Skullcap, sometimes spelled scullcap, refers to two types of herbs in the mint family: American skullcap and Chinese skullcap. The American variety grows mostly in marshy areas of Canada as well as in some parts of the U.S. The herb goes by many names, including mad-dog, helmet flower, and hoodwort. It features dual-toned flowers that are blue and light purple. In many areas, the aerial portions of skullcap
Skullcap Uses and Health Benefits
American skullcap and Chinese skullcap vary in their properties and uses. American skullcap benefits include antioxidant properties and the power to reduce food allergy responses. It’s long been used as a sedative to treat conditions like insomnia, anxiety, and pain.3 It’s said to help protect against neurological disorders, including anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.1
Chinese skullcap can be used for various other conditions, including allergies, high cholesterol, and inflammatory skin problems. It’s also been used to treat epilepsy, hepatitis, HIV, liver cirrhosis, and bronchitis.4 It’s believed to have anticancer properties as well as antiviral and antifungal effects.1 Other skullcap benefits include for:
Skullcap Side Effects and Precautions
Skullcap is generally considered safe when taken in recommended doses. However, skullcap side effects may occur, including cases of liver damage in people taking various skullcap herbal products. It is not known whether skullcap is safe for pregnant or nursing mothers.5,6 Interactions with sedatives or diabetes medications may occur. Do not take Chinese skullcap if you have diabetes, stomach problems, or spleen problems. Remain cautious with American skullcap products as they have previously been known to be contaminated with plants that cause liver problems.1 Talk to your doctor about other herbs or medications you’re using before starting on a skullcap home remedy.