Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is a bitter member of the mint family. A perennial native to North American, skullcap prefers a moist/humid and semi-shaded environment although it can handle up to moderate sunlight. It blooms small blue or violet blossoms, from May until August.
Appearances: Skullcap has a square, “fuzzy” stem, blossoming from 6″ – 18″ high. It’s leaves grow on opposite sides, heart-shaped at the base with scalloped (or “toothed”) edges. It’s blue or lavender flowers are hooded, tube shape, and two-lipped – the lower lip having two shallow lobes. Skullcap has a weaker stem and therefore often lops over, forming new roots into the ground it touches.
Benefits: One of the most relevant nervines (curative of many nervous system afflictions) used in the Western materia medica, skullcap is commonly used to cure soothing nervous tension and chronic stress, depression/exhaustion, and has a long history of control and treatment of seizures. Interesting note: considering the circular growth pattern of this plant (as the plant lops over, sprouting new roots where it touches ground) it is often associated with curing circular thought patterns, or a feeling of “going over and over” things in your head, not being able to shut the mind off, etc.
Harvesting & Recipes: Gather all parts of the plant that lie above ground (stem, leaves, flowers) in the summer/while in-bloom, dry and store for later use. Use 1 teaspoon of dried plant in 2 cups of water, steep for 15 minutes and drink. Tincture: 20 drops, twice daily.
“Everyday Plants for Power” Webinar led by Ashley Litecky, Clinical Herbalist