Skullcap is a common name given to the plants included in the genus Scutellaria. The genus consists of about 300 different species, out of which Scutellaria lateriflora, is most commonly used in herbal medicine. It is a perennial herbaceous plant, that grows in marshy lands or swamplands in many parts of the world. It is characterized by tiny, bluish purple, two-lobed flowers that resemble the skullcaps worn in medieval times. Skullcap herb is known by many different names in different places, such as 'helmet flower', 'mad dog', 'madweed', 'hoodwort', etc. The various effects of this herb are responsible for its many uses in medicine.
Skullcap herb is known to possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, astringent, sedative, febrifuge and emmenagogue properties. All these properties are responsible for skullcap being effective in treating various health conditions.
- Skullcap herb is used as a tranquilizer and helps to ease nervous tension. It calm the mind and reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
- This herb is a sedative nervine and proves helpful in the treatment of conditions like insomnia, panic attacks and stress headaches.
- It is used to treat certain neurological disorders such as hysteria, delirium tremens, epilepsy and convulsions.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in reducing inflammation of joints. It can prove as an effective treatment for relieving pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
- This herb acts as an antihistamine and helps to reduce mucus congestion. It can reduce dry and hard coughs and is used for treating throat infections.
- This herb is used as an emmenagogue to promote menstrual discharge. It is also known to treat the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. However, this herb is unsuitable for pregnant women as it promotes menstrual discharge.
- The febrifuge properties of skullcap make it useful in lowering the body temperature and alleviating fever.
- Skullcap is known to have antibacterial properties and helps in the treatment of various skin infections and even urinary infections.
- It acts as a natural diuretic and can be used to promote bile flow.
- It is used as a herbal treatment for asthma and also as a remedy for hiccups and hangover.
- This herb is used as an alternative treatment for conditions like common cold, bronchitis, diarrhea and hepatitis.
Skullcap is a natural herbal supplement and is generally considered safe for use. However, as with any other dietary supplement, there are several side effects associated with the use of skullcap. Overdose of the herbal extract may also cause adverse effects on the body. In extreme cases, it can cause dizziness, drowsiness, seizures, irregular heartbeats, etc. This herb can also cause allergic reactions such as skin rash, hives, difficulty in breathing and swelling of the mouth.
This was all about skullcap herb benefits and side effects. It is generally taken in the form of skullcap tea. However, it is also available in the form of a tincture, as capsules and liquid extracts.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.