Scutellaria baicalensis, more commonly known as Baikal skullcap, is a perennial herb indigenous to Southern China and Korea and is one of more than 300 Scutellaria species. Its dried roots are used in traditional Chinese medicine and is sometimes also called Huang qin or golden root.
The plant grows to about 1-4 ft. tall, with lanceolate leaves and blue-purple, hermaprodite flowers. The roots are collected in spring or autumn once the plant is between 3-4 years old.
Chemical constituents of Baikal skullcap include major flavonoids and its constituents like baicalein, baicalin, norwogonin, wogonin, oroxylin, and Î²-sitosterol. A report also cites the presence of melatonin in some plant samples. Sterol and benzoic acid were also isolated.
Baikal Skullcap Health Benefits
The antioxidant properties of flavonoids found in Baikal skullcap have been studied and confirmed. It has a neutralizing effect against free radicals that cause disease, wrinkles and other degenerative diseases. The herb’s extracts also exhibited protective action against UV light oxidation, and have potential uses when it comes to treating skin diseases. Because of its high antioxidant content, Baikal skullcap works as a good tonic for the immune system.
There has been a study showing that the anti-inflammatory effect of the methanolic extract of the 3 flavonoids present in Baikal skullcap, namely wogonin, baicalein, and baicalin, has similar effects with that of prednisolone.
While there are still insufficient clinical trials to prove the effectiveness of the herb when it comes to treating disease, early studies were already affirmative. It has been used as one of the eight herbal ingredients in prostate disease medication, PC-SPES. This preparation has stimulating effects on the immune system as well as antitumor actions. PC-SPES therapy has been evaluated as a treatment course in cases where the prostate disease is resistant to hormone therapy.
The herb is also effective in reducing Prostate Specific Antigens (PSA) count by as much as 50%. It also reduced the level of the enzyme prostate acid phosphatise. However, the PC-SPES had been recalled from the market because the use of the prescription drug, warfarin, was not declared.
Baical skullcap helps treat circulatory disorders like high blood pressure, varicose veins, and bruising, and had demonstrated potential benefits in thrombosis and arteriosclerosis. When combined with other herbs, it has comparable effect with 50 mg/day aspirin in terms of inhibiting platelet aggregation.
Used alone or in combination with other herbs, Baikal skullcap is a highly potent herb that one should take in manageable dosage in tea, tincture or extract powder supplement form.
Scullcap for Insomnia and Menstrual Symptoms
Scutellaria lateriflora, commonly known as skullcap, is a perennial herb plant that has opposite, heart-shaped leaves with toothed or scalloped edges. It is a weak-stemmed plant that often falls to the ground. Its root is a crawling rhizome, which sprouts branched and hairy stems that grow up to 18 inches tall.
You might also hear scullcap referred to as Ban Zhi Lian, American Scullcap, blue skullcap, mad dog skullcap, or madweed.
It has tube-shaped, hooded and two-lipped flowers that bloom from the leaf axils in blue and lavender shades from May to August. The plant is native to North America.
The chemical components of scullcap include scutellarin, glucoside, baicalin, baicalein, tannin, fat, oroxylin, wogonin, and flavones.
Scullcap Health Benefits
Scullcap is beneficial because it works effectively as a/an:
Scullcap is a great alternative herbal health remedy for insomnia as it promotes deep sleep with no unwanted side effects, unlike other conventional treatments.
Scullcap has been used as a strong emmenagogue and remedy for various disorders affecting women. It promotes regular menstruation, alleviates menstrual symptoms like painful abdomen, headache and cramps. The herb helps induce the expulsion of the placenta from the body. It is also recommended for alleviating symptoms of PMS and menopause like extreme mood swings and depression.
Scullcap contains beneficial substances that help stimulate the nervous system and allow the body to cope with mental and physical strain. It is a time-tested remedy for any type of disturbance on the mental faculties, including panic, headaches, tension, depression and melancholy.
Scullcap is a strong herbal tonic that can nurture and rejuvenate the central nervous system. Its mineral contents can help the body cope with anxiety, stress, headaches, tension, muscle spasm and exhaustion. It helps pacify the nervous system, relaxes the muscles, and calms the mind. It is useful in healing disorders like spasms, frenzy, sexual over-excitement and mental impairments like schizophrenia. It looks promising as an all-natural alternative health treatment for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The herb is a recognized treatment for other serious health conditions like heart tremors, convulsions, wobbliness, epilepsy, and jerking muscles.
Infusing the herb is also beneficial when it comes to curing neuralgia and headache caused by non-stop cough and persistent body pain. You can also use it to treat withdrawal symptoms from addictions like smoking, tranquilizers, alcohol and barbiturates. Interestingly, there seems to be increased interest by some in achieving a drug high with skullcap.
Its anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial in treating arthritis. Scullcap can also reduce extremely high body temperatures, maintain liver health, and stimulate proper food absorption. Many also use this herb to treat throat infections.
Taking into account all the mentioned benefits, it is safe to say that Scullcap is a wonderful herb with many valuable uses for practitioners of herbal holistic health.