Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blue Skullcap

Blue Skullcap
Scutellaria lateriflora

This is one case where the Plants Database chose the more boring common name for a plant. Most people call this Mad-Dog Skullcap, which is a far better name! The first part of the name, Mad-Dog comes from the fact that it was used long ago as a treatment for rabies, not as a cure, but to treat the symptoms. Skullcap comes from the shape of the calyx of the flowers, which persists into the winter after the petals fall off.

Blue Skullcap is found in wet areas, particularly partially shaded/open spots in woodlands, which is where I found this one. For such a cool name, the plant doesn't really stick out. The flowers are pretty enough, but small and surrounded by vegetation.

Skullcap is a medicinal herb, used by Native Americans for a variety of things, often for anxiety and nervous tension. It has a calming effect, which is why it was used for rabies. You can order Skullcap extract, pills, seeds, etc. online and is claimed to be "a powerful medicinal herb, it is used in alternative medicine as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, slightly astringent, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, sedative and strongly tonic." However, WebMD states that there isn't enough scientific evidence to support any of these claims.

That's how it usually goes.


  1. I am very thankful you did this as I live in Indiana and am wanting to learn about our herbs.

  2. Sherry,

    Glad you like it. I enjoyed your blog at