Baical Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi)
Family: Lamiaceae


      Baical skullcap (botanical name Scutellaria baicalensis) is a member of the mint family. It is a perennial herb, which grows to a height of 1-4 feet. It has four-angled stems with multiple opposite leaves. Its blue to purple flowers are characterised by the specific shape, which resembles the scull. Two petals of the flower are often called lips. The flowers, blooming in July, are situated on one side of the stem. The root of the herb is thick and branchy. It is almost skinless.
      Baical skullcap is a traditional herbal remedy used extensively in the Chinese system of medicine. The traditional and ancient use of this herb was confirmed when in 1973 excavations led to the discovery of 92 wooden tablets in a 2nd-century AD tomb in a region of northwestern China.


skullcap1  skullcap3 

Habitat. Countries such as mainland China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and the Russian federation are areas in which the baical skullcap grows native. The habitat that the baical skullcap herb prefers, include the sunny grassy slopes and the herb also grows well in open areas which have elevations between 350 ft-100 m and 8,000 ft-2,000 m above sea level.

Chemical composition.Roots of Skullcap contain:
- flavonoid glycosides: Baicalin and Scutellarin
- other flavonoids: chrysin,  Oroxylin А, dihydroxyoroxylin А, Wogonin, Wogonin-5-O-glucoside, Viscidulin I and Visdulin III)
- macro-and micro-elements: Fe, Ca, Mg, K, Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, Mo, I, Se.
- saponins and coumarins
- tannins (up to 2,5%)
- essential oils
- resins

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Hypotensive, anti-sclerotic, sedative, anticonvulsant, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-allergic, antipyretic, tonic, tones up nervous system, immune-stimulating, antihelminthic, hemostatic, regulates metabolism, improves digestion, expectorant, vasodilating and nootropic remedy.

Action.Scutellaria baicalensis seems to be a good antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory agent. Both topical and oral preparations serve for reducing inflammation, inhibition of angiogenesis (the growth of the new blood vessels, which occurs during the spreading of cancerous tumours), and preventing ethanol-induced hyperlipidemia and histamine release from the mast cells.
      All the scientists agree that flavonoids are the main chemicals, which display beneficial effects in the human body. They are believed to possess anticancer abilities. The studies conducted by this time support this theory.
      Baicalin is said to be the most powerful and promising flavonoid peculiar for this herb. It is due to its influence plant’s root is a so valuable herbal remedy against many diseases. Baicalin is believed to interfere with hormonal reactions and release of histamines and bile in the body; it stimulates gallbladder activity, inhibits inflammation, as well as suppresses the activity of leukaemia-derived T-cells and replication of viruses and bacteria.
Health Benefits.  Long history of use, herbalists’ observations, and recently conducted laboratory studies on animals support the claims that Scutellaria baicalensis helps fight, lessen, or prevent such diseases as:
-         cancer (the plant keeps leukaemia-derived T-cells of the human immune system in the dormant state and inhibits cancer-causing effects of fungal toxins)
-         chronic fatigue syndrome (zinc found in the plant helps prevent this disease),
-         anxiety and stress (Scullcap blocks overproduction of stress hormone, which is also helpful for managing headaches),
-         headache and hangover (the herb prevents the inflammation of the brain cells caused by histamine release in response to high levels of alcohol in blood),
-         allergies and asthma (herb’s baicalin controls hormonal reactions and histamine release upon exposure to allergy triggers),
-         influenza, pneumonia, and ear infections (the process of replication and multiplying of the viruses, bacteria, and fungi is blocked by Scutellaria; it is most effective against Candida, Streptococcus group, Staphylococcus, and others),
-         diabetes and atherosclerosis (bacterial infection, often linked to the development of atherosclerosis, in reduced by Scutellaria, as well as swelling of the arteries linings due to injuries),
-         heart attack (the risk of heart attack is significantly reduced due to Scullcap’s cholesterol-lowering effect),
-         hypertension (diuretic ability of Scutellaria helps lower blood pressure and dilate blood vessels),
-         high cholesterol (the stimulation of the gallbladder to produce more bile results in “washing” cholesterol off the liver into the intestines and out of the body),
-         periodontal disease (Sutellaria increases the production of collagen in the gums, which helps reverse gingivitis and prevent periodontal disease).

Find out more about the herb & animal and clinical data in details here:

1. Information from University of Maryland Medical Centre: Read more
2. More information about the mechanism of action and animal studies: Read more
3. Information about animal and clinical studies: Read more