American skullcap benefits and medicinal uses (Scutellaria lateriflora)

American skullcap plant is a perennial herb which is a creeper that has shoots 15- 50 cm tall. Here, we will talk about American skullcap benefits and medicinal uses.

American skullcap benefits and medicinal uses

Scutellaria lateriflora are branched but can be almost simple. The leaves are opposite and heart-shaped. They are 1.5-6.5 cm long with scalloped or toothed edges. The flowers are blue to lavender in colour and grow in racemes from the leaf axils on the upper regions of the plant.

The flowers are tube-shaped and hooded It has two upper lips, and the lower lip has two lobes. The stem is weak, and when the plant bends over, it forms new roots. Flowering is from May to August.

American skullcap common names

The common name for this plant is skullcap. The other names include side-flowering skullcap, mad dog skullcap, blue skullcap. It grows well near marshes and all wet habitats. It bears blue or pink flowers along the length of the stem. These flowers are about a centimetre long. The shape of the flower is like a medieval helmet.

Skullcap botanical name and family

The botanical name is Scutellaria lateriflora. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family.

Geological places where Scutellaria lateriflora plant grows

The skullcap is a native of North America. You find it growing from New York to West Virginia, and in the south in Missouri, Alabama, and South Carolina.

American skullcap benefits and medicinal uses

Scutellaria lateriflora flowers leaves

People have used this powerful medicinal herb since the olden times.  The important constituents found in the American Skullcap include the Tannins, Bitter Iridoids, Volatile Oils, Catalpol, and Scutellarian. The medicinal value is due to the various characteristics it has such as these:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Slightly astringent
  • Emmenagogue
  • Febrifuge
  • Nervine
  • Sedative
  • Strongly tonic.
  • Improve heart health:  The roots of Scutellaria lateriflora have baicalein that helps in reversing the myocardial infarction. Due to the higher amount of antioxidant defensive enzymes, pre-treatment with baicalein proves helpful for heart patients. 
  • Use as a nerve tonic: The plant shows anxiolytic activity in animals and humans. Due to the calming effect for people with hysteria and anxiety, it is used to calm people down. 
  • Helps you sleep: The sedative nature of the plant helps people suffering from insomnia. It soothes the nerves and helps you get good sleep. 
  • Helps deal with withdrawal symptoms: People who have withdrawal symptoms of tranquilizers and barbiturates can have the tea prepared from the American skullcap and get relief. Drink one cup both in the morning and the evening. 
  • Reduces muscle spasms: There are many instances of the use of skullcap in Ayurveda for treating people with epilepsy. Herbal preparation in which skullcap is one of the ingredients helps patients subdue tremors and nerve-related symptoms. It also reduces the incidence of seizures in animals. 
  • Fights against cancer cells: The skullcap extract proves toxic to cancer cells. Aqueous extract of the American Skullcap suppresses the growth of myeloma and lymphoma cells. The anticancer effect is due to the presence of flavones, a type of antioxidant that inhibits cancer cell growth. 
  • Bring girls into womanhood: It has emmenagogue properties that help girls start to menstruate. So, this plant is used in some communities to speed up the process and make the girls into women faster. 
  • Useful for colds: You can use the preparation of the plant for curing coughs and colds and congestions of the respiratory tract. 
  • Eliminate headaches: For people having a headache from incessant coughing, the tea made from the skullcap plant helps to give relief from headache.  
  • Cure for insect stings: Apply the paste of the leaves and dried flowers on the insect stings to get instant relief from insect stings 
  • Good for controlling inflammation: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, you can apply the extract or the oil of the plant on the joints of the knee and elbow for people with bone-related diseases. It helps to control the swelling and the pain. 
  • Good for the female reproductive system: The active substances in the plant help promote the health of the female reproductive system. Women who wish to conceive must have the tea morning and night to enhance their reproductive system.
  • Control Flu fever: Use of skullcap preparations is helpful for treating fevers associated with Flu. The preparation is mixed with unprocessed rhubarb and fried, bitter apricot seeds and given to those having a fever.
  • Helps people with ADHD: Skullcap is recognized as an alternative therapy for treatment of people with ADHD. The plant extract helps improve the health of the nerves and make the patient calm. Due to its anti-inflammatory effect, it also helps those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. 
  • Treat anorexia: For mild eating disorders, you can use the extract of the plant to cure the patient. Use the extract of the plant with tea twice a day for the best results.

American skullcap side effects

When you have an overdose of skullcap, it might result in confusion, stupor, and giddiness. In pregnant women, it might cause a miscarriage. You might also experience twitching and irregular heartbeat.

How to make the skullcap tea

The recommended dosage is 1-2 grams of dried leaves. You can use the skullcap in the form of a tea, tincture, or crude root extract. You also find it in the form of an oil, capsule, or liquid extract. It is very simple to make the tea and is the favoured way to have the skullcap.

To make the tincture, take a container measuring 250-300 ml. Fill it halfway with the dried leaves of skullcap. Take 100 Proof Vodka and pour it over the leaves.

Shut the lid on the container and leave it aside for six weeks. During the first few days, open the container, air it, and stir it. For the rest of the time, you only need to give it a good shake.

Once six weeks are past, filter the mix using a coffee filter. Put the tincture you have got into a smaller bottle having a dropper. You can take a teaspoonful at night. Some people add it to hot water. To make Scutellaria lateriflora tea, boil 1 teaspoon of dried leaves in 1 cup of water, strain and have. You can have 2-3 cups a day.


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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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