Skullcap or Scutellaria lateriflora is from the genus Scutellatia which includes 300 different species. It is easy to recognize as it has tiny, almost bluish purple flowers with two lobes that looks like the skullcaps worn during the medieval times, thus it’s name. This herbaceous plant grows perennially and abundantly in swamplands or marshlands in many parts of the world thus it is also known by many names which includes hoodwort, madweed, helmet flower, mad dog, etc.
Skullcap Health Benefits
Skullcap has many health benefits including being antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, astringent, sedative, etc thus it is not unusual that there is a long list of ailments and disorders that this herb could cure.
• Inflammatory properties of skullcap makes it a good remedy for inflammation of the joints due to arthritis. It effectively reduce the swelling and relieves the pain.
• As a sedative, it eases nervous tension by providing a soothing and calming effect. It is good for related conditions like panic or anxiety attacks, stress and stress headaches, depression and even insomnia. It is also used for the treatment of some neurological illnesses like epilepsy and convulsions, hysteria and delirium.
• Skullcap herb is also a good alternative treatment for some respiratory ailments such as common colds and bronchitis and throat infections. It’s antihistamine properties allows it to remedy asthma attacks and allergic reactions. It reduces the mucus congestion and is a very good remedy especially for dry coughs. Its ability to lower body temperature makes it a good remedy for fevers.
• The antibacterial properties on the other hand could treat varied skin infections and even urinary infections as it is also diuretic which also makes it good in promoting bile flow and a healthy liver.
• For those who suffer intense pain due to premenstrual syndrome, skullcap is known to be a good remedy for relieving pain related to menstrual cramps. The emmenagogue properties of this herb promotes female reproductive health as it promotes menstrual discharge. However, because of this, it is not good for pregnant woman.
Possible Side Effects
As a natural herb supplement, skullcap is safe however for those who use it as a dietary supplement, beware of excess as anything in taken more than the usual dosage is likely to cause adverse effects. Some of the potential side effects from overdose of skullcap includes drowsiness, irregular heartbeat, dizziness and even seizure. It could also cause allergic reaction that could manifests as any or all of the following: hives, skin rash, swelling or allergic inflammation especially in the mouth or the more serious breathing difficulties.