Skullcap (Huang Qin, Ban Zhi Lian)
Botanical Name: Western – Scutellaria lateriflora. Eastern – Scutellaria baicalensis, S. barbatae.
There are over 300 genera of scutellaria. Here we explore the three most commonly used for medicine by the Chinese, Native Americans, and now herbalists worldwide. Huang Qin (Scutellaria baicalensis), is a major herb for treating Damp Heat in the small intestines with signs of diarrhea, dysentery or urinary dysfunction. Each genus discussed here is excellent for treating hot oozing sores. The American genus (S. lateriflora) is considered the mildest and best for treating anxiety.
Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – What is the Difference between American skullcap and Chinese skullcap?
Remember to check with your doctor before trying new medicines or herbal remedies, especially if you are taking other medication where drug interactions are possible.
Below is an overview of skullcap, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of skullcap.
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Also Known As: Scutellaria, Skute, Blue Skullcap, Mad Dog Skullcap, Baical Skullcap, Hoodwort, Virginian Skullcap, Madweed
Organs/Systems: Nerves, Small Intestines, Stomach
Key Actions: Antiviral, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Anticancer, Relaxant, Decongestant, Febrifuge, Anti-tumor, Anti-angiogenesis, Nervine, Neuroprotective, Analgesic, Anxiolytic, Bronchodilator, Antioxidant, Anticonvulsant, Antimicrobial
Medicinal Uses: Anxiety, hysteria, stress, colds and flu, regulate menses, rabies, edema, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, arthritis, inflammatory bowel conditions.
Pin Yin: Huang Qin (Scutellaria baicalensis) and Ban Zhi Lian (S. barbatae)
Also Known As: Baikal Skullcap, Baical Skullcap, and Ban Zhi Lian translates as “Half-Branched Lotus”
Meridians: S. baicalensis – Gallbladder, Large Intestine, Lung, Stomach. S. lateriflora – Stomach, Lungs, Kidney. S. barbatae – Large Intestine, Liver, Lung, Stomach.
Key Actions: S. baicalensis – Clears Heat, Drains Fire, Dries Dampness, Stops Bleeding, Relieves Spasms. S. lateriflora – Moves Qi (Energy), Calms Shen (Spirit), Clears Heat, Resolves Fevers, Restores Stomach Function, Promotes Urination, Antidote for Poisons. S. barbatae – Clears Heat, Relieves Toxicity, Invigorates Blood, Reduces Swelling
Medicinal Uses: S. baicalensis – Especially useful for Draining Heat from the upper part of the body with patterns of fever, irritability, hot sores, thirst, cough, and thick yellow sputum. A major herb for treating Damp Heat in the stomach or intestines, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, stifling feeling in the chest, jaundice, thirst with inability to drink, and painful urinary dysfunction. Alleviates nose bleeds and blood in vomit, urine or stools. Calms the Fetus when Heat is causing excessive kicking and restlessness. It is mostly used to treat internal hot, damp conditions. S. lateriflora – Spasms, nervous tension, shortness of breath, palpitations, cardiac pains, rabies, tetanus, neuralgia, paralysis caused by stroke, night sweats, irregular menses, insomnia, low tidal fevers, improves appetite, fatigue, exhaustion, urinary dysfunction, snakebite, rashes, insect bites. S. barbatae – Sores, abscesses, snakebites, trauma. Recently being used to treat gastric, esophagus and liver cancers and chronic hepatitis. It is excellent for treating injuries and traumas.
Scutellaria is a genus of 300 species in the mint family, Lamiacea, known commonly as skullcaps. They are an annual or perennial herbaceous plant with four-angled stems and opposite leaves common to all plants in the mint family. The flowers have upper and lower lips with a shield on the calyx and are blue to purple in color. The roots are fibrous and yellow.
Skullcaps are found worldwide, mainly in temperate regions. Scutellaria baicalensis and S. barbatae are native to Eastern Asia and Northern China. Scutellaria lateriflora is native to North America. Skullcap is a wetland loving species that grows near marshes, meadows, and other wet habitats.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Entire Plant (all varieties), Root (Scutellaria baicalensis)
Flavors/Temps: Scutellaria baicalensis and S. lateriflora – Bitter, Cold. S. barbatae – Acrid, Bitter, Cold.
Caution: Considered safe used in proper doses, and caution is advised during pregnancy as it can cause a miscarriage.
Key Constituents: Flavonoids, Baicalrin, Apigenin, Oroxylin A, Skutellarin, Steroidal saponins, Glycosides, Volatile oils, Tannins, Zinc. More than 295 chemical compounds have been isolated.
History/Folklore: American and Chinese skullcap are two different plants. American skullcap flowers resemble bluebells, Chinese skullcap has a single stem with many purple buds resembling a monk’s hood or cap, hence the name. The American variety is commonly used to treat hysteria, nervous disorders, and promote sleep. The Chinese skullcap is valued especially for Clearing Heat and Drying Damp, including such symptoms as sore throats, cold and flu symptoms, diarrhea, agitation, and calming the fetus.
The generic name, “skullcap” is derived from the Latin, “scutella,” meaning “a small dish or platter, or little fish,” referring to the shape of the plant’s calyx which were also said to resemble medieval helmets. The common name, “Mad Dog Skullcap,” derives from the plant’s ability to treat rabies in animals or humans.
The Chinese use their variety to clear away what are called the “superficial evils” meaning “Cold, Heat, Wind, Damp and Damp Heat.” It is one of the oldest herbs used for generations in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is commonly used to treat colds and flu, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other conditions commonly associated with Damp Heat. Chinese skullcap has a broad antibacterial spectrum. In one report, it was found to remain effective against Staph. aureus that had become resistant to penicillin.
The roots used to produce Huang Qin (Scutellaria baicalensis), are harvested in the autumn or spring after the plant is between three and four years of age.
Native American’s have used scutellaria (S. lateriflora) to treat gynecological conditions. It was also commonly used to treat rabies, anxiety and muscle tension. Western scutellaria is not as draining as the Chinese geniuses and is considered a milder plant.
Traditionally, American skullcap (S. lateriflora) was used for nervous disorders, including hysteria, nervous tension, epilepsy, and chorea. Today it is largely used as a sedative, often in combination with other relaxing herbs such as valerian (LINK). An infusion can help treat neuralgia and headaches.
Cherokee women used skullcap to maintain a healthy menstrual cycle and a decoction made of the root was used after giving birth to stimulate the reproductive system. It was also used in purification ceremonies if menstrual taboos were broken. Other tribes used skullcap as a tonic for the kidneys, to induce visions, and as a ceremonial plant to be smoked similarly to tobacco.
The compound baicalein, has been shown in studies to have cardiovascular effects in vitro. It is believed to interfere with hormonal reactions and the release of histamines and bile in the body. It also stimulates gallbladder activity, inhibits inflammation and suppresses the replication of viruses, bacteria, and leukemia-derived T-cells.
The plant’s flavonoids are readily extracted in water.
Tea made from the American scutellaria (S. lateriflora) is a very mild and safe nervine, it has even been given to teething babies.
Scutellaria increases the production of collagen in the gums, helping to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Good quality Chinese skullcap root is long, thick, solid, yellow, and without a cortex.
Helps Treat Cancer
The American genus, S. lateriflora, is excellent for eliminating anxiety and can even treat rabies.
How to use Skullcap (Huang Qin, Ban Zhi Lian) and take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!
Find out how to safely use this powerful herb and get specific recipes you can make use of immediately. Dive deep into Eastern and Western perspectives about HOW and WHY this herb works. Includes uses, benefits, essential oils, gardening tips, and much, much more.
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