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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
  • American skullcap, flavanone glucuronides, flavone glucuronides, ikonnikoside I, lateriflorin, mad-dog skullcap, ou-gon (Chinese), Scutellaria lateriflora, scutellarin, skullcap.
  • Note: Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) should not be confused with Baikal skullcap (Scutellaria barbata), although they have similar scientific and common names.

Background
  • Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is native to the United States.
  • Traditionally, scullcap has been used as a relaxant, and it is well-known for its antispasmodic actions. Native Americans traditionally used scullcap extracts as sedatives and diuretics.
  • Although early evidence suggests that it may have antidepressant or anti-anxiety properties, there is not enough available evidence in humans to support the use of scullcap for any medical condition.

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 *
* 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.

  • Antidepressant, anxiolytic, depression, menopausal symptoms, muscle spasm, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), sedative.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

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

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 individuals with known allergies or sensitivity to scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), its constituents, or members of the Lamiaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Little information is available on the adverse effects associated with scullcap.
  • Scullcap may cause liver damage and should be used cautiously in patients with liver disorders.
  • In a case report, a man who was taking a traditional Japanese herb medicine, otsu-ji-to, developed pneumonia. The authors concluded that the pneumonitis had been induced by ou-gon (scullcap). However, it is unclear which species of scullcap ou-gon refers to.
  • Based on secondary sources, high doses of scullcap may cause giddiness, stupor, confusion, and other symptoms suggestive of epilepsy.
  • Use cautiously in patients who are taking antidepressants, hypnotic agents, or anti-anxiety agents, as scullcap may increase their effects.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Scullcap is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Scullcap may have antidepressants effects and should be used cautiously with antidepressants.
  • Scullcap may have antispasmodic effects.
  • Scullcap may cause liver damage and should be used cautiously in patients with liver disorders.
  • Scullcap may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Scullcap may have antidepressants effects and should be used cautiously with antidepressants.
  • Scullcap may have antispasmodic effects.
  • Scullcap may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements. Scullcap may cause liver damage and should be used cautiously in patients with liver disorders.

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. Bruseth, S and Enge, A. [Scullcap--liver damage. Mistletoe hepatitis]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 8-10-1992;112(18):2389-2390.
  2. 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.
  3. Takeshita, K, Saisho, Y, Kitamura, K, et al. Pneumonitis induced by ou-gon (scullcap). Intern.Med. 2001;40(8):764-768.
  4. 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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