Skullcap is an herbaceous perennial mint with ridged leaves and tiny flowers that can range in color from purple and blue to pink and white. The two-lobed flowers resemble the military helmets worn by early European settlers, hence the herb’s name. A hardy plant, it grows 1 to 4 feet (25 cm to 1 m) high, thriving in the woods and swamplands of eastern North America. Settlers in the late 1700’s promoted the herb’s effectiveness as a cure for rabies, giving rise to one of its common names, mad dog weed. This claim was later discarded, and herbalists began to focus on the plant’s considerable value.
Volatile oil, scutellarin, bitter glycoside, tannin, fat, bitter principles, and sugar.
Traditionally taken as a tea or tincture; can be used in capsule form. For a mild sedative, combine equal parts skullcap, hops and valerian root. This can be taken as a tea or tincture three times daily and a half hour before retiring. 15-20 drops of skullcap tincture taken every hour or two can lessen the severity of drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms.