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The Willow Journal

Plant Monographs: Skullcap, Scutellaria laterifolia

Plant Monographs: Skullcap, Scutellaria laterifolia

A Plant Meditation Update:
Meet Scutellaria laterifolia AKA Skullcap

We had another fantastic plant meditation group at Dancing Willow Herbs the other night. Everyone delved deeply into plant spirit communication while sipping on our mystery plant of the week. It’s truly amazing how the doors of perception open as we allow the stillness of the moment into our being through meditation. With this we fill our mind, body and soul. There is a quality to our intuition that we easily toss aside as irrelevant, however, in this context within this group, we saw the deep relevance of the chosen plant of the evening. This has not only been a class of delving deep into the medicinal and healing properties of plants on a physical level, but the deep spiritual connection we become privy to through plant spirit medicine.

We met the wondrous plant Scutellaria laterifolia  also known as Skullcap. 

Skullcap is a 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. 

Though the name of this plant refers to the similarity it bears to a military helmet, I love the eloquence of this plant as it has overtly communicated its story through its name. If you can imagine a hat that is squeezed onto your head, too small to be comfortable, Skullcap helps to relieve headaches brought on by stress.  There are many bones in our skull that are meant to float gracefully cradling the brain. With each breath they ever so minutely expand and contract. Skullcap seems to allow this fluidity to occur between breath and bone. With a cup of warm tea or a squirt of a tincture we breath and sip the relief brought by skullcap as tensions melt away.  At Dancing Willow we combine skullcap with feverfew to create a very effective headache formula. 

Skullcap works on the nervous system, helping to rebuild damaged and frayed nerves. It stimulates the growth of the myelin sheath, the outer coating that literally insulates the nerve bundles themselves. 

There is a classic personality that responses well to this plant. Are you type A? Do you burn the candle at both ends, with an air of perfectionism that is difficult to meet? This highly driven individual is often over stimulated and easily frustrated. They can be over-heated and quite quick to react. Skullcap will quiet the mind, assist in focusing and help to bring the attention to the present. Quite frankly, it helps to sooth a sense of being overwhelmed. 

The range of its healing potential also extends to aiding folks to move through their addictions. This might include drugs, alcohol or caffeine. Skullcap's ability to quiet and cool the nervous system may allow one to stay present with the moment. Addictive behavior can often stem from wanting to escape the discomfort of the present moment and skullcap can ease this.  

As mentioned above, Skullcap strengthens the myelin sheath and for this reason it is extremely effective in the repair of damaged nerves from physical injury or diseases that effect the nervous system. Though this is and incredibly potent herb, persistence is the key to repair. A generic dose would be 2 droppers of the tincture 3 times a day. For a more specialized custom formula we are always available to help you in the shop and create a formula with a combination of herbs that best suits your needs.


For Headaches: Feverfew Skullcap
For Daily Anxiety and Angst: We recommend our perennial favorite and long-time best selling formula.....Peaceful Heart 
For a nurturing tea to take the edge off the day:  Tension Tonic Tea
For your weary muscles: Muscle Release Formula
And for a deep and restorative sleep: Sleep Deep Formula

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