Skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia)

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Traditional Indications

Scullcap is anticonvulsant, antispasmodic, hypotensive and nervine tonic. Skullcap relaxes states of nervous tension whilst at the same time renewing and revivifying the central nervous system. It has a specific use in the treatment of seizure and hysterical states as well as epilepsy. It may be used in all exhausted or depressed conditions. It can be used with complete safety in the easing of pre-menstrual tension. Priest & Priest tell us that it is a " diffusive, stimulating & relaxing nervine - cerebral vasodilator and tropho restorative. Indicated for nervous irritation of the cerebrospinal nervous system" They give the following specific indications: functional nervous exhaustion, post febrile nervous weakness. Chorea, hysteria, agitation and epileptiform, convulsions, insomnia, nightmares, restless sleep. (1)

Pharmacognosy

Scutellaria lateriflora active constituents include the flavonoids baicalein and baicalin. (2)

Baicalein and baicalin inhibit colon cancer using two distinct fashions of apoptosis and senescence. (3)

Baicalein is a strong iron chelator under physiological conditions and hence may play a vital role in modulating the body's iron homeostasis. (4)

Baicalein and baicalin are potent inhibitors of angiogenesis: Inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation, migration and differentiation. (5)

A randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study of the effects of Scutellaria lateriflora on mood in healthy volunteers concluded Scutellaria lateriflora significantly enhanced global mood without a reduction in energy or cognition. (6)

Flavonoids-rich Scutellaria lateriflora has anti-oxidative and DNA protecting effects and that Scutellaria lateriflora as one of the potential experimental herbal drugs that should be screened for its therapeutic potential against various oxidative stress associated mental disorders. (7)

1. PFAF. Scutellaria lateriflora 2019.
2. Eiden M, Leidel F, Strohmeier B, Fast C, Groschup M. A Medicinal Herb Scutellaria lateriflora Inhibits PrP Replication in vitro and Delays the Onset of Prion Disease in Mice. 2012;3(9).
3. Dou J, Wang Z, Ma L, Peng B, Mao K, Li C, et al. Baicalein and baicalin inhibit colon cancer using two distinct fashions of apoptosis and senescence. Oncotarget. 2018;9(28):20089-102.
4. Perez CA, Wei Y, Guo M. Iron-binding and anti-Fenton properties of baicalein and baicalin. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 2009;103(3):326-32.
5. Liu J-J, Huang T-S, Cheng W-F, Lu F-J. Baicalein and baicalin are potent inhibitors of angiogenesis: Inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation, migration and differentiation. 2003;106(4):559-65.
6. Brock C, Whitehouse J, Tewfik I, Towell T. American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): A Randomised, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study of its Effects on Mood in Healthy Volunteers. 2014;28(5):692-8.
7. Lohani M, Ahuja M, Buabeid MA, Dean S, Dennis S, Suppiramaniam V, et al. Anti-oxidative and DNA protecting effects of flavonoids-rich Scutellaria lateriflora. Natural product communications. 2013;8(10):1415-8.