Skullcap is a genus of flowering plants that is among the most widely used beneficial plant medicines in several parts of the world, including China and North America. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are commonly used within traditional medicine to treat ailments and diseases.
At Sirius we sell the North American variety, Scutellaria lateriflora, which has a long tradition within the medicine of the indigenous people of North America. Today, gunpowder is widely used as a natural remedy to reduce anxiety and calm down. It is also a popular plant medicine to reduce stress and treat insomnia.
The plant belongs to the lipflower family (Lamiaceae). This includes other plants and herbs such as mint, oregano and sage. The Latin name for the plant is Scutellaria lateriflora. The name Scutellaria comes from the word 'scutella' which means 'saucer' or 'small shield'. This is a reference to the shape of the fruits. Lateriflora means 'flowers placed on the side', and obviously refers to the fact that the flowers of skullcap are on the side of the stem.
The plant grows along water edges and in swamp forest. It can grow to a height of about 50 meters.
Where does the name ‘Glidkruid’ come from?
The flowers have distinct 'lips' and also look somewhat like helminths, or hoods (hence the English name). According to several descriptions, the flowers look somewhat like miniature versions of medieval helmets.
Glidkruid is the Dutch name for the plant and means 'herb to heal limbs with'. The name is derived from the Early New High German word 'gliedkraut'.
Botanist Dodonaeus described it as a herb to treat sprained limbs and gout.
Traditional healing power of skullcap
Skullcap has different uses depending on the part of the world we are in. When we talk about Chinese skullcap, we are talking about the species Scutellaria baicalensis.
In China, skullcap is used to "ward off the heat devil and ward off evil. The medicine Huang Qin has as its basic ingredient the root of a certain species of skullcap. The plant itself is widely used in various remedies. Unfortunately, the Chinese variety is being picked too much in the wild, which has put the species at risk of extinction. Meanwhile, you pay masses of money for this variety of skullcap
In Western Europe, some varieties of skullcap can also be found. Some of these also have the reputation of traditional medicine, including small skullcap (scutellaria minor). Skullcap was already used in folk medicine as a pain reliever and also used externally to care for wounds.
North American Indian peoples have also known for a long time about the healing powers of skullcap. They used the dried leaves and stems of the plant to make tea. This was used as a remedy for menstrual pain, nervousness, digestive problems and kidney problems. In America, the plant was used for a long time as a medicine against rabies. Even today, this species of skullcap is widely used as a medicine and is also popular in the rest of the world, although the plant is used for different applications than in the past.
Treatment of allergies and other ailments
Throughout time, skullcap has seen a variety of uses. Some of these include:
- Treating allergies such as hay fever, asthma, eczema and hives. Within phytotherapy, skullcap is still used for these purposes.However, skullcap has also been used as a medicine for problems with the blood vessels and capillaries. In folk medicine, skullcap is used to treat arteriosclerosis, among other things. Skullcap acts as a natural pain reliever. Some uses include treating headaches, cramps and pain during menstruation.
- Digestive problems, including diarrhea, have also been treated for centuries with skullcap.
- Coughs with a lot of phlegm are also treated with a tincture or tea of skullcap.
- Skullcap also has an anti-inflammatory effect. It inhibits certain processes in the body that lead to inflammation and therefore diseases. One of these processes is called cyclooxygenase. This process ultimately causes flu and fever. The anti-inflammatory effect is beneficial for the entire body.
- Also in the brain, the active ingredients provide an anti-inflammatory effect. The substances wogonin and oroxylin A are responsible for this. In this way skullcap is attributed with a protective effect for the brain cells. In this way, skullcap can be interesting as an aid to certain diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease.
- And last but not least, skullcap can support learning processes and is useful for people who suffer from forgetfulness.
Modern uses of skullcap
Anxiety, stress and sleep problems
Today, skullcap is used as a natural medicine to combat anxiety and reduce muscle spasms. The body can become more restful.
Often, glidewort is combined with other calming herbs and plants. Some valuable combinations are:
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): this little plant is a calming natural medicine by itself and has been very popular for a long time. In ancient Greece, the plant already had an important place.Valerian is still an interesting herb for women who suffer from menstrual pain. Valerian contains several active ingredients, including GABA. The latter causes a sedative and relaxing effect. This makes it easier to fall asleep, for example, without experiencing side effects such as drowsiness and problems with concentration the next day. However, it is important to note that Valerian has a strong effect on its own. Do not overdo it with the dosage.
- CBD: cannabidiol is a compound found in the hemp plant. CBD is non-psychoactive. The substance has an extensive list of uses. CBD is known as a pain reliever and natural relaxant. Many users report an improvement in general well-being, less pain (such as tense muscles), a better sleep rhythm and an improvement in mood. Check out Sirius' range for all our CBD products, from CBD capsules to CBD oil.
- Cannabis: The combination of cannabis and skullcap is very interesting for people who are mainly looking for the relaxing effects of cannabis. However, skullcap can also help reduce restless feelings from cannabis and provide a more calming effect. Ideal to use in with a vaporizer.
Skullcap contains several active ingredients. The majority of them consist of flavonoids. The most important flavonoids are the substance baicalein, scutellarin, wagonin and baicalin. In addition, skullcap contains flavonoids I and II. These substances have been investigated in a scientific study and each has been found to generate a specific effect on its own, which depends on the dosage.
Furthermore, skullcap contains various tannins, volatile oils and essential oils such as limonene, terpineol, beta-humulene and caryaffylene. Also, skullcap contains resin.
An effective and easy way to use skullcap is to make tea of it. The taste is pleasant and aromatic. If necessary, the tea can be combined with other herbs, as mentioned earlier. Other combinations may include lemon balm, sage, hops, thyme.
Use a vaporizer
It is also possible to experience the analgesic and relaxing effects of herbal tea by using a vaporizer. In this way, the effect can again be somewhat different from tea. Especially when you are looking for a natural painkiller, the use of a vaporizer can be valuable.
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