Scutellaria laterifloraCommon Names: American Skullcap, Blue Pimpernel, Blue Skullcap, Escutelaria, Helmet Flower

Scientific Name: Scutellaria galericulata, Labiatae

Identification: Common waterside plant found throughout the United Kingdom and Northern Hemisphere. Usually identified by its blue flower that has a hooded shape.

Skullcap is found along marshes, lakesides, and riversides. It is traditionally used in medicine and as a pest control agent. There are about 350 species of skullcap, so if used medicinally, be sure to use the correct one and for the correct ailment. It was used by Native Americans to treat rabies, and then later adopted by Europeans thus the nickname, Mad dog.

Parts Used: Aerial parts (the actual skullcap) and the roots are used for their medicinal purposes.

Uses: To help treat rabies, diarrhea, hysteria, epilepsy convulsions, and schizophrenia. It also relieves breast pain and helps deliver the placenta after birth. It is primarily used now as an antispasmodic, and to relax nerves. It is also believed to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also acts as a diuretic. An infusion of the flowering part of the herb is great to soothe nerves including exhaustion, excitability, anxiety, and tension.

Growing: This herb requires sunny areas for proper growth. It grows up to three feet in height. It is mainly found along ponds, rivers, marshes and lakes. They prefer a moist soil for strong offspring.

Medicinal Uses: See Uses above. It is also known as the ‘cold and bitter’ herb, used to treat high fevers, coughs with heavy phlegm, and GI infections with diarrhea. When combined with other herbs it can be used to treat hypertension.

Safety: If you are using this herb medicinally, be sure you are using the correct species of skullcap for the coinciding ailment.

Books on Skullcap: The Herb Book: The Most Complete Catalog of Herbs Ever Published by John Lust