Skullcap (Huang Qin, Ban Zhi Lian)Skullcap (Huang Qin, Ban Zhi Lian)

Botanical Name: Western – Scutellaria lateriflora. Eastern – Scutellaria baicalensis, S. barbatae.

There are over 300 genus of scutellaria. Here we explore the three most commonly used for medicine by the Chinese, Native Americans and now herbalists the world over. 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 of the genus discussed here are excellent at treating hot oozing sores. The American plant (S. lateriflora) is considered the mildest and best for treating anxiety.

Below is an overview of Skullcap, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Skullcap.

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Western Name: Skullcap

Also Known As: Scutellaria, Skute, Blue Skullcap, Mad Dog Skullcap, Baical Skullcap, Hoodwort, Virginian Skullcap, Madweed

Organs/Systems: Small Intestines, Stomach

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antiviral, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Anticancer, Relaxant, Decongestant, Febrifuge, Anti-tumor, Anti-angiogeneisis, Nervine, Analgesic, Bronchodialator.


Pin Yin: Huang Qin (Scutellaria baicalensis) and Ban Zhi Lian (S. barbatae)

Also Known As: Ban Zhi Lian translattes as “Half-branched Lotus.”

Meridians: Scutellaria baicalensis – Gall Bladder, Large Intestine, Lung, Stomach. S. barbatae – Large Intestine, Liver, Lung, Stomach. S. lateriflora – Stomach, Lungs, Kidney.

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Scutellaria baicalensis (Huang Qin) – Clears Heat/Drains Fire: Especially drains heat from the upper part of the body with patterns of fever, irritability, hot sores, thirst, cough, and thick yellow sputum. Clears Heat/Dries Dampness: a major herb for treating damp-heat in the stomach or intestines, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, stifling feeling in the chest, jaundice, thirsty but unable to drink, and painful urinary dysfunction. Clears Heat/Stops Bleeding: nose bleeds, blood in the vomit, urine or stools. Clears Heat/Calms the Fetus: used when heat is upsetting the fetus and causing excessive kicking and restlessness. It is most used to treat internal hot, damp conditions.

S. barbatae (Ban Zhi Lian) – Clears Heat/Relieves Toxicity/Invigorates Blood/Reduces Swelling: sores, abscesses, snakebites, trauma. Recently being used to help treat gastric, esophagus and liver cancers and chronic hepatitis. It is excellent for treating injuries and traumas.

S. lateriflora (American Scutellaria/Skullcap) – Moves Qi (Energy), Calms Nerves: spasms, nervous tension, shortness of breath, palpations, cardiac pains, rabies, tetanus, neuralgia. Clears Heat/Resolves Fevers: night sweats, irregular menses, insomnia, low tidal fevers. Restores Stomach Function/Promotes Urination: improves appetite, fatigue, exhaustion, urinary dysfunction. Antidote for Poisons: Snakebite, rashes, insect bites.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

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.

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.

Skullcap (Huang Qin)Parts Most Frequently Used: Entire Plant (all varieties), Root (Scutellaria baicalensis)

Flavors/Temps: Scutellaria baicalensis –  Bitter, Cold. S. barbatae – Acrid, Bitter, Cold. S. lateriflora – Bitter, Cold.

Caution: Generally considered safe, though caution is always advised during pregnancy.

History/Folklore: 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 Scullcap,” derives from the plants ability to treat rabies.

The Chinese use the herb 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.

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.

The compound Baicalein, has shown in studies to have cardiovascular effects in in vitro. It is believed to interfere with hormonal reactions and release of histamines and bile in the body, stimulating gall bladder activity, inhibiting inflammation and suppressing the replication of viruses, bacteria and leukemia-derived T-cells.

Skullcap’s over exploitation and increasing rarity has led to an increase in price and a preference for cultivated plants.

The plants flavinoids are readily extracted in water.

Tea made from the American scutellaria (S. lateriflora) is especially 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 prevent periodontal disease.

Key Constituents:

Flavonoids, Baicalein, Apigenin, Oroxylin A, Scutellarein, Steroidal saponins, Glycosides, Volatile oils, Tannins, Zinc. More than 295 chemical compounds have been isolated.

Did you know?

Increasingly Rare

Skullcap’s over exploitation and increasing rarity has led to an increase in price and a preference for cultivated plants.


Help Treat Cancer

In China, Ban Zhi Lian (S. barbatae) is highly regarded as an herb to help treat cancer.

Fun fact!

Eliminate Anxiety

The American genus S. lateriflora, is excellent at eliminating anxiety and even treats rabies.

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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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