Scutellaria laterifolia, Labiatae. The aerial parts of the plant are used. It is also known as helmet flower, mad-dogweed and Virginian skullcap.

Functions of skullcap

Skullcap is a nourishing tonic for the nervous system.

It is:

  • rich in minerals that are necessary for the nervous system. It is useful for the strengthening and support provided in times of stress and is a remedy for:
    • nervous tension,
    • headaches,
    • agitation,
    • anxiety,
    • insomnia,
    • hysteria,
    • exhaustion and
    • depression.
  • an antispasmodic which is useful for:
    • twitching muscles,
    • trembling,
    • epilepsy (both petit and grand mal) and
    • heart palpitations.
  • useful as an aid with withdrawing from orthodox tranquilizers and antidepressants.
  • useful, when combined with hormonal balancing herbs (such as chaste tree and false unicorn root) for premenstrual syndrome.
  • as an anti-inflammatory it can be used for arthritis particularly where the condition is aggravated by stress.
  • useful in reducing fevers, enhancing digestion and stimulating the liver's function - due to the presence of bitters.

Skullcap combines well with valerian.


Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day or when needed.

Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture three times a day.


Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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