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Treating Nervous Disorders with Skullcap

May 6, 2008
Skullcap is a member of the mint family and is characterized by flowers that grow only on one side of the plant, and by small dish-shaped seedpods. It was used in the Americas by native peoples for some time to treat rabies and promote menstruation. These days, skullcap is mostly used to treat a variety of nervous disorders. The American skullcap is S. lateriflora. In Chinese medicine, the related plant is S. baicalensis, or better known by its Chinese medicine name, huang qin.

The taste of skullcap has alternately been described as dry, cold and bitter. Many of the parts of the skullcap plant are used for herbal remedies. The aerial parts are used to create many herbal remedies to treat nervous conditions, premenstrual tension and symptoms of epilepsy. The aerial parts of the skullcap plant are also well known for its calming properties.

In Chinese herbal medicine, the root of the skullcap plant is used to produce certain herbal remedies. In China, skullcap is known as huang qin. Traditional Chinese herbalists use skullcap to clear heat from the respiratory and digestive systems. In China, huang qin is also thought to help ease the symptoms of insomnia. In China, the skullcap plant is thought to contain melatonin, so this may explain why the plant has been shown to be effective in easing the symptoms of insomnia.

In Korea, the skullcap plant is also used widely in herbal remedies. Some Korean research on the skullcap plant has revealed new dimensions to this old herbal favorite. For example, recent Korean research has demonstrated that the herb can help combat the development of gum disease and tooth decay. Some new lines of natural toothpastes have added the skullcap plant to its ingredients list.

There are many different ways to prepare the skullcap plant into several herbal remedies. One of the most common ways to take the skullcap plant is in a hot tea. To infuse the skullcap plant, use only fresh aerial parts and place in hot water to create a hot tea. To treat the symptoms of insomnia, it is recommended that skullcap be combined with wild lettuce or passionflower. A special tincture can be created from skullcap. Use fresh herb whenever possible. Combine five ml of skullcap with 10 drops of lemon balm as a tincture to treat the symptoms of stress or depression.

Skullcap is available in teas, capsules, and tablets.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Herbal Remedies.
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