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Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

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Also listed as: American scullcap, Scutellaria lateriflora
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 5,7-dihydroxy-8,2'-dimethoxyflavone, American skullcap, baicalin, beta-sitosterol, chrysin, daucosterol, decursin, dihydrochrysin, dihydrooroxylin A, flavanone glucuronides, flavone glucuronides, ikonnikoside I, lateriflorin, lupenol, mad-dog scullcap, oroxylin A, ou-gon (Chinese), palmitic acid, pomolic acid, scuteflorin A, scuteflorin B, Scutellaria lateriflora, scutellaric acid, scutellarin, skullcap, ursolic acid, wogonin.
  • Note: Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) should not be confused with Baikal skullcap (Scutellaria barbata), although they have similar names.

Background
  • Scullcap is native to the United States. It has been used as a sedative and as an agent to calm the nerves, improve urine flow, and prevent muscle spasms.
  • Scullcap has been studied for anxiety and depression, but evidence to support these uses is lacking.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Early study suggests that anxiety may be reduced for up to two hours after taking scullcap by mouth. Further evidence is needed before conclusions can be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Anti-spasm, depression, improving urine flow, menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), sedative.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • For anxiety, doses of 100-350 milligrams of scullcap have been taken by mouth in the form of capsules.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for scullcap in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to scullcap, its parts, or members of the Lamiaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Scullcap may cause changes in consciousness, confusion, giddiness, epilepsy-like symptoms, liver damage, pneumonia, and reduced anxiety.
  • Use cautiously in people who are taking agents that relieve anxiety, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, hypnotics, and sedatives.
  • Use cautiously in people who have liver dysfunction or lung problems.
  • Avoid taking scullcap in high doses.
  • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of information.
  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to scullcap, its parts, or members of the Lamiaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of scullcap during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Scullcap may interact with agents for muscle spasms, agents that reduce anxiety, agents that are toxic to the liver, antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs] and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]), benzodiazepines, nervous system agents, and sedatives.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Scullcap may interact with antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs] and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]), benzodiazepines, herbs and supplements for muscle spasms, herbs and supplements that reduce anxiety, herbs and supplements that are toxic to the liver, nervous system herbs and supplements, and sedatives.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Awad R, Arnason JT, Trudeau V, et al. Phytochemical and biological analysis of skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora L.): a medicinal plant with anxiolytic properties. Phytomedicine. 2003;10(8):640-649.
  2. Bruseth S and Enge A. [Scullcap--liver damage. Mistletoe hepatitis]. Tidsskr.Nor Laegeforen. 8-10-1992;112(18):2389-2390.
  3. Gafner S, Bergeron C, Batcha LL, et al. Inhibition of [3H]-LSD binding to 5-HT7 receptors by flavonoids from Scutellaria lateriflora. J Nat Prod 2003;66(4):535-537.
  4. Li J, Ding Y, Li XC, et al. Scuteflorins A and B, dihydropyranocoumarins from Scutellaria lateriflora. J Nat.Prod. 2009;72(6):983-987.
  5. Sarris J, Panossian A, Schweitzer I, et al. Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety and insomnia: a review of psychopharmacology and clinical evidence. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2011;21(12):841-860.
  6. Takeshita K, Saisho Y, Kitamura K, et al. Pneumonitis induced by ou-gon (scullcap). Intern.Med. 2001;40(8):764-768.
  7. Wolfson P and Hoffmann DL. An investigation into the efficacy of Scutellaria lateriflora in healthy volunteers. Altern Ther Health Med 2003;9(2):74-78.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.


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