Skullcap: health benefits and virtues

Native to North America, the American skullcap is a plant herbaceous of the family of the mint which, when exposed to the sun, grows on wet soils and rich.

Comprising more than three hundred species develop under the tropical climates and temperate From Southeast Asia, Europe and North America, the American skullcap was known for its therapeutic uses.

Over time, it fell into oblivion, giving way to substances derived from opium and other synthetic molecules.

But today this plant perennial is again adopted and cultivated in Europe by some herbalists.

What are the virtues ? How to put it to good use? What should you know about this plant known for fight against nervousness ?

American skullcap: for the record

Belonging to the labiate family or lamiaceae, the American skullcap (also called lateriflora skullcap), was used by Native Americans as a sedative, a calming but also as a tonic of the nervous system.

Towards the end of 18e century, herbalists Americans have used this plant as a basis for remedies aimed at:

- calm the crises ofhysteria,

- facilitate the sleep,

- treat the rage

- appease them neurological disorders

-and even, to treat epileptic convulsions.

Moreover, the use of the lateriflora skullcap was indicated to treat functional disorders of the nervous system (in adults as in children), but also to relieve neuralgic pain.

Virtues and benefits of skullcap

Also used in Traditional chinese medicine, (more precisely the roots of Scutellaria baicalensis), to treat inflammatory diseases, this perennial plant is virtuous.

Very often for a therapeutic use, the aerial parts of the American skullcap are collected from plants that are 2 or 3 years old.

Mainly containingAscorbic acid, Tannins, Flavonoids (scutellarein, baalin, scutellarin, baicalein) and Polysaccharides, this plant is indicated to relieve nervous tics, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, muscle spasms but above all, nervousness.

As properties, we will therefore remember that the American skullcap is a:

neuroprotective. It prevents the development of certain disorders and conditions including depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease,


- and finally, a muscle relaxant.

Receptor of a cerebral neurotransmitter responsible for regulating anxiety, skullcap acts as a antispasmodic mild aimed at treating muscle tension, nervous tension and insomnia and anxiety. It is increasingly advocated by modern herbalists.

Uses, dosages, instructions for use of skullcap

This perennial plant can be harvested from the wild. It is also available commercially in various forms:

- in capsules. It is recommended to take 2 times a day, those dosed at 850 mg (containing stems, leaves and fruits) .You can also take 3 times a day, capsules dosed from 850 to 1275 mg (only from the manufacturer the leaves ).
If in doubt, refer to the manufacturer's instructions.

-in infusion. Bring 25 cl of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of dried leaves (with or without stems, flowers or fruits). Let everything sit then, filter very carefully.

Let cool before drinking. Regarding the dosage, 1 to 3 doses per day is indicated.

- in dyeing : a dose of 1 to 4 ml, 1 to 3 times a day is sufficient. Some specialists advise taking alcoholic tinctures of fresh skullcap, in order to better retain its therapeutic properties, since they are lost once the plant has dried.

Practical advice about skullcap

Skullcap can cause drowsiness. It is therefore recommended that you be careful if you are taking any remedies for anxiety or insomnia.

Experts recognize that severe cases oftoxic hepatitis were caused by the adulteration skullcap products. Indeed, this plant had been replaced by the germander small-oak (Teucrium chamaedrys): a plant similar in appearance but dangerous for health.

In short, the skullcap is toxic for the liver when adulterated. So rather trust a reliable supplier if you get one.

Taken in high doses, this herb could cause seizures, confusion, involuntary muscle contractions and even stupor.

Taking this herb can be added to others such as passionflower, the hop, by or again, the valerian.

The skullcap is formally contraindicated to the pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding.

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