Scutellaria. Skullcap, Scullcap. Scutellaria lateriflora.
Scutellaria. N. F. IV. Skullcap. Scullcap. Hoodwort. Madweed. Mad-dog or Sideflowering Scullcap. Blue Pimpernel. Hooded Willow-herb. Scutellaire, Fr. Helmkraut, Schildkraut, G.—"The dried plant of Scutellaria lateriflora Linné (Fam. Labiatae)." N. F. Scutellaria was official in the U. S. P. VIII, but was introduced into the N. F. IV.
Several species of scutellaria have attracted attention. Scutellaria galericulata L., which grows in wet places from Newfoundland to North Carolina and west to Nebraska, has a feeble, somewhat alliaceous odor, and a bitterish taste. It has been employed in intermittents, and externally in old ulcers. S. integrifolia L. is intensely bitter, and might probably be found useful as a tonic.
Scutellaria lateriflora is an indigenous, perennial herb, with a stem erect, much branched, quadrangular, smooth, and one or two feet high. The leaves are ovate, acute, dentate, subcordate upon the stem, opposite, and supported upon long petioles. The flowers are small, of a pale blue color, and disposed in long, lateral, 1-sided, leafy racemes. The plant grows in wet shaded places in the United States and Canada.
The dried tops are described as "about 50 cm. in length, smooth; stem quadrangular, branched; leaves opposite, petiolate, about 5 cm. in length, ovate-lanceolate or ovate-oblong, serrate; flowers about 6 mm. in length, in axillary one-sided racemes, with a pale blue corolla and bilabiate calyx, closed in fruit, the upper lip helmet-shaped. Odor slight; taste slightly bitter. Scutellaria yields not more than 12 per cent. of ash." N. F. H. Molisch and G. Goldschmidt (Ph. Ztg; Dec. 4, 1901, 965) obtained from scutellaria and a number of other labiates an identical body, to which they gave the name scutellarin. It is present in all of the different scutellarias, being most abundant in the upper epidermis of the leaf, but found also in the roots, stems and flowers of the plant. It was further obtained from the leaves of Galeopis Tetrahit L., and of Teucrium Chamaedrys L.. In Scutellaria altissima L., the presence of cinnamic and fumaric acids were also established. Scutellarin is obtained by boiling freshly gathered leaves for fifteen minutes in ten times their weight of water, filtering the decoction and adding from 1 to 2 per cent. of hydrochloric acid, which causes an abundant precipitate of scutellarin. If precipitation is effected from the hot solution, the scutellarin separates in the form of light yellow crystals. The formula C10H8O3 has been assigned to scutellarin. Its alcoholic solution gives a red precipitate with lead acetate and an intense green color with ferric chloride, changing on heating to a red color if the reagent is not present in great excess; alcoholic potassium or sodium hydroxides, as also alkali acetates, produce reddish-yellow precipitates, which change to green on exposure to the air. Solution of barium hydroxide has the same effect. The green color is produced immediately if an oxidizing agent, such as chlorine or bromine water, is added.
Scullcap is as destitute of medicinal properties as a plant may well be (every so often Remington's anti-botanical elitism gets SOOO tiresome....MM), not even being aromatic. When taken internally, it produces no very obvious effects, and probably is of no remedial value, although at one time it was esteemed as a remedy in hydrophobia. It has also been used in neuralgia and convulsive affections, chorea, delirium tremens, and nervous exhaustion from fatigue or over-excitement. (A. J. P., xxiii, 370; N. J. M. R., v; M. S. Rep., 1870.) Dose, thirty to ninety grains (2.0-5.8 Gm.)