The most important health benefits of Skullcap include its ability to prevent certain cancers, reduce anxiety, soothe the nervous system, treat diabetes, help with weight loss, lower inflammation, balance hormones, and aid in sleep issues.
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What is Skullcap?
Skullcap is actually the name of a flowering perennial plant from the mint family, Lamiaceae. With the scientific name Scutelleria lateriflora, this plant can be found in North America in primarily wet habitats. There are a few names for skullcap, including mad dog and blue skullcap, but both of them describe a hardy, moderate size plant with blue or purple flowers from the leaf bases on the main stem. While other species use the name skullcap and even have similar properties, blue skullcap is deemed best, as it has the widest range of uses and powerful chemical compounds.
The range of health benefits enjoyed by frequent users of skullcap is due to the presence of various phenolic compounds and flavones that impact the body in many different ways.
The plant has been used traditionally by Native Americans for hundreds of years and remains in traditional use in many parts of the country. The extracts of American skullcap have also proved valuable for certain health conditions.
Health Benefits of Skullcap
Let’s take a closer look at some of the impressive health benefits of this amazing herb.
Skullcap tea is a very popular method to balance the hormones in your body, as it stimulates the release of endorphins, and generally balances your mood. If you are feeling worked up for no reason, and constantly feel tense, then perhaps what you need is a simple cup of tea. Phenolic compounds can have a wide range of effect on our hormonal balance, as they happen to be rich in antioxidant compounds. There are many herbs such as saw palmetto that can provide relief from stress and anxiety; in fact, aromatherapy is hugely devoted to the use of herbs and essential oils to treat anxiety and tension.
There are certain analgesic qualities to skullcap as well, meaning that consuming it can help relieve pain throughout the body, partially through a reduction in inflammation. However, you can form a paste of the dried one and apply it directly to the areas that are experiencing pain. This can be a major boost for the healing of wounds, or if you are recovering from an injury. Also, small scrapes and bruises can be healed more rapidly by applying it topically, as the rich phenolic compounds and flavones stimulate blood flow to the skin and help prevent infection.
Soothes Nervous System
If you suffer from a nervous disorder, you may have experienced seizures or other spasmodic side effects that result from a problem in your nervous system. Skullcap tea can soothe the nervous system and prevent these episodes and has been traditionally used to reduce seizure frequency and severity in those patients. Regularly adding skullcap to drinking water once a day has also been associated with this positive benefit.
If you are looking for a way to detoxify your body and boost your overall health, skullcap tea may be just the thing. Skullcap has been associated with an increased antioxidant activity in the liver, which is one of the slowest-recovering organs, and this effect can significantly boost the efficiency of your liver. This reduces toxin levels in the body and blood, thereby improving overall health and wellness.
Research has directly linked the use of skullcap with more regulated insulin levels in patients suffering from diabetes. Insulin and glucose regulation is essential, and it appears that it is able to increase the production of insulin by the pancreas and helps regulate the insulin levels in the body. Furthermore, it has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, which is an exacerbating factor in diabetes.
Boosts Heart Health
By reducing the level of cholesterol in the heart, skullcap is able to lower the chances of atherosclerosis and the heart attacks and strokes that so often accompany the build-up of plaque in the arteries. By lowering cholesterol levels, it can help lower blood pressure and prevent coronary heart disease.
Although the research on this particular aspect of skullcap is still rather unclear, it appears that the reduction of triglycerides stimulated by it can also help for rapid weight loss when combined with a proper diet. This research is ongoing but presents an option for those looking for new ways to lose weight.
Chinese skullcap is a herbal remedy that has been known to induce apoptosis (sudden cell death), in cancerous cells and is used for natural treatment of cancer. This action is thought to be caused by the antioxidant flavone components of the herb. This herb prevents the spread of cancerous cells and slows tumor growth, thereby giving other cancer treatments a chance to take effect and win the ultimate battle against the disease.
Dried American skullcap can be steeped in a tea and consumed for its health benefits.
A Final Word of Warning
Avoid excess intake of American skullcap as it may cause giddiness, nausea, and lightheadedness, as well as seizures in extreme cases. Always get it from a trusted, certified source, and don’t combine it with other medicines, unless you specifically discuss the choice with your doctor.