Over the centuries, Scullcap has been found in many kitchens, where it has been handed to a loved one, brewed into a piping hot tea and poured into their favorite mug to melt away head-pounding stress, soothe an overly tense body after physical labor, calm the high tides of a woman's moon time, or ease a child's growing discomforts.
Scullcap and Skullcap are interchangeable common spellings. However, American Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and Chinese Scullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) are used to treat different conditions and are not interchangeable. We will focus on American Scullcap in this blog, but I highly encourage getting acquainted with S. baicalensis, for it is a marvelous plant ally!
Scullcap Botanical Description
Scutellaria lateriflora, Lamiacea (Mint) family
Scullcap is native to the North American continent and has become a popular cultivated species in Europe. It's named after the cap-like calyx of the tiny blue or purple flowers that whorl off its slender, heavily branched stem. It can reach heights of 2 to 4 feet in the wilds of summer in the right conditions. Scullcap grows best in damp conditions with plenty of sun, such as riverbanks.
Parts Used: Aerials
Phytochemicals: Flavonoids (rich in flavones: scutellarin), volatile oil, tannins (rosmarinic acid and other caffeic acid derivatives), iridoids (bitter principal)
Contraindications: There are no reports of contraindications or side effects when used properly. However, Scullcap has been found adulterated with germander, a hepatotoxic herb. In light of this, experienced practitioners handle it and manufacturers run tests accordingly. Sourcing is important!
Grow: Choose a sunny position and then sow seeds in moist, fertile ground in spring and divide roots in spring or autumn.
Harvest: Summer, when in flower
Home Apothecary: Pairing Scullcap for Common Alignments
Scullcap gives of itself. It helps our bodies remember how to relax into the strength of our own bones and lean in, trusting the support of our muscles. Scullcap unwinds the worries in our mind and allows space for growth. Like most friends, its capacity to build common bonds strengthens the gifts inherent in each being, creating a whole new dynamic of potential for overcoming adversity.
As a rich source of the minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium – all essential for a healthy nervous system – it's no wonder why Scullcap is found in so many soothing teas and tinctures! Further, as a source of zinc, we can turn to Scullcap to maintain the health of our immune system, especially when under stress.
These attributes make Scullcap a favorite for combining with other plant allies to alleviate common discomforts. Over the years, it has been paired with nervines like Catnip, Blue Vervain, Milky Oat tops, Damiana, and Rosemary to lift the spirit. It can also be paired with Valerian and Dandelion root to ease muscle tension. For the overactive mind, lost in the painful throes of stress and hardships, Scullcap can been steeped with Wood Betony or Lavender. When we have lost our ability to let go at the end of the day, we may find peace in the friendly medley of Passionflower and Scullcap.
Meet the WishGarden Scullcap Remedies
Scullcap is one of our most relied-upon ingredients for our herbal formulas.
In our adult line, we combine Scullcap with other nervous-system soothers and relaxers in formulas like Cranial Comfort and/or Serious Relaxer & Muscle Tension to assist in letting go of tension. As a daily tonic, Deep Stress Adrenal Rescue with Ashwagandha restores and vitalizes our innermost self with Scullcap, Nettle leaf, Milky Oat tops, and Borage aerials. For our modern times, when we need to find ‘Serenity now!' Emotional Ally: A Big Herbal Hug comes to our aid with Scullcap, Motherwort aerials, and Passionflower aerials. Even when our day ends, we find our friend Scullcap ready to assist our dreamtime with Sleepy Nights.
For the women in our lives on the journey of motherhood, we offer restful sleep support with Sleepy Nights & Fresh Mornings for Pregnancy, which combines Scullcap with Milky Oat tops, Linden leaf and flower, Passionflower aerials, and Hawthorn berry. During our moon time, Scullcap is there to aid in releasing emotional duress in P.M.S. Emotional and provide much-needed muscular relaxation in our Cramp Release Menses Soother remedy.
Scullcap is also an important ingredient in our children's formulas, including Ear Be Well. As their bodies sprout, Scullcap helps ease their Growing Pains and soothes them with Quiet Time. And whether they need support in focus and attention, with Attention Ally Focus Friend, or in getting plenty of rest and rejuvenation, with Sleepy Nights & Fresh Mornings For Kids, we find our friend once more.
- Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler's Honest Herbal. New York, NY: The Haworth Herbal Press; 1999:349-351.
- McIntyre, Anne. The Medicinal Garden. How To Grow And Use Your Own Medicinal Herbs. Heny Holt and Company, Inc; 1997: 99-100.
- White L, Mavor S. Kids, Herbs, Health. Loveland, Colo: Interweave Press; 1998;22:40-41.
Dawn Amber Miller has apprenticed and studied across the United States of America and has received certificates in traditional and medical herbalism from the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, and the Hawthorn Institute. She is a passionate steward of the sacred realm of Nature and moves with the wildflowers, tending the rituals of wildcrafting heart and hand.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.