Herb: Virginian Skullcap


Latin name: Scutellaria lateriflora


Family: Labiatae



Medicinal use of Virginian Skullcap:

A commonly used herbal medicine, Virginian skullcap is a very effective nervine that has traditionally been used in the treatment of a wide range of nervous conditions. Its tonic and restorative properties help to support and nourish the nervous system, calming and relieving stress and anxiety. Very little research has been carried out on this species, despite its long use in American and British herbal medicine. Research is sorely needed, and may reveal more uses for this valuable herb. The leaves are antispasmodic, slightly astringent, diuretic, nervine, sedative and strongly tonic. They are harvested in early summer and dried for later use. It is used in the treatment of various problems of the nervous system including epilepsy, insomnia, anxiety, delirium tremens, withdrawal from barbiturates and tranquillisers, and neuralgia. An infusion of the plant has been used to promote suppressed menstruation, relieve breast pain and encourage expulsion of the placenta, it should not be given to pregnant women since it can induce a miscarriage. This plant should be used with some caution since in excess it causes giddiness, stupor, confusion and twitching. The plant was once believed of use in the treatment of rabies, though there is no evidence to support this.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
June to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Alluvial thickets, meadows and swampy woods.

Propagation of Virginian Skullcap:

Seed - sow in situ outdoors 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 spring. 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. Basal cuttings in early summer in a frame. Very easy. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Alluvial thickets, meadows and swampy woods.

Known hazards of Scutellaria lateriflora:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.