SKULLCAP (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Family: Lamiaceae

Parts commonly used: Aerial.

Properties/energetics: Nerve tonic, sedative, neuro-restorative, antispasmodic/Cold, dry; bitter, bit sweet.

Systems predominantly affected:  Nervous, musculoskeletal.

Uses: Skullcap, innately high in mineral nutrients required for a healthy, balanced nervous system, is a safe and reliable central nervous system tonic, neuro-restorative, and sedative with an antispasmodic edge. It soothes the heart and decreases excess heat, effectively cooling overheated emotions such as temper tantrums, anger, rage, hatred, and jealously. This plant releases tension in the skeletal muscles and is specific for relieving nervous anxiety and irritability where there is physical or emotional overexertion. It promotes rest and can sedate heart imbalances caused by overactive nerves. Skullcap is a useful remedy for treating conditions of excess that result in anger or cranky overt irritability while also treating conditions of deficiency that exhibit nervous anxiety and irritability, with feelings of being overwhelmed or overexposed. Skullcap helps break addiction to tobacco and alcohol by helping people get through withdrawal-stage symptoms such as sleeplessness and crankiness.

Combinations: Use with Gotu Kola as a tonic that promotes clarity of mind and with Chamomile for allaying restlessness and sleeplessness.

Affects on specific body types: This plant is a primary tonic for the Warrior, a nervous system relaxant that helps sedate the fiery emotions and accompanying nerve and muscle tension of this constitutional nature. It might be argued that the nerve-toning qualities of this herb make it perfect for the Seer as well, but individuals who are very cold constitutionally or who are deficient, thin, or frail will do far better taking Wild Oat and Ziziphus. It is recommended that Seers shy away from using this herb for extended periods due primarily to the plant’s bitter taste and its cold, dry energetics. These qualities seem contraindicated for long-term use in people having a cold, dry nature. In most cases, Skullcap works as an excellent nerve tonic for the robust, intense, and heated Warrior, whereas Wild Oat, Ziziphus, or Motherwort suit the Seer better.

Preparations/dosage: Harvest above-ground parts before flowering. Dried or fresh Skullcap herb should never be boiled, and prolonged storage impairs its therapeutic actions. Infusion: 1 cup three times a day. (For easing drug- and alcohol-withdrawal symptoms, take 1/2 cup every hour and taper off as symptoms decrease in intensity.) Tincture: Best to use the fresh, undried Skullcap for making a tincture. 15 to 40 drops three times a day.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition