Scullcap: uses.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Skull Cap?
From: (Lisa Howell Neal)
Date: 7 Apr 1994 03:43:24 GMT

I've had a lot of personal experience using skullcap. I'm not a master herbalist by any means, but I do know a few medicinal herbs very well. I view skullcap as a nerve nourisher. I have a small, benign tumor on a nerve and am hypersensitive to stress. This means that sometimes just normal amounts of stress cause the tumor to scream pain messages, because it's sitting on a nerve! Skullcap nourishes the nerve and helps me manage my stress.

The neat thing about skullcap is that it works so subtly and gently. It melts away the jangle, without the bad-side effects one gets from over-the-counter tranquilizers.

A GREAT use of skullcap is in overcoming addictions, in managing withdrawal. Withdrawal from quitting cigarette smoking, alcohol, coffee can cause your nerves to become quite jangled, but skullcap just melts the jangle away.

Once when I was taking skullcap to help the above-mentioned tumor situation, I happened to give up coffee completely. I expected the terrible coffee withdrawal symptoms--headache, fatigue, etc. to overwhelm me. And I didn't know that skullcap helped with withdrawal. So I was very puzzled when I didn't suffer ANY withdrawal and I later learned that skullcap was the reason.

To use skullcap this way, you first put the skullcap into your system for a couple of weeks--a dropperful of tincture in water twice a day--and THEN you give up your drug, staying on skullcap for a couple more weeks. Three times a day is not excessive either.

When my mother died last summer, my nerves were very jangled. The vigil at her bedside for days with no sleep, the crush of relatives and friends coming at me, sibling squabbling, ... -- finally my husband arrived on the scene for the funeral, with my bottle of skullcap in hand and I took LOTS, and all the weird tightness in my body softened in a good way, without me being sleepy and whazzed out.

Skullcap is very safe and non-addictive, but I do have one word of warning, based on my own experience. Don't use it more than a month or two at a time continuously. After a long while of using skullcap continuously, it takes away your edge. It can make you depressed. Sometimes you just need your nervous edge, but long-term use of skullcap makes you feel like you're fighting against the skullcap to get anything done. I used it for three months once--for my tumor ease--and toward the end I became blue. I told my herb teacher about this and he was relieved to hear me say it, because he'd been using a lot of skullcap with the same symptoms. So, as with anything you put into your body, moderation is the key. (Yeah, I know--I didn't exercise moderation with skullcap when Mama died, but that whole situation was so EXTREME that EXTREME measures were called for). You can't do that with most herbs--it could be dangerous--but skullcap is so gentle and good for you when you really need it.

Can you tell I'm a skullcap fan? It's my herb. Lisa Neal

From: (Lisa Howell Neal)


I wander through the meadows around my home when skullcap is in beautiful bloom. I express gratitude to the plant and offer a pinch of tobacco to show my gratitude. I pinch off the top half of the plant. That is, I use the flowers, buds, leaves, and stem. I pinch it off at the point where the robust leafiness ends and the scraggly leafiness begins. The supply of plants determines how much I harvest and I never wipe out an area. As I harvest, I keep the collected plants in my basket spread out and not mounded up, because mounded-up green plant material can start generating its own internal heat VERY rapidly, the beginnings of fermentation. You don't want that.


[Note that most if not all commercial skullcap is adulterated with Teucrium, which contains liver-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Picking your own is the way to go, unless you have a provider you trust. - Henriette]

From: (Lisa Howell Neal)

Bill Grae asked about whether an infusion (tea) of skullcap would be as effective as tincture. I do not know. I do know that skullcap tastes awful. It is bitter with a lingering aftertaste. Sipping it as a tea would not be pleasant.

From: (karen)

> Bill Grae asked about whether an infusion (tea) of skullcap would be as

Bill and everyone else -

I use skullcap in infusion strength, usually with peppermint and catnip, for headaches and pain in general. I do not find the taste that bad. I do use it as a tincture, too, but I think it does work fine as a strong tea. And Bill, nearly any good herb book (Diane Stein and Billie Potts among them, oh and Susun Weed) have good tincture explanations. I make my own, they are easy, but take a long time.

Good luck,