There are several other names of Scutellaria Baicalensis/Chinese Skullcap Baikal Scullcap, Baikal Skullcap Root, Chinese Skullcap, Escutelaria Asiatica, Huang Qin, Huangquin, Hwanggum, Ogon, Ou-gon, Racine de Scutellaire du Lac Baïkal, Radix Scutellariae, Scullcap, Scute, Scutellaire, Scutellaire Chinoise, Scutellaire du Lac Baïkal, Scutellaria, Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria macrantha, Scutellariae Radix, Skullcap, Wogon
This plant is from the family(Lamiaceae) and is native to China. It is bitter with cold energetic nature. It is widely used as medicine, mostly in combination with other food species or other drugs. The root of the plant is mainly preferred to use for prescription without rootlets. This aids in clearing toxins, clear heat, hence support the normal functioning of immune systems. The name scutella is derived from the Latin word meaning “little dish”, but researchers should be trained to distinguish between scutella and death caps, which are very poisonous mushrooms. (Zhao et al., 2016)
Scutella roots and leaves are used in medicine in china and native America; it helps treat various diseases and boosts immunity.
Scutellaria Baicalensis/Chinese Skullcap leaves are used in various treatments like its dried roots are used as traditional known medicine for china known as Huang Quin knew to treat diarrhoea, high blood pressure, insomnia, inflammation.
In Asia, This traditional medicine of China is used as a herbal remedy in Xiao Chai Hu Tang or Sho-Saiko-to (SST), which supports treating gastrointestinal issues, liver diseases, or fever, etc.
Mechanism of action:
Flavonoid baicalin proved to be the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and inhibits the gram-positive activity in in-vitro studies. The neuroprotective effects of flavonoids were ameliorated by diazepam, suggesting that it stimulates the GABA receptors agonist. In animal models, it reduces airway injury in asthma, and mitochondrial action is restored.
Wogonin causes G1 arrest states that it is an anticancerous substance; also, the baicalin and baicalein cause G2/M accumulation. Also, the Baicalin activated caspase-3, which leads to apoptosis of T cells in leukaemia patients. Low doses of Baicalin interrupt the regulation of specific genes that stops the cell proliferation and development of blood vessels. In contrast, high doses induce angiogenesis that results in the cell-death. Another compound i.e. baicalein, is inhibitory in action. (Chang et al., 2002)(Zhu et al., 2016) (Mabalirajan et al., 2013) (Scutellaria Baicalensis | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, n.d.)
Reduces anxiety and boost-up the mood:
It was observed with the American skullcap; it boosts the mood and reduces anxiety.
A study performed with 45 persons proved that receiving 1,050 mg of skullcap reduces anxiety when consumed daily for two weeks and proved to be better than placebo treatment.
Another study defined its mechanism of reducing anxiety; it stimulates the GABA gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that relaxes the nerves. This plant also worked similarly as a sedative in the treatment of insomnia. (Brock et al., 2014)(Savage et al., 2018)
Both types of skullcap have antioxidant properties; this helps reduce the effect of harmful radicals and reduces inflammation (Liguori et al., 2018).
Oxidative stress, or this imbalance between antioxidant and free radicals, are the cause of various diseases like chronic diseases such as cancer and heart diseases. The remedy for oxidative stress is Baicalin, a flavonoid in both American and Chinese skullcap; this helps overcome oxidative stress and remedy certain cancers. (Moore et al., 2016)(Shi et al., 2015)
In a study, it has been found that in prostate and breast cancer, Baicalin induces cell death, while in the case of ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer, it reduces the growth of cancerous cells. A study performed in a test tube showed that Scutellareinis, an American skullcap that reduces the cancerous properties of the cell and is a potential anticancerous compound.
Animal studies showed that flavonoid compounds, both American and Chinese skullcap, effectively treats allergic reactions like allergic rhinitis.
Many flavonoid compounds are present in Chinese skullcap, approx more than 50, they are playing a critical role of anti-inflammatory compounds. (Kim et al., 2018) (Brock et al., 2014)(Zhao et al., 2016)(Shin et al., 2014)
Antibacterial and Antiviral properties:
barbat skullcap, scientifically known as Scutellaria (S.) barbara, has a higher antiviral and antibacterial property(Batalla et al., 2013)(Tsai et al., 2018).
A test-tube study performed including 30 different samples, out of which S. barbata proved to be the best with 100% antibacterial activity against Acinetobacter baumannii (XDRAB), which is a primary causative agent of pneumonia.
Even this extract is better in antimicrobial activity when compared with collin, which is a common antibiotic. Similarly, S. barbata proved to be the cause for reducing the Acinetobacter baumannii (XDRAB) strain in the lungs of mice. Chinese skullcap is known to be the component of Candbactin, a herbal plant and this is used as a herbal remedy in case of intestinal bacterial growth and reduces it. (Tsai et al., 2018)(Chedid et al., 2014)
Other benefits include:
Insomnia: the Chinese and American compound known as Baicalin is used to treat insomnia, but the evidence lacks.
Heart health: while performing an animal study, baicalin injection proved to be the reducing agent for the cause of induces a heart attack.
Based on some studies, researchers developed that it is helpful in diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease; this proved that skullcaps have neuroprotective properties.
Oral consumption with American skullcap proved to be the anticoagulant in rodents.
Baikal skullcap is generally considered safe for the use of adults, but some may feel drowsiness. Some evidence of fever and in persons consuming Baikal skullcap, but no evidence that they are caused by this Skullcap consumption only.
A study performed with the assumption that flavocoxid (containing Baikal skullcap) consumption for 12 weeks would result in liver diseases. But it did not happen. Researchers found that the symptoms occurred only in those patients who have some of the allergic reactions to it. (Baikal Skullcap: Health Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Dose & Precautions, n.d.)
• Liver damage
• Lung inflammation caused by the bacterial or viral infection
Acute liver injury: In patients with arthritis, following consumption of a formula containing Baicalin derived from S. baicalensis or Chinese skullcap(Scutellaria Baicalensis | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, n.d.)
There is no evidence for its safe consumption in pregnancy, so it is better to avoid skullcap in pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Children: it is safe for the use of children if it is taken intravenously by healthcare professionals. Intravenous consumption by the children is kept under supervision for seven days.
It can increase the chances of bleeding disorders and increases the risk of bruising.
It can affect the blood sugar level in diabetic patients, so its consumption should be done carefully by the diabetic patients.
In lowering the blood pressure: Skullcap lowers the blood pressure, so the person suffering from low blood pressure disease should consume it with precautions or with consultations of the health professionals.
It can result in slower blood clotting that can be harmful in surgery, or it might result in extra bleeding in surgery. It is preferred to stop using skullcap before two weeks of the surgery.
Studies also revealed that skullcap is similar to estrogen, so estrogen sensitivity like Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis should not consume it.
Generally, 1 -2g in a day is preferred but can vary in doses, depending on the types of fibre Scullcap is available in tea and tincture. Tea is mixed with other materials like lemon balm; the effect of these tea supplements is more negligible because of the lower content in tea.
It is also available in the tincture form, but the doses of consumption of tincture depend on the presence of Scutella in it. (Kapalka, 2010).
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Shin, H. S., Bae, M. J., Choi, D. W., & Shon, D. H. (2014). Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) extract and its active compound, wogonin, inhibit ovalbumin-induced Th2-mediated response. Molecules, 19(2), 2536–2545. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules19022536
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Zhu, D., Wang, S., Lawless, J., He, J., & Zheng, Z. (2016). Dose-dependent dual effect of Baicalin and herb huang qin extract on angiogenesis. PLoS ONE, 11(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167125