Benefits of Skullcap
There appear to be many benefits of skullcap, but some may be more valid than others. The perennial herb is claimed to be useful for treating allergies, anxiety, epilepsy, insomnia, and many other conditions. However, it is not exactly known how skullcap works or whether it is indeed effective for any of these uses. There are currently no skullcap uses recommended for children.
Skullcap is a perennial herb that is sometimes used as a dietary supplement. Skullcap supplements are often claimed to be beneficial for the following conditions:
- Chorea, a condition involving unusual involuntary body movements
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- High cholesterol
- Muscle spasms
- Nervousness or tension
- Strokes, as well as paralysis caused by strokes.
Some of these alleged benefits of skullcap may be more valid than others (see Does Skullcap Work? for more information), and some have absolutely no scientific basis. As with many supplements, claims for the benefits of skullcap are sometimes exaggerated, and such claims must be evaluated critically. Most importantly, it is essential to remember that natural products should not be used carelessly, as many natural products can be quite toxic (for instance, many poisons are natural products).
When used medicinally, the term "skullcap" usually refers to one specific plant species, Scutellaria lateriflora. There are numerous other related Scutellaria plants, but they should not be used interchangeably with skullcap. Since some skullcap herbal remedies may contain one or more of the related skullcap species (that do not have the same medicinal properties), be sure to read the label of your skullcap product thoroughly, making sure it is made with Scutellaria lateriflora.