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Plant Family:



Habitat & Cultivation: 

According to Upton & DAyu (2012) Skullcap is native to North America and is domestically cultivated and harvested in the Pacific Northwest & the Midwest - Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, as well as North Carolina; it is also widespread throughout Central and South America.

The native habitat of Skullcap is riparian wetlands - marshes, stream banks and wet meadows (Upton, et al., 2009). Upton, et al., (2009) states that it can be “found from California to British Columbia to eastern/central United States.”

Scutellaira lateriflora has been confused, mixed or substituted for Scutellaria baicalensis, S. incana, S. galericulata. To  ensure the right identification of the genus and species desired the following methods could be used (Upton, R. and DAyu, R. H., 2012)

  • Genetic sequencing

  • Physical analysis

  • Chemical analysis


Parts Used/Collection: 


Skullcap aerial parts are harvested when in flower stage


Herbal Actions: 

  • Nervine tonic

  • Antispasmodic

  • Hypotensive

  • Mild nervine sedative

  • Alterative

  • Astringent

  • Nervine anxiolytic



S. Lateriflora is known for being a nerve tonic, sedative, anxiolytic and anti-spasmodic (Upton, R. and DAyu, R.H., 2012).  According to Hoffman (2003), “it is the most relevant nervine available to us in the Western materia medica” and it is indicated to:

  • Soothe nervous tension

  • Renew and revivify CNS

  • Control and treat petit mal seizures.

  • Treat conditions associated with exhaustion and depression

  • Ease premenstrual tension.



Plant Constituents: 

  • antispasmodic

  • nervine

  • tonic


System Affinities:

  • Nervous system

  • Circulatory system 

  • Muscular-skeletal system



Cool, slightly dry, sweet and mildly bitter,

GABA = slow, dull, heavy.  



According to the Botanical Safety Handbook (2013), Skullcap has a general safety class of 1 (herbs that can be safely consumed when used appropriately) and it’s interaction class is A (herbs for which no clinically relevant interactions are expected).



Personal Experience:

I prepared this as a tea, I steeped for 3 minutes and drank without additional sweeteners. I found that it immediately made me tired and relaxed. I was able to sleep well and felt rested when I woke.  It  had a strong earthy flavor that I enjoyed. 



American Botanical Council. (2013). Herbal Medicine:Skullcap Commission E Monographs. Retrieved online at


Frawley, D., & Lad, V. (2001). The yoga of herbs. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press


Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. United Kingdom: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.  


Romm, A. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women's Health (2nd ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier.





Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

Skullcap (Scutellara lateriflora)

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