American Skullcap, Blue Pimpernel, Blue Skullcap, Escutelaria,
Helmet Flower, Scutellaria.
People Use This For:
Skullcap is used for insomnia, anxiety, nervous tension,
allergies, dermatitis, inflammation, and spasms.
There is insufficient scientific information available about the
use of skullcap.
Pregnancy and Lactation: Refer to a Medical Herbalist.
INSUFFICIENT RELIABLE EVIDENCE to RATE
Anxiety. Preliminary evidence suggests that healthy people who
take a single dose of skullcap extract might feel more relaxed
than tense. This effect appears to last for about 2
hours.41 But it is not known if taking skullcap is
effective for anxiety disorders or if extended use is beneficial.
More scientific evidence is needed to rate skullcap for this use.
Mechanism of Action:
The applicable parts of skullcap are the above ground parts. The
principle flavonoids of skullcap are baicalin and
Skullcap also contains lignins, resins, tannins, and volatile
It is thought that the flavonoid constituents of skullcap might
act as GABA agonists and therefore have a sedating and anxiolytic
Constituents of skullcap seem to bind the serotonin receptor
5-HT7. But it's not known if these constituents have agonist or
antagonist properties on the receptor.42 Skullcap's
effects on the serotonin receptor may be involved in potential
Orally, single doses of skullcap extract appear to be
well-tolerated. A single skullcap extract dose of 100 mg does not
seem to affect cognition or cause significant sedation. But a
higher dose of 200 mg might cause more sedation and cognitive
impairment.41 The effect of these typical doses in
repeated doses is not known.
Interactions with Herbs & Supplements:
Herbs and Supplements with Sedative Properties: Theoretically,
concomitant use with herbs that have sedative properties might
enhance therapeutic and adverse effects.
Interactions with Drugs:
Interactions with Foods:
Interactions with Lab Tests:
Interactions with Diseases or Conditions:
Dr Clare’s Blends: 1 gm per day
Oral: A typical dose is 1-2 grams or as a tea three times
daily.43 The extract is typically used 2-4 mL (1:1 in
25% alcohol) three times daily. The tincture is typically used
3-6 mL (1:5 in 45% alcohol).43
Specific References: SKULLCAP
41. Wolfson P, Hoffmann DL. An investigation into the
efficacy of Scutellaria lateriflora in healthy volunteers. Altern
Ther Health Med 2003;9:74-8.
42. Gafner S, Bergeron C, Batcha LL, et al. Inhibitor of
[3H]-LSD binding to 5-HT7 receptors by flavonoids from
Scutellaria lateriflora. J Nat Prod 2003;66:535-7.
43. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Philpson JD. Herbal Medicine: A
Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London, UK: The
Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.