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.
mad-dog skullcap, Virginia skullcap, mad dogweed, mad weed, blue pimpernel, hood-wort.
There 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.
Analgesic, anticonvulsant, sedative, nerve tonic
Insomnia, nervous tension, neurasthenia, premenstrual syndrome, Epilepsy, Grand Mal Seizures, anxiety.
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)
Interactions with other drugs
- Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI: Churchill Livingstone.
Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
- 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.
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