American Skullcap – (Scutellaria lateriflora)

American Skullcap has a long history of use in natural medicine, mainly to support overall nervous system health.  It is cooling yet has bitter principles and other complex chemicals making it a good overall choice as a nervine (something used to calm nerves).


American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is commonly known as Blue Skullcap; the name comes from the flowers, which are shaped like skulls.  It is native to North America. It has been used in natural medicine to treat symptoms of conditions associated with the nervous system.  These include shaking/tremors, nervous tensions, convulsions, and mild anxiety.  It’s also used as a sleep aid due to its ability to reduce anxiety and promote an overall feeling of calmness.  It has also been known to relieve headaches, decrease inflammation, and help calm irritable people.

This herb works because it is rich in minerals necessary for a healthy nervous system.   The leaves and stalks of American Skullcap contains several flavonoids (scutellarein, isoscutellarein, wogonin, and baicalin.)

Topically, American Skullcap is used to treat snakebites, rashes and insect bites.  It promotes urinary function, has anti-tumor properties, treats hepatitis, and is used to reduce swelling.  It is also one of the most effective herbs for treating depression, especially in women. It is also used for stress-related arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

American Skullcap can be administered through a tea or a tincture.  It is recommended that anyone using this herb should consume extra water during that time.

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