Subject: Re: Skullcap information?
From: Paul Bergner <pbergner.delphi.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 94 03:21:43 -0500
> I recently purchased my first bottle of Skullcap upon the recommendations of some friends. Where can I find more information about this herb, what its various uses are, where it comes from, etc.?
Scullcap is a classic sedative herb. It's better for the robust or hot-headed constitutional type, rather than someone who is skinny, pale, or often feels cold (They'd do better with Valerian). An important caution on skullcap is that at least in the recent past, you often actually got germander (Teucrium spp.) instead of scullcap. This adulteraant is so common in North America and Europe that one North American writer (Michael Tierra) states in one of his books that much of what is sold on the market as scullcap is actually germander. And the British herbal Pharmacopoeia, after describing in detail what dried scullcap looks like actually enters a disclaimer saying that what they described might actually be germander. Unfortunately at least one species of germander is toxic to the liver, and caused at least one death in France a few years ago. other cases of liver toxicity in the scientific literature were blamed on various herbs, but in each of a group of cases, skullcap (probably adulterated with or consisting solely of germander) was included in the formula. You can solve the problem by buying from a reputable company, and by following the general wisdom of the herbalist: don't take any medicinal herb in large amounts or daily for long periods.
Paul Bergner, Editor