Health Benefits and Uses of Baikal Skullcap

Health & Wellness

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)Health Benefits of Baikal Skullcap / Kills Bacterial Infections: / Antiviral: (Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)) / Reduces Inflammation: / Aids in Dental Care: (Gum Inflammation and Plaque) / Cancer - Treatment and Prevention: (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Inhibition of the Enzyme Alpha Reductase, Antiprophylactic Effects, Enlarged Prostate, Prostate Cancer) / Supports Cardiovascular Health - Heart Health: (Blood Circulation) / Liver Health: (Hepatoprotection, Detox the Body, Lyme Disease) / Diabetes: / Bone Health: (Osteoarthritis) / Neurological Health: (Brain Protection, Ageing Brain) / Improves Cognitive Function: (Alzheimer’s Diseases, Parkinson's Diseases, Epilepsy) / Treats Sleep Disorders: (Insomnia) / Alleviates Allergy: / Hair Care (Baldness) / Supports Weight Loss: | Uses of Baikal Skullcap(Traditional Uses of Baikal Skullcap, Culinary Uses of Baikal Skullcap)

Scutellaria baicalensis also known as Huang Qin or Chinese Skullcap is a flowering plant belonging to family Lamiaceae; it is considered as one of 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese medicine. This herbaceous plant is native to China and is also grown in eastern Asian countries like Korea, Japan and India and it is also found in Far East Russia, Siberia and Mongolia. Genus Scutellaria has over 350 species, which are present, worldwide; some of them, such as Scutellaria laterifolia or S. floridana are native to USA. Chinese Skullcap is the most common name of Scutellaria baicalensis.

Chinese skullcap has been used to help treat a large number of conditions and has been shown to be a useful anti-inflammatory. Thus it might be a soothing drink for those with conditions such as arthritis and bowel diseases which cause uncomfortable inflammation.

Kills Bacterial Infections:

Chinese Skullcap is another species with medicinal properties. Studies indicate that it has powerful antiviral and antibacterial effects.

One test-tube study sampled over 30 Chinese herbs and found that only Chinese Skullcap extract demonstrated 100% antibacterial activity against acinetobacter baumannii (XDRAB), a bacterium that is a leading cause of pneumonia in hospitalized patients. Furthermore, this extract showed better antibacterial effects than colistin, a common antibiotic. The same study demonstrated that Chinese Skullcap was also effective in reducing XDRAB bacterial load in the lungs of mice, compared to a control group.

Chinese Skullcap is purported to have antibacterial effects and is a component of an herbal mixture called Candbactin, a popular natural remedy used to treat intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

In test tubes, Chinese Sullcap shows strong antibacterial activity against many different types of bacteria, including Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli (which can cause UTIs and gut infections), Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella anatum and Staphylococcus aureus (possible food contaminants), Staph (which can cause skin and wound infections),  Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans, Geotrichumcandidum, The ulcer-causing H. Pylori and Rhodotorula rubra. Is also used to fight off infections, especially respiratory ones. In one cell study, skullcap was more effective in reducing the replication of the swine flu virus than a drug used to treat and prevent the flu (oseltamivir phosphate). It enhanced the antibacterial activity of antibiotics against resistant superbugs (MRSA). Extracts of S. baicalensis can also enhance the antimicrobial activity of several antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, gentamicin and penicillin G, against Staphylococcus aureus.

This herb might also kill harmful yeast. In one cell study of 56 widely-used Chinese medicinal plants, skullcap was the most effective in reducing the growth of Candida albicans. Its effectiveness was comparable to the antifungal drug nystatin (Mycostatin). However, that none of the results have been replicated in humans and, most of them, even in animals. More studies are needed to verify if Chinese skullcap is effective against the infections caused by these microorganisms.

Antiviral:

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV):

When exposed to HIV, Skullcap and its active component baicalin were active against HIV and blocked the activity of enzymes the virus needs to spread. Chinese Skullcap has very good anti-HIV-1 activity as a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. Moreover, baicalin can prevent the entry of HIV-1 into animal cells by perturbing the interaction between HIV-1 Env and HIV-1 co-receptors on the cell surface. Baicalin has been adopted as one of the popular lead natural products for preventing HIV infection. Differences in the inhibitory activities of baicalein and baicalin against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase have been evaluated by Zhao et al. They found that baicalein has four times stronger inhibitory activity on HIV-1 reverse transcriptase than baicalin. However, baicalin can be deglycosylated to form baicalein in the human body.

Aqueous extracts of S. baicalensis elicit significant inhibition (91.1 %) of HIV-1 protease activity at concentrations of 200 µg/ml. Early in 1989, Ono et al. reported baicalein could effectively inhibit reverse transcriptase activity of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); 2 μg/mL baicalein inhibiting 90 % of the activity of HIV reverse transcriptases. Baicalein is also an inhibitor of HIV-1 integrase, an essential enzyme in the life cycle of the virus, by binding to the hydrophobic region of the HIV-1 integrase catalytic core domain to induce a conformational change. These effects of baicalein and baicalin on HIV have attracted considerable attention.

Reduces Inflammation:

Both American and Chinese Skullcap contain an array of beneficial plant compounds, including antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory effects and protect your cells from damage caused by molecules called free radicals.

The anti-inflammatory properties of this herbal tea make it a popular remedy for inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as arthritis, in addition to chronic inflammation conditions. Oxidative stress, which results from an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, is linked to a number of chronic conditions, such as certain cancers and heart disease. Notably, baicalin, a flavonoid antioxidant in both American and Chinese Skullcap, has demonstrated powerful anticancer effects and may help combat oxidative stress.

In test-tube studies, baicalin induced cell death in prostate and cervical cancer cells while significantly inhibiting the growth of ovarian and pancreatic cancer cells. Scutellarein is another American skullcap compound that exhibits potent anticancer potential in test-tube studies.

Additionally, animal studies reveal that wogonin, a flavonoid compound in Chinese and American skullcap, is particularly effective in treating inflammatory allergic conditions like allergic rhinitis.

It’s worth noting that Chinese and American skullcap contain many other anti-inflammatory compounds. In fact, over 50 flavonoids have been isolated from the Chinese species alone. For good results in therapeutic action, it is necessary to take 150 to 200 mg of alkaline

Scutellaria baicalensis flavonoidsbaicalin, baicalein, and wogonin have demonstrated an anti-inflammatory effect similar to that of the drug Prednisolone.

A study published in 2016 found that baicalein inhibits the activation of nuclear factor-kappa beta transcription factors that are involved in inflammation, immunity and other processes.

Aids in Dental Care:

Gum Inflammation and Plaque:

Chinese Skullcap might kill dangerous oral bacteria. A toothpaste with skullcap extract greatly reduced gum inflammation and plaque after 21 days in a study of 40 people.

In one cell study, skullcap prevented the growth of 8 out of 11 bacteria that cause gum inflammation. A small clinical trial and a cell-based study cannot be considered sufficient evidence that Chinese Skullcap improves gum inflammation and reduces plaque buildup. Larger, more robust clinical trials are needed.

Cancer - Treatment and Prevention:

Scutellaria baicalensis has been used historically in Chinese medicine for its anticancer effects. Chinese Skullcap may contribute to fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, relieving pain, and soothing anxiety. Both compounds increase the production of antioxidants (by activating NRF2). Wogonoside (and wogonin) add to the potential cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory benefits. The antioxidant flavone components of the herb prevent the spread of cancerous cells. It also slows down tumor growth, induces apoptosis (sudden cell death), in cancerous cells and is used for natural treatment of cancer. Skullcap extract is toxic to cancer cells, such as brain tumor cells, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines.

Researchers have shown an impressive anti-cancer effect against androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines. Studies have also been performed on other forms of cancer of the stomach, pancreas, liver, and breast, in which this plant has also shown exceptional anti-cancer effects. In ancient records of Chinese traditional physicians, this preparation was used several centuries ago to treat leukemia and hepatoma cancer.

Experimental studies have shown that after treating prostate cancer cells with baicalin injections, these cells did not show any metastatic activity. This evidence suggests that in the presence of baicalein, metastasis of various cancer cell lines to other tissues can be prevented.

The primary mechanism of this reaction is lipoxygenase inhibition. Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation also increases apoptosis and provides a better opportunity for immune system cells to destroy tumor cells.

Other studies have shown that baseline as an antitumor agent selectively induces apoptosis in liver cancer hepatoma cells with minimal impact on healthy cells. The ability to induce apoptosis is under intensive investigation. Many studies provide evidence that this flavonoid has the ability to induce apoptosis of various human cell lines cancer.

The anticancer drug capecitabine was tolerated at doses of up to 1500 mg/m2 when combined with a Chinese botanical formulation containing Chinese Skullcap, Chinese licorice, jujube, and Chinese peony (PHY906) in a small trial on 24 people with advanced pancreatic, colorectal, bile duct, and esophageal cancer. The authors of the study suggested that PHY906 may increase the effectiveness of the drug by reducing its side effects such as diarrhea.

Many studies have shown that Chinese Skullcap extract is cytotoxic to a broad range of cancer cells from humans, including brain tumor cells, prostate cancer cells and HNSCC (head and neck squamous cell carcinoma) cell lines. Aqueous extracts of Chinese Skullcap roots induced apoptosis and therefore suppressed growth of lymphoma and myeloma cell lines, by changing the expression levels of Bcl genes, increasing cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 (KIP1) activity and decreasing expression of the c-myc oncogene. Similarly, Scutellaria baicalensis extracts were selectively toxic to several human lung cancer cell lines, but not to normal human lung fibroblasts. Increases in p53 and Bax protein activities may be responsible for these effects.

The flavones baicalin, wogonoside and their aglycones baicalein and wogonin are the major bioactives in Scutellaria roots and the major bioactive constituents responsible for anti-cancer effects of Huang-Qin. Baicalin inhibits growth of lymphoma and myeloma cells. Wogonoside has anticancer effects on acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines and on primary patient-derived AML cells. It increases significantly the transcription of phospholipid scramblase 1 (PLSCR1), a regulator of the cell cycle and differentiation-related genes. Baicalin, baicalein and wogonin have similar effects as S. baicalensis extracts against lung cancer cells. The anti-cancer activities of the Scutellaria-derived flavones have been mainly ascribed to their ROS scavenging ability, attenuation of NF-κB activity, cell cycle gene expression, COX-2 gene expression and prevention of viral infections.

In a high-throughput screen of over 4000 compounds to detect genotoxic compounds using a quantitative cell-based assay, Fox et al. identified 22 antioxidants, including baicalein. Treatment of dividing cells with baicalein induced DNA damage and resulted in cell death. Despite this genotoxic effect, baicalein did not induce mutations, a major problem of conventional anticancer drugs, suggesting that baicalein and related flavones are strong candidates for improved chemotherapeutic agents.

Chinese Skullcap extract increased the production of T cells, red blood cells, and white blood cells by the bone marrow in 2 studies on people with lung cancer receiving chemotherapy, suggesting an improvement of their immune status. Unfortunately, the studies haven’t been translated from Russian and we couldn’t access their specifics for a critical analysis.

A study that tested the effects of Scutellaria extract enriched with baicalin in peripheral white blood cells obtained from children with acute lymphocytic leukemia resulted in lower viability of these cells, without affecting the survival of healthy white blood cells. Scutellaria extract was found to induce apoptosis in these as well as B-type human leukemia cells. 

Similarly, Chinese Skullcap enhanced the effectiveness of chemotherapy in mice. The herb enhanced the ability of chemotherapy to prevent the spread of lung cancer and prevented the decrease in blood cells caused by chemotherapy.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. In test tubes, Chinese skullcap killed cancerous immune cells of children with ALL without harming healthy cells.

In a study involving human squamous cell carcinoma, ovarian, breast, liver, prostate, pancreas, leukemia, bladder and colon, the herb inhibited growth of all cell lines while dose-dependently inhibiting prostaglandin E2, a metabolite of arachidonic acid that is involved in inflammation. In four types of human prostate cancer cells, baicalin inhibited cancer cell proliferation, which was associated with the induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death).

In another study involving human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines, Scutellaria baicalensis inhibited growth as well as COX-2 expression. And in human brain tumor cells, Scutellaria baicalensis inhibited cell growth in recurrent and drug resistant cell lines, supporting a potential use against glioblastoma multiforme.

Investigation of Scutellaria baicalensis extract as well as its compounds skullcapflavone, wogonin, baicalein and neobaicalein in prostate cancer cells revealed comparable cell cycle modifications, growth inhibitory levels, and global gene expression profiles. In mice, it reduced the size of the skin tumors by 66% and bladder tumors by 30%. Baicalein reduced prostate cancer growth by 55% in mice.

Scutellaria baicalensis and baicalin have been shown to inhibit the overgrowth of human prostate cancer cells stimulated by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Also, baicalin has been shown to inhibit androgen activation signaling and to promote human dermal papilla cell proliferation, suggesting that these extracts could be used for treating androgen-associated disorders, such as androgenetic alopecia.

Scutellaria baicalensis may also be helpful to reduce side effects of chemotherapy. Lung cancer patients treated with chemotherapy and Scutellaria baicalensis underwent stimulation of red blood cell formation, which can be suppressed by chemotherapy. The herb was also shown to increase T-lymphocytes in chemotherapy-treated lung cancer patients.

In a study published in the Beijing Science Bulletin, it appeared as though the baicalein did not cause any mutations, which is a serious problem of many conventional anticancer drugs available today.

Another study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine investigated the effects of the extract from skullcap on fibrosarcoma (a highly metastatic cancer of the connective tissue) and showed possible anticancer characteristics. The rate at which cancer cells grew was significantly suppressed by treatment through apoptosis, and the volume and weight of tumors were greatly reduced as well. It appears as though the plant helped prevent further inhibition and migration of cancer cells, indicating its potential as a natural cancer treatment.

Although promising, the research on Chinese Skullcap’s anticancer potential has been mainly carried out in animals and cells. Further clinical trials are needed to confirm these preliminary results. Importantly, never use Chinese Skullcap (or any other supplements) to replace proven anticancer therapies prescribed by your doctor.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia:

A 2019 study on rats found Chinese Skullcap can inhibit the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by suppressing abnormal androgen and relieving inflammation. More research is needed before recommending skullcap in humans.

Inhibition of the Enzyme Alpha Reductase:

Baicalein has been shown to inhibit alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. This action is directly related to prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer. As such, baicalein is used to prevent or treat androgen-dependent disorders, including prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.

Antiprophylactic Effects:

Baicalein has also been shown to have antiprophylactic effects on human cancer. This compound has shown antiprophylactic effects in bladder, pancreatic, and T lymphoid leukemia T cells. The mechanism of action was shown by reducing activated protein tyrosine kinase and protein C kinase activity. These two enzymes are necessary for normal cell proliferation, inhibit the enzyme lipoxygenase, and induce apoptosis. Balkalein and Chinese cap also reduce cancer cells’ proliferation by directly and indirectly inhibiting the specific enzymes required for cell division and proliferation.

Enlarged Prostate:

DHT is made from testosterone by the action of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. High levels of DHT and this enzyme can lead to prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). In rats with enlarged prostates, skullcap reduced prostate growth and DHT levels. It was even more effective than finasteride (Propecia), a drug commonly used to treat BPH that blocks 5-alpha-reductase.

Prostate Cancer:

Due to the Chinese Skullcap’s mentioned properties, extensive research has been started on people who have prostate cancer.

In studies conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, the herbal combination with the Chinese Skullcap that contains baicalein was given orally to people who have metastases of prostate cancer. Completed testing proved a reversible process and stabilization of their condition with great progress, improving life quality. Positive results were shown in almost all patients.

After a treatment within 57 weeks, all patients with androgen-dependent cancer showed a reduction of 80% or more of their PSA, and even in 81% of cases, it could not be detected. In 31 of 32 patients, testosterone levels are reduced as in people castrated. Nine people with elevated phosphatase levels (a marker for cancer progression) had a 50% drop. In patients in whom cancer had spread to the bone, one person experienced the complete disappearance of the cancerous bone lesions, while the other showed improvement. One person showed the complete disappearance of the carcinogenic mass. It was confirmed through a CT scan. In 35 patients with androgen-independent prostate cancer, 54% showed a PSA decline of 50% or more, and in 25 patients with bone metastases, two showed significant progress, 7 remained stable, and 11 had advanced metastases.

Compounds found in Skullcap may help slow the growth of prostate cancer tumors, suggests a 2005 study on mice. Skullcap was a constituent of the herbal formula PC-SPES, a dietary supplement that was taken off the market because some batches were found to contain prescription medications.

Although a number of laboratory and animal studies showed that PC-SPES may thwart the growth of prostate cancer cells, it's not known if those anticancer effects were due to the action of the herbs or the prescription medications.

Supports Cardiovascular Health - Heart Health:

Chinese Skullcap herb is able to reduce the level of cholesterol in the heart and thus lower the chances of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, coronary heart diseases, and strokes that often accompany the build-up of plaque in the arteries.

A recent study aimed to investigate the cardioprotective effects of baicalein, which comes from skullcap roots, suggests that the plant may help to protect heart health. Subjects were injected with isoproterenol (ISO), which induced acute myocardial infarction. Pretreatment with baicalein greatly reversed alterations induced by the ISO with results showing higher levels of antioxidant defense enzymes.

Overall, the study revealed cardioprotective effects of baicalein, giving evidence that pretreatment could prevent, and possibly terminate, some heart disease conditions, such as myocardial infarction.

Blood Circulation:

In an experiment involving cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells, baicalein inhibited the reduction of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA, involved in the breakdown of blood clots) production induced by the enzyme trypsin. Elsewhere, Y. Kimura and colleagues concluded that baicalein “might be active as a drug in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and thrombosis".

A review of baicalein’s cardiovascular properties noted that “Baicalein is a potent free radical scavenger and xanthine oxidase inhibitor, thus improving endothelial function and conferring cardiovascular protective actions against oxidative stress-induced cell injury. The pharmacological findings have highlighted the therapeutic potentials of using plant-derived baicalein and its analogs for the treatment of arteriosclerosis and hypertension".

Liver Health:

Herbal formulas containing skullcap are often used to address liver problems.In rats exposed to mold toxins, skullcap prevented DNA damage in the liver and increased the activity of detoxification enzymes. In mice, the herb protected against liver damage from alcohol. In a cell study, skullcap caused unhealthy liver cells to commit suicide, possibly preventing liver scarring (fibrosis). Baicalin reduced fat buildup in the liver of rats eating a high-fat diet and reduced the activity of genes involved in making and storing fat.

Hepatoprotection:

Scutellaria baicalensis is the main component in the herbal remedy SST used for liver problems such as hepatitis, hepatic fibrosis and carcinoma. Yang-Gan-Wan (YGW) is another prescription containing baicalin, which has long been known for its protective effects on the liver. This herbal prescription prevents and reverses activation of hepatic stellate cells, (HSC; the major pathogenic cell type in fibrogenesis) by epigenetic derepression of PPARγ (Peroxisomal proliferator-activated receptor γ), so preventing liver fibrosis. Baicalin is a major active phytocompound in Yang-Gan-Wan (YGW) and suppresses the expression and signaling by canonical WNTs, which are involved in epigenetic repression of PPARγ.

Xiaochai Hutang or Sho-saiko-to (SST) is effective against hepatitis, and a reduction of viral load has been observed in some patients treated with SST, indicating an antiviral function of Scutellaria extracts. Scutellaria root extracts can inhibit the replication of HCV-RNA significantly.

Several studies have suggested that Scutellaria baicalensis can effectively inhibit fibrosis and lipid peroxidation in rat liver. Consumption of the roots and shoots of S. baicalensis inhibits mutagenisis caused by the aflatoxin-B1 mycotoxin in rat liver cells. The anti-fibrosis activity of Scutellaria baicalensis root extracts may be due to enhanced phosphorylation of the cAMP response element binding protein as proposed by Tan et al, although extracts of Scutellaria baicalensis roots also arrest the cell cycle, activate the caspase system and activate ERK-p53 pathways resulting in apoptosis of HSC-T6 cells to prevent hepatic fibrosis.

Detox the Body:

Skullcap acts as strong detoxifying herbs to cleanse your body. Skullcap tea helps to detoxify our body and boost our overall health. It has been associated with an increased antioxidant activity in the liver, which is one of the slowest-recovering organs, and this effect can significantly boost the efficiency of the liver. Chinese Skullcap herb extracts reduces toxin levels in the body and blood, thereby improving overall health and wellness.

Lyme Disease:

Some practitioners recommend Chinese Skullcap for Lyme disease. Scientific studies have not looked into its effect on the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, though. Chinese Skullcap is also traditionally used to clear toxins and support the liver. Early research reveals it may be active against various viruses, including those that cause hepatitis. It reduced hepatitis C levels and blocked the virus from replicating in infected mice. Wogonin, its active component, reduced replication of the hepatitis B virus in ducks and improved their liver function.

Diabetes:

Insulin and glucose regulation is essential is controlled by the use of skullcap herb.It appears that skullcap is able to increase the production of insulin by the pancreas and helps to regulate the insulin levels in the body. Additionally, it has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, which is an exacerbating factor in diabetes.

In diabetic mice, skullcap reduces oxidative stress, high blood sugar, and insulin levels, thus restoring normal insulin function. This suggests it may be especially useful for type 2 diabetes. Skullcap also reduced high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic mice. What’s more, its active compounds (baicalin, baicalein, and wogonin) prevented inflammation of the blood vessels caused by high blood sugar levels.

Bone Health:

Osteoarthritis:

In 2 clinical trials on 182 people with knee osteoarthritis, a medical food combining Chinese Skullcap and Acacia catechu extracts (Flavocoxid) reduced joint pain, stiffness, and mobility as effectively as anti-inflammatory drug naproxen. Although a 250-mg dose 2x per day was safe and well-tolerated in a trial on 59 people followed up for 12 weeks, it has been reported to cause liver injury and lung inflammation in some cases. For this reason, the FDA recalled Flavocoxid in 2018.

Neurological Health:

Brain Protection:

Brain inflammation plays a key role in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Skullcap prevented memory problems in mice with Alzheimer’s. It also reduced immune overactivation and inflammation in the brain cells caused by bacterial toxins.

In rats, skullcap reduced depression and prevented damage to the hippocampus due to chronic stress. The hippocampus is extremely important for both memory and emotional control. Additionally, baicalin in skullcap protected from brain damage due to stroke and promoted the birth of new brain cells in rats and gerbils. Skullcap also reduced seizures due to electroshock in mice.

In rat brain cortex mitochondria, baicalein and baicalin inhibited lipid peroxidation, and in human neuroblastoma cells, the flavonoids protected against hydrogen peroxide-induced injury. It was suggested that baicalein and baicalin could be used to scavenge free radicals that occur in excess in head injuries.

Brain Aging:

Human subjects who received Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu exhibited significant improvement in accuracy and speed of processing information in computer tasks, suggesting that the combination could help maintain memory, support processing speed, and reduce memory errors that occur with aging. In a rat study, baicalein has been shown to reduce the release of glutamate in nerve terminals of the brain’s hippocampus and help protect neurons against kainic acid-induced excitotoxicity.

"Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi is the most widely used medicinal plant in traditional Eastern medicine, especially in Chinese medicine”. note B. P. Gaire and colleagues in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine. Like most herbs, Scutellaria baicalensis has a variety of traditional and modern uses. Future research could see the development of Scutellaria baicalensis as a source of new prescription drugs for cancer and other needed areas.

Improves Cognitive Function:

Alzheimer’s Diseases:

In a 2008 study on mice, scientists discovered that oroxylin A (an antioxidant found in the roots of skullcap) may help protect against memory impairment induced by amyloid beta, a substance that forms the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease.

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine evaluated selected herbs for their ability to protect neuronal cells. Researchers found that Ginger and Turmeric extracts exhibited the most protective effects, followed by Skullcap, Ginkgo biloba, Chinese cinnamon and Korean rhubarb. Researchers concluded that these selective herbs may be potentially important resources to discover natural drug candidates against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Parkinson's Diseases:

Published in 2008, a study on mice found that Skullcap may help protect nerve cells from damage associated with Parkinson's disease (a chronic condition that causes tremor, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, impaired balance and coordination, and slowing of movement).

Epilepsy:

Chinese Skullcap soothes muscle spasms, muscle twitching and may aid in ailments that involve involuntary limb movement, such as muscle spams and epilepsy.

Research has found that Ayurveda techniques and treatments involving herbal medicine, including Skullcap, can help people who suffer from epilepsy and muscle spasms. In fact, a Laurentian University study done on animals showed that Skullcap may lower the risk, and even the frequency of, seizures. Specifically, skullcap Ramayana is an Ayurvedic herbal preparation that’s been reported as being used for epilepsy treatment.

In addition, healing Ayurvedic ingredients were combined using a base of honey and herbal ghee. Reports suggest that this cocktail of herbal ingredients helped to reduce tremors, muscle spasms, nerve-related symptoms and headaches, ultimately aiding in the treatment of side effects caused from epileptic patients.

An animal study out of Laurentian University in Canada showed that skullcap may reduce the risk and occurrence of seizures. Male rats were given skullcap for a period of time after being diagnosed with epilepsy and did not have seizures, while those not given the herb did. Interestingly, when the treatment was removed, seizures did occur.

Treats Sleep Disorders:

Insomnia:

While Skullcap may relieve anxiety, it also can help those who experience insomnia and other sleeping problems, such as restlessness, muscle tension and clenching the jaws.

Research analyzing the use of herbal medicine for insomnia suggests that herbs including skullcap, lemon balm and passion flower are often used to improve sleep. A Skullcap tea or tincture could be useful before bed to help you relax, ward off anxiety and give you some well-deserved and much-needed sleep.

Alleviates Allergy:

Chinese Skullcap’s active compound wogonin reduced the allergic response to mites in human skin cells. When injected into the skin of rats before exposure to an allergen, skullcap reduced the allergic response by decreasing levels of histamine and other inflammatory compounds.

Skullcap reduced the inflammatory response to allergenic proteins in mice by decreasing IgE antibodies and cytokine levels (IL-5, IL-10, and IL-13). The herb also prevented allergy-triggering proteins from being absorbed in the gut. However, a Chinese herbal remedy with Chinese skullcap, astragalus, caterpillar fungus, stemona, and fritillaria extracts had no beneficial effects in a clinical trial on 85 children with asthma.

Although the research in animals and cells is promising, the only clinical trial carried out so far found Chinese skullcap ineffective. Further clinical research is needed to shed some light on the potential use of this herb by people with allergies.

Hair Care:

Baldness:

The same drug that treats prostate enlargement, finasteride might also help reverse baldness. Male-pattern baldness is caused by a combination of factors, but high levels of DHT and 5-alpha-reductase are among the culprits. By targeting both, skullcap may naturally prevent or reduce hair loss. In test tubes, skullcap blocked the effects of DHT on cells involved in hair growth. The herb’s active compound, baicalin, applied to the skin in mice increased the growth of new hair follicles.

Although often used for this purpose, it has only been investigated in animals. Future studies in humans will need to confirm this benefit, though.

Supports Weight Loss:

Skullcap reduced weight gain in diabetic rats. In another study, long-term supplementation reduced belly fat gain in rats eating a high-fat diet. Importantly, it also reduces blood fat and inflammation while protecting the liver, all of which are crucial for healthy weight loss.

Skullcap might work by activating AMPK, an energy-sensing enzyme that increases metabolism and fat-burning. Skullcap also turns off genes that promote fat storage, overall revving energy use in the body. The reduction of triglycerides stimulated by the skullcap herb can help with rapid weight loss effectively.

Traditional Uses 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 diarrhea.
  • It has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years and recent research has found that the roots consist of flavonoids that impressively improve liver function and also have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic effects.
  • Root is anodyne, antibacterial, anti-cholesterolemic, anti-pyretic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hemostatic, laxative, nervine, mildly sedative, stomachic and tonic.
  • It reputedly calms the fetus in pregnant women.
  • Root is used internally in the treatment of enteritis, dysentery, diarrhea, jaundice, chronic hepatitis, urinary tract infections, hypertension, threatened miscarriage, nosebleed and hemorrhage from the lungs or bowel.
  • Seed is used to cleanse the bowels of blood and pus and for the treatment of prostate cancer.
  • It is one of the most widely used crude drugs for the treatment of bronchitis, hepatitis, diarrhea, and tumors.
  • It is used to clear heat and dry dampness.
  • It treats diseases associated with heat as fever, irritability, thirst, cough and expectoration of thick, yellow sputum.
  • It also treats damp diseases as diarrhea, feeling of heaviness of chest and painful urination.
  • It is used in the treatment of Hepatitis. It is useful to cure infections and inflammation of respiratory, digestive and urinary system.
  • It is used to treat chronic inflammatory conditions such as asthma, arthritis and allergy.
  • Chinese skullcap may even have anti-cancer properties and could be especially helpful for bladder and liver cancer.
  • The herb could prove useful as an herbal treatment for hepatitis.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine Baikal skullcap is used to treat common cold, irritability, , infections accompanied by fever, gout, jaundice, nosebleed, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain and redness of the eyes and face.
  • The herb is often combined with other medicinal herbs to combat high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, allergic diseases and inflammatory skin diseases.
  • People suffering from painful urinary conditions also benefits from using remedies made from the Baical skullcap.
  • Extensive use of the baikal skullcap is now also suggested to treat all kinds of allergic conditions.
  • It is useful in treating all sorts of digestive infections and problems associated with the gastrointestinal tract.
  • It is used to treat high blood pressure, problems like arteriosclerosis, disorders such as varicose veins, and to prevent easy bruising of the skin.
  • It is used for treating infections of the kidneys, pelvic inflammation, swellings and sores as well as HIV/ AIDS.

Culinary Uses of Baikal Skullcap:

  • Young leaves can be cooked as a vegetable.
  • The whole plant is dried and used as a tea substitute.
  • The leaves of this plant are used for vegetable and salad dishes.

Comments and Responses

×

Name is required!

Enter valid name

Valid email is required!

Enter valid email address

Comment is required!

* These fields are required.

Be the First to Comment