Herb: Baikal Skullcap

Latin name: Scutellaria baicalensis

Synonyms: Scutellaria macrantha

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Baikal Skullcap:

Baikal skullcap is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs and is used primarily in treating "hot and damp" conditions such as dysentery and diarrhoea. It has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years and recent research has found that the roots contain flavonoids that greatly enhance liver function and also have anti-inflammatory and antiallergenic effects. The root is anodyne, antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, haemostatic, laxative, nervine, mildly sedative, stomachic and tonic (for TB). It reputedly calms the foetus in pregnant women. The root is used internally in the treatment of enteritis, dysentery, diarrhoea, jaundice, chronic hepatitis, urinary tract infections, hypertension, threatened miscarriage, nosebleed and haemorrhage from the lungs or bowel. It is one of the ingredients of the Chinese drug "injection of three yellow herbs". The root is harvested in the autumn or spring from plants 3 - 4 years old and is dried for later use. The seed is used to cleanse the bowels of blood and pus.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)


Habitat of the herb:

Sandy and rocky places near the sea shore. Sunny, grassy slopes and waste ground from 100 - 2,000 metres above sea level.

Edible parts of Baikal Skullcap:

Young leaves - cooked as a vegetable. The whole plant is dried and used as a tea substitute.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow outdoors in situ in late spring If there is only a small quantity of seed it is better to sow it in a pot in a cold frame in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring just before new growth begins. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Cultivation of Baikal Skullcap:

Sandy and rocky places near the sea shore. Sunny, grassy slopes and waste ground from 100 - 2,000 metres above sea level.

Known hazards of Scutellaria baicalensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.