Skullcap: Herbal Remedies


©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Skullcap quiets nervous tension and eases muscle tension and spasms and induces sleep.

Skullcap gets its name from its blue flowers, which have two "lips" and are reminiscent of the skullcaps worn in medieval times. Several species of skullcap grow in Europe and Asia. The herb also is found throughout the United States and southern Canada.

As it was named after a covering, it isn't suprising that skullcap is often used as a herbal remedy to protect against rabies symptoms and relieve tension, lower blood pressure and more.

Uses for Skullcap

Skullcap is sometimes called "mad dog," in reference to its historical use in treating the symptoms of rabies, which can result from the bite of a rabid dog. Skullcap quiets nervous tension and eases muscle tension and spasms. Skullcap also induces sleep without strongly sedating or stupefying. Skullcap may help to lower elevated blood pressure.

Skullcap has been used for abnormally tense or twitching muscles, as occurs with rabies, Parkinson's disease, St. Vitus dance (acute chorea, a nervous system disease characterized by involuntary movements of the limbs), and epilepsy.

Skullcap has also been found to have an anti-inflammatory action. Guinea pig studies have shown that skullcap also inhibits release of acetylcholine and histamine, two substances released by cells that cause inflammation.

In the next section, we'll look at how to prepare skullcap for use in herbal remedies.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.

Skullcap Preparations and Dosage

Skullcap's leaves, collected in late spring and early summer when the small plant is in flower, and  minuscule flowers can help calm -- if taken correctly. The following information offers skullcap preparation ideas.

Skullcap Preparations and Dosage

Skullcap leaves and tiny flowers are dried for teas, tinctured, or powdered and encapsulated.

Tea: For severe anxiety, drink 3 to 6 cups a day for a day or two, reducing thereafter to 2 to 3 cups per day as needed. For less severe cases and long-term use, drink 1 to 3 cups a day. Prepare teas by infusing 1 tablespoon of skullcap in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes.

Tincture: Take 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of tincture, two to four times a day, depending on your response. Start with the low dose and increase as needed.

Capsules: Take 2 capsules, two to four times a day, as needed.

Skullcap Precautions and Warnings

None.

Side Effects of Skullcap

Rarely, cases of stomach cramping and diarrhea have been reported. There have also been rare reports of skullcap causing hepatitis, but many of these cases may have resulted from mistaken use of germander, a plant that resembles skullcap.

Side effects aside, skullcap can help reduce anxiety for those experiencing stress. With a fairly limited amount of side effects and suggested precautions, it may be worth a try.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.