Family: Lamiaceae, or is it the Labiatae
Species used: Scutellaria baicalensis is the primary species used in China, and the one meant when Chinese skullcap is talked about (and the one this monograph will focus on). It most definitely does not mean the American skullcap, Scutellaria lateriflora — or any of the other American species.
Common names: Legion for the many different skullcaps, however for S. baicalensis: English — Chinese skullcap, Baikal skullcap, golden root (really like that one). Chinese — Huang qin. (Ban Zhi Lian is the Chinese for S. barbara).
The root and the root only — generally only from plants older than three years. There is reason to believe that the increase in pharmacological action of Chinese skullcap over the typical American species used as medicinals is due to the difference between using the root in Chinese practice and the leaf in American tradition.
Preparation and Dosage : Tincture
If making it yourself, again, use the root. After harvesting the root, cut it into easy-to-use pieces, let it dry in a cool, shaded location, then powder the root pieces, and tincture them. The ratio should be 1:5 (one-part herb, five parts liquid), with the fluid being 50 percent alcohol, 50 percent water. Take 1/4–1/2 teaspoon 3x daily. In acute conditions, double that.
Remember: If using for CNS damage or encephalitis, you want to flood the brain and CNS with the compounds over a long enough period to sharply reduce the inflammation and protect and restore the neural structures of the brain. I think the tincture is best for this purpose.
For sleep: The plant and root are high in melatonin so that they can help with sleep. If you are using it for that, take just before bedtime, ½ teaspoon of the tincture.
The herb reaches peak levels in the plasma and body organs in about 1 hour and only lasts in the body for about 4 hours, so you do need to dose about every 3–4 hours.
As A Wash
The fresh juice of the plant can be used as an eyewash for eye infections, as can the cooled infusion or decoction of the root.
Side Effects and Contraindications
Side effects from skullcaps are rare, mostly gastric discomfort and diarrhea. It should not be used during pregnancy. Type 1 diabetics should exercise strong caution with the herb as it can affect insulin and blood sugar levels.