Skullcap is a plant. The above ground parts are used to make medicine.
Skullcap is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.
Skullcap is used for trouble sleeping (insomnia), anxiety, stroke, and paralysis caused by stroke. It is also used for fever, high cholesterol, "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), rabies, epilepsy, nervous tension, allergies, skin infections, inflammation, a severe form of premenstrual syndrome called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and spasms.
Skullcap products are not always what the labels claim. The plants germander and teucrium are often unwanted and unlabeled ingredients in skullcap products. Also, you may think you are buying Scuttelaria lateriflora, the species of skullcap that has been studied for medicinal use, but the product may contain a different species of skullcap instead. The most often substituted species are Western Skullcap (Scuttelaria canescens), Southern Skullcap (Scutellaria cordifolia), or Marsh Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulatum). These species contain different chemicals, so they are not considered interchangeable.
How it works
The chemicals in skullcap are thought to cause sedation (drowsiness).
Early research suggests that healthy people who take a single dose of skullcap extract might feel more relaxed than tense. This effect appears to last for about 2 hours. However, other early research shows that taking skullcap three times daily for 2 weeks does not reduce anxiety in healthy people. But it might improve mood. It is not known if taking skullcap helps people who have been diagnosed with anxiety. Also it's not clear if long-term use is beneficial.
There is not enough information available to know if skullcap is safe to take for medical conditions.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking skullcap is you arepregnantorbreast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Surgery: Skullcap may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking skullcap at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
ModerateSedative medications (CNS depressants)
Skullcap might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking skullcap along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.Some sedative medications include benzodiazepines, pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), thiopental (Pentothal), fentanyl (Duragesic, Sublimaze), morphine, propofol (Diprivan), and others.