support and nourish the nervous system, and calms and relieves stress and anxiety. Its antispasmodic action makes it useful for conditions where stress and worry cause muscular tension.

Botanical Name

Scutellaria lateriflora

Part Used


Common Names

mad-dog skullcap, Virginia skullcap, mad dogweed, mad weed, blue pimpernel, hood-wort.

Brief History

Scutellaria laterifloraThere are two ideas as to the name of skullcap. One is because the calyx of the little blue flower resembles a tiny cap. Another is that the generic name is from the Latin scutella (a little dish) from the lid of the calyx. There has also been a reference which relates the shape to a scull or a shell-shaped boat. Skullcap was such a well-known remedy for rabies, it was once called “mad-dog weed.” Was found in many 19th-century patent medicines as a nerve tonic, especially for “female weakness” and as an epilepsy “cure.” If smoked, the effects are similar to marijuana.


Flavonoids (apigenin, hispidulin, luteloin, scutellarein, scutellarin), iridoid glycoside (catalpol), essential oil, fixed oil

Therapeutic Properties

Analgesic, anticonvulsant, sedative, nerve tonic

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Cold

Moisture: Dry

Therapeutic Indications

Insomnia, nervous tension, neurasthenia, premenstrual syndrome, Epilepsy, Grand Mal Seizures, anxiety.

Primary Uses

Anxiety, headache, and stress.

The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, responds to the perception of stress by releasing adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This is the hormone that starts the profound changes in body chemistry that make up the stress response. Scutellaria has been reported to stop the overproduction of ACTH in laboratory studies. In one study, Scutellaria was shown to reduce anxiety, increase energy levels, and improve cognition.

Dosage (Divided Daily)

Dried Herb: 3000 – 9000mg

• Liquid Extract: 2 – 4.5mL (1:2 liquid extract)

Buy Skullcap Capsules and Loose Tea
Skullcap Leaf


None known

Side effects

None known

Interactions with other drugs

None known


  1. Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI: Churchill Livingstone.
  2. Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.

  3. Herbalpedia (2013)

  4. Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: the ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub. 

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

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