Scutellaria lateriflora

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Scutellaria lateriflora

Common Names:

Skullcap, Greater Scullcap, Helmet Flower, Hoodwart, Mad-Dog, Mad Weed, Quaker Bonnett, Virginian Scullcap, and Blue Pimpernel

 Habitat and Growing Conditions:

Native to North America, perennial herbaceous plant that grows to about .5m with dark green, veined, leaves and delicate pale purple to blue, two-lipped, clustered, helmet-shaped flowers. It loves growing in semi-shaded areas and is happy to be amongst other herbs. Grow from seed, cuttings or propagate in spring or summer. I like to harvest the aerial parts from November to May (Australia).


Bitter, cooling and pungent


Nervine tonic, anti-spasmodic, mild sedative, alterative.


Arthritis, anxiety, convulsions, epilepsy, headaches, hypertension, insomnia, muscular spasms, neuralgia, neurosis, nervous tension, neurasthenia, pre-menstrual tension, tremors, and urinary incontinence.

Skullcap is one of my favorite herbs when making a tonic for stress for someone who is feeling anxious, nervous or agitated and just can’t relax in body and mind. Skullcap is high in nutrients that feed the nervous system.  Skullcap is also I like to use Skullcap with Withania and licorice as a nervine tonic. I also like to mix it with other herbs such as Hops and Valerian to help with sleep. One of my favorite herbalists, who has now passed away, Isabel Shipard, says in her book “How I use Herbs in my Daily Life”, “Skullcap is a food provided by nature which can help rebuild and strengthen the spinal cord and all the nerves of the body”. Remarkable!


Flavonoids (apigenin, hispidulin, luteloin, scutellarein, scutellarin), iridoid glycoside (catapol), essential oil and fixed oil.


None known


1-2 tsp of dried herb or a heaped tablespoon of fresh herb per cup of boiling water and steeped, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink. You may need to sweeten it with honey. I recently made a tincture, 1:2, on the 27th of July 2018 using my stainless steel percolator. I used the dried herb, as I could not get fresh. I took 3ml with a small amount of water. It was really bitter but not as bitter as Andrographis. The smell was grassy and the color was beautiful reddish-brown as shown in this photo of the dose I took. You can take 3-6mls per day. I felt relaxed, and not sleepy, about 15 minutes after taking Skullcap.


Phytotherapy Desk Reference by M. Thomsen and H. Gennat p: 89-90

A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve p: 724-725

The Ultimate Herbal Compendium by Kerry Bone p:63

The Complete Herbal Tutor by Anne McIntyre p:237