SCULLCAP, Scutellaria lateriflora

We had a neighbor who was quite sick when he moved near us a few years ago. He would have a couple of grand mal seizures and a number of petit mal attacks each day. Because of his seizures, he had trouble with his orientation, as well as his equilibrium. Then, one day, he decided to change his diet from refined foods to fruits and vegetables. He cleaned out his body with cleanses and fasts. Each day he took an herbal combination, with skullcap, internally in capsules. He also took some skullcap tincture and put it on the base of the skull sever4al times a day. For a while, he also put some skullcap tincture in his ears at night along with some garlic oil. He got along just fine until he had to binge on candies, cupcakes and soft drinks. Then his problems would start all over. When he ate right and took his herbs, he felt fine. He built a big new garage on their house though he was eighty years old.

The name skullcap conjures up many strange and questionable notions in our mind as do some of the other common names of this wonderful plant. Some of the other names are “mad dogweed,” “helmet flower,” “hooded wort,” “blue pimpernel,” “Quaker bonnet,” and many more. However, this plant is anything but strange and questionable.

Scullcap is a member of the mint family. Like other mints, it has a square stem, leaves that grow opposite each other, toothed and kind of oval and pointed at the tip. It will grow from one to three feet tall, according to the moisture and soil. It is found mostly among other mints in moist ground and is hard to distinguish until the flower appears. The flower blooms from late spring to mid-summer and usually grows longer than the leaf around it. The blossom appears to wear a scullcap, is two-lipped, pale purple, blue or pink and somewhat resembles a snapdragon.

Scullcap is a tremendous nerve herb, helping every part of the nervous system. It will influence the spinal cord and sympathetic nervous system (which supplies the organs and blood vessels), as well as the brain. It tones and soothes the nervous system, without any narcotic properties. Dr. Shook says that, “Scullcap is a slow-working, but sure, remedy for practically all nervous afflictions, but it must be taken regularly for a long period of time to be of permanent benefit.”

Scullcap is an antispasmodic for restlessness, tremors, spasms, twitching of muscles, St Vitus dance, epilepsy, delirium, facial neuralgia, and hyperesthesia. It is a nervine which feeds and nurtures the nerves, a sedative to relax the muscles, a tonic to tone and soothe the nervous system, a calmative to feed and calm the nerves, an anti venomous for snake and mad dog bites and the list goes on and on.

Ethan Nebelkopf, in his book The Herbal Connection, says that skullcap is used very effectively in a tea he calls “relaxo brew.” Ethan works in drug rehabilitation centers trying to help people get of of drugs and helping them work through withdrawal pains. For thousands of years, skullcap has been used in many herbal formulas including Grandma’s herbal Nervine formula.

I have some friends who have a little boy whom everyone used to call “that brat.” He was very hyperactive and no one could control him. I felt very sympathetic toward him and told his folks, “If you were hurtin’ on the inside like that little guy, you’d be climbin’ the walls, too. They change his diet, took away the junk food, gave him a few herbs and he quite a nice little boy now. If skullcap and other nerve herbs were used as they are needed, the prisons and the insane asylums would be half empty. Folks wouldn’t be so uptight and full of anxiety and stress.

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