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Learn about Skullcap

Botanical name: Scutellaria lateriflora
Other names: American Skullcap, Blue Pimpernel, Blue Skullcap, Escutelaria, Grande Toque, Helmet Flower, Hoodwort, Mad-Dog Herb, Mad-Dog Skullcap, Mad-Dog Weed, Mad Weed

There are two types of Skullcap (Chinese and American) and we are referring here to the American Skullcap. Skullcap derives its name from its ability to relieve tension headaches. It is an excellent herb for nervous tension and anxiety, because it both relaxes and tones the whole nervous system; this is particularly useful with menstrual tension and hysteria. It is also used in the treatment of epilepsy and seizures although care needs to be taken when using this herb whilst on anti-convulsant medication. Your health care practitioner should always be included in the process as even though it has been very effective for epilepsy cases, herbs can have interactions with medications that may be undesirable.

In Chinese medicine, Skullcap is considered excellent for cooling the mind, liver and lungs. For this reason it promotes a state of meditation and calms an overactive mind.

Preparation: Pour 1 cup of water just off the boil over 1-2 teaspoons of herb. Steep covered for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink 3 times daily or as needed. Can be added to other herbs as well for a blended tea infusion.

Reference: David Hoffman (1995), The New Holistic Herbal, p233, Michael Tierra (1998), Planetary Herbology, pp345-355., http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/skullcap

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