Skullcap was used by Native Americans for rabies and to promote menstruation. SKULLCAP WAS CONSIDERED A SPECIFIC REMEDY FOR SOOTHING NERVOUSNESS, EXCITEMENT AND HYSTERIA BY ECLECTICS. It is characterised by dish-shaped seed pods that grow on only one side of the stem. 

Botanical Name: Scutellaria lateriflora

Common name: Skullcap

Family: Lamiacaea

Parts Used: Aerial parts harvested late in flowering period when seed pods have appeared

Active Constituents: 

  • Tannins
  • Flavonoids
    • baicalin, baicalein, chrysin and wogonin
    • scutellarin, methoxyflavone, and catalpol
  • Diterpenoids
  • Resins
  • Lignins
  • Volatile oils / fixed oils – predominantly sesquiterpenes
  • Minerals Fe, S, Ca, Mg P
  • Amino Acids – GABA & glutamine
  • Bitter


Cool, dry, bitter, slightly astringent

Person Picture:

Tall and thin. They may be a ‘walking nervous breakdown’. Life in the fast lane. 

Generally are ‘ideas’ people – intellectually bright and NEED TO BE STIMULATED. Will get agitated or irritable if they can’t think of ideas or aren’t stimulated. Need constant ‘new & different’ things going on.  

May have shaken hands. Trouble regulating adrenaline & noradrenaline. Eyelid may droop. May get headaches/migraines. EXTREME ADRENAL RESPONSES. May use stimulants and downers to regulate this. (Hall) ‘Too smart for own good’.

Perfect herb for HYPERSENSITIVE individuals – i.e those that are overstimulated easily by the senses. Also those individuals sensitive to foods/allergies/intolerances etc.

Calms neuronal impulses.

“Skullcap is perhaps the most widely relevant nervine available to us in the material media” – David Hoffman, 1983


  • Nervine tonic – Relaxing Nervine
  • Anxiolytic
  • NS trophorestorative
  • Spasmolytic
  • Sedative (Mild)
  • Anti-convulsant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant
  • GABAminergic?


  • Anxiety
  • Nervous tension
  • Stress
  • Nervous exhaustion and debility
  • Neurological conditions, neuralgia, tremor,
  • Epilepsy – specific Grand mal seizures
  • Nervous headache / migraine / tension headache
  • Insomnia and restless sleep
  • Depression
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Teething pain for children
  • Possible action of inhibiting histamine responses to food allergies
  • EMOTIONAL – When someone has ‘high expectations of themselves — causing anxiety’ — monkey mind. Or ‘internal anxiety’ — someone who puts on a brave face but inside is anxious.


Calming in many Nervous Conditions – have a Tonic effect on central nervous system and indicated for nervous exhaustion. Helpful in cases of pre-menstrual tension and has been useful in epilepsy.

Contraindications: None known

Cautions: None known


Liquid Extract
3-6ml 1:2LE / day 20-40ml 1:2 LE / week

Dried Herb Equivalent
3-6g / day dried aerial parts (infusion)


  • Passionflower, damiana and oats in nervous exhaustion
  • Valerian for sleep
  • Lemon Balm for nervous stress/depression


  • INFUSION: Use herb fresh if possible. For insomnia – combine with wild lettuce or passionflower & take at night
  • TINCTURE: Best made from fresh herb – this is a potent remedy for calming the nerves. Take %ml or combine with Lemon Balm for nervous stress or depression

References & Links to Articles:

Ody, Penelope (1998). The Herb Society’s Complete Medicinal Herbal. Milan: Dorling Kindersley
Hoffman, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons

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