Don’t Let The Weird Name Scare You; This Herb Can Heal Your Mind!
Botanical name: Scuttelaria
Skullcap: Don’t Let The Weird Name Scare You; This Herb Can Heal Your Mind!
Yes, it has a weird name, but skullcap is an exceptional herbal remedy that can change your health around. Don’t be discouraged by it’s name, it is actually a known medicine in Chinese culture that has now been introduced to Western culture as well.
The plant scutellaria is a flowering one from the mint family Lamiaceae. The name is derived from scutella, which means “small dish”. Because the plant is small, it resembles the structure of a medieval helmet, contributing to its name.
Skullcap has ridged leaves and tiny flowers, ranging in color from purple, to blue, white and pink. This plant grows 1 to 4 feet high and is usually found in the woods and swamplands in Eastern North America. Since the 1700’s, this plant has been used and researched for its medical benefits.
Native Americans, who slowly began showing it to the rest of the country, have used the flowering plant for years.
What Is In It?
This plant contains high levels of flavonoids and flavones, including the flavonoid glycoside scutellarin. It also contains baicalin, wogonin, lignans, resins, essential oils, tannins, and iridoids.
Scutellaria can inhibit nitric oxide (NO), cytokine, chemokine, and production of macrophages. Compounds such as wogonin, and wogonoside have been shown to inhibit histamine and leukotriene release.
Many skullcap species have anxiolytic effects, as the have been found to bind to the benzodiazepine site, and the non-benzodiazepine site of the GABA receptors.
Skullcap Does Protect Your Brain
This plant can alleviate a number of nervous disorders and conditions, while also helping you protect your cognitive health. Here are some of the most important benefits of skullcap on your brain:
- Seizures: when you suffer from a nervous disorder that causes seizures or spasms, taking skullcap can relax your muscles and even your nervous connections to slow down movements, which decreases the seizures.
- Neuroprotection: skullcap has high antioxidant properties that help protect the brain from dangerous toxins and free radicals that can increase vulnerability to diseases, and that cause neuro-degeneration.
- Alzheimer’s disease: because it is an antioxidant plant, scutellaria root has shown to aid in decreasing the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, baicalein and oroxylin A enhance cognitive functions and prevent premature brain aging.
- Memory: the flavonoids in skullcap are important in helping memory impairment, neuronal damage, and metabolite disorders. The effects of this plant are very beneficial working hand-in-hand with senile dementia and memory loss.
- Anxiety: the biological and chemical activity of skullcap has been used for years as a sedative and treatment for anxiety disorders. Baicalin and baicalein bind to benzodiazepine site of the GABA receptor and produce calming results.
- Blood flow: this medicinal plant has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain, which can help in treatment for disorders such as ADHD, but also in preventing strokes.
Scutellaria and Your Health
As with many plants and herbs, skullcap also has many effects on your general health, not just your cognitive health. Adding it to your daily life can help solve some medical issues and treat others. Here are the most important medical benefits of skullcap:
- Pain: skullcap has analgesic characteristics to it as well. Not only does it reduce inflammation, it can also boost healing of open wounds.
- Liver health: using skullcap as a tea can detoxify your body as it increases antioxidant activity in your liver. This process can greatly reduce toxin levels in your body and blood, which keeps your liver and overall wellness balanced.
- Diabetes: using skullcap can help regulate insulin levels in your blood. For patients suffering from diabetes, consuming this plant has shown to increase production of insulin by the pancreas.
- Heart health: reducing levels of cholesterol is essential in maintaining a healthy heart, and skullcap does just this. The plant is capable of reducing the chances of atherosclerosis and heart attack risk. Lowering cholesterol levels also lowers blood pressure and chances of coronary heart disease.
- Weight loss: the reduction of triglycerides thanks to skullcap aids in rapid weight loss when it is part of a good diet.
- Cancer: for a very long time, skullcap has been part of a natural treatment of cancer in Eastern medicine. This plant induces apoptosis—sudden cell death—in cancerous cells, slowing down tumor growth and helping cancer treatment work more effectively.
- Allergies and asthma: this plant inhibits the production of histamine, and thus can reduce allergy symptoms and asthma. It is especially beneficial when treating congestion and watery eyes.
- Arthritis: because it is an anti-inflammatory plant, it can be used in treating joint and muscle pain. Reducing inflammation can lessen pain in inflammatory conditions and arthritis.
How Do I Start?
Taking skullcap should always be done carefully and under guidance. This plant is relatively safe, but as with any medicinal herb, it can have certain side effects. Some of these include stomach issues, interaction with certain drugs, and blood sugar problems.
However, when taken carefully, skullcap can really help your body and mind. Be careful when taking skullcap, as sometimes it is confused with the plants germander and teucrium. You may also be tricked into buying a different species of skullcap, which may not be beneficial for your health.
Here are some of the usual doses for skullcap:
- Tincture: the extract is best when fresh. You can find it at 90% alcohol, or even 40% alcohol. A standard dose is 3-5 ml per day.
- Tea: this may the most sedative form of skullcap. Recommended doses include 5 grams in an 8 oz. cup of water, take 6-15 grams per day.
Skullcap For The Win
By now you are probably wondering why you didn’t find skullcap before. Don’t worry, it is one of those best-kept secrets, but now that you know, it’s time to start taking advantage.
Take small doses first, see how you feel and how it works, and consult your physician if you need more. It is time for you to change your brain and body health!