Scutellaria galericulata

Scutellaria galericulata

Common Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata var. epilobiifolia), also known as Marsh Skullcap or Hooded Skullcap, is a hardy perennial herb native to Britain, Europe, and Asia. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which also includes many other herbs. The form is upright and is usually 0.2m to 0.45m in height . It is a wetland loving species and grows along fens and shorelines. The blue flowers appear in July to September and are 10-20mm long. The flowers are in pairs and are all on the same side of the stem. The flowers do not appear at the top of the stem.

The plant is native to many parts of the world and, as such, is known by a variety of names. The Latin galericulata means hooded, relating to the length of the flower's tube being much longer than the calyx. . The variation epilobiifolia translates as leaves like willow-herb , and refers to the slightly serrated long thin leaves which look similar to those of the genus Epilobium.

Medicinal uses

Scutellaria, as a genus, has numerous medicinal uses and various species of skullcap are used in the same way. It should be noted though that the traditional uses of Common Skullcap should not be confused with those of other Skullcaps as there are 200 different species of Skullcap and they are not all used in the same way. Blue Skullcap (S. lateriflora) is accepted as the skullcap used in traditional North American medicine, however Common skullcap shares many of the same active chemicals and is used as a substitute in Britain and Europe.. Common skullcap (S. galericulata) is often used in the same way as for Blue Skullcap (S. lateriflora), Western skullcap (S. cordifolia), or Southern skullcap all of which are very genetically similar.

Blue Skullcap (S. lateriflora) and Common Skullcap are mainly known for their traditional use as a mild sedative (anxiolytic) in the form of herbal teas, tablets, capsules, dried leaf for smoking and oral liquid preparations, often in combination with other medicinal herbs. The aqueous extract of the flowering parts have been traditionally used by Native Americans as a nerve tonic and for its sedative and diuretic properties.

Blue Skullcap (S. lateriflora) is also known to prevent the recurrence of seizure.


Main chemical constituents
ChemicalPartConcentration (mg/g)

The principle phenolics in the leaves, stems, and roots are baicalein and wogonin. . Another study identifies 5,6,7-trihydroxy-2'- methoxyflavone and its 7-0-glucuronide.. A number of the flavones found in S. lateriflora have been reported to selectively bind with high affinity to central benzodiazepine receptor sites, leading to the view that the flavones exerts anxiolytic and other benzodiazepine effects in rats.

Common skullcap contains the flavonoid glycosides baicalin, dihydrobaicalin and chrysin glucuronide. Baicalin is known to be anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Chrysin is found naturally in various plants including the Pelargonium species, which are germanium-like plants; the Passiflora or passion flower species, which include tropical passion fruit; and the Pinaceae species, including pine trees. Chrysin is sold as a nutritional supplement for male body builders because of its possible action in inhibiting the conversions of androgens to estrogens.

The flavonoids are found throughout the plant but are more concentrated in the leaves, and the concentrations are found to decrease slightly as the plant matures. The dried leaf is reported to contain ~50 mg/g of flavonoids. The flavonoids are readily extracted using hot water.

Several neo-clerodane diterpenoids with insect anti-feedant activity have been reported from S. galericulata.


See also

External links

Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases

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