Since not a lot of skullcap safety information is available, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider before using the supplement if you have any existing medical conditions, as problems could potentially occur. You may not be able to take skullcap safely if you have epilepsy, liver disease, kidney disease, or any allergies.
Skullcap is an herbal supplement used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and a variety of other conditions. You may not be able to take skullcap safely if you have:
- Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of skullcap include the following:
- If you decide to use supplements (such as skullcap), what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or prescription drugs, and some have been found to have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states. Therefore, make sure the manufacturer of your skullcap product is a trusted and reputable manufacturer. It is a good sign if a manufacturer abides by the rules of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for drugs. It is also a good sign if a product has the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) seal, which means that the product has been independently tested and shown to contain the correct ingredients in the amounts listed on the label. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are most reputable.
- There have been reports of liver damage (sometimes fatal) caused by products that contain skullcap. However, these products may have been contaminated with germander, an herb known to cause liver problems.
- It is sometimes claimed that skullcap is useful for treating epilepsy or seizure disorders. However, you should not treat yourself for seizures or take yourself off of your usual seizure medications without your healthcare provider's approval and supervision.
- If you have liver or kidney disease, check with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including skullcap. Many medications and supplements are cleared from the body using the liver and kidneys.
- It is not known whether skullcap is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women (see Skullcap and Pregnancy and Skullcap and Breastfeeding).