Scutellaria laterifolia

Part Used: Aerial parts.


  • Scutellarin, a flavonoid glycoside and many other flavones.
  • Iridoids; catalpol is present
  • Volatile oil and waxes, mainly C3l, C33 and C35 hydrocarbons
  • Tannins

Actions: Nervine tonic, anti-spasmodic, hypotensive.

Indications: Skullcap is perhaps the most widely relevant
nervine available to us in the materia medica. It 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
, post febrile nervous weakness. Chorea, hysteria,
agitation and epileptiform convulsions, insomnia,
nightmares, restless sleep.

Ellingwood considered it specific for ” two distinct
lines of specific phenomena. Firstly irritability of the nervous
system with restlessness and nervous excitability; inability to
sleep without pain; general irritability with insomnia from local
causes. The second is where there is nervous disorder, characterized
by irregular muscular action, twitching, tremors and restlessness,
with or without incoordination. Its soothing influence continues for
a protracted period, after the agent is discontinued.” In
addition here commends it for the following patholgies: delirium
, nervous excitability.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling
water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse
for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day or when
needed. Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Go to Herbal Materia Medica Homepage

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

Explore Wellness in 2021