Health Benefits of Skullcap
Some of the most important health benefits of skullcap include its ability to reduce anxiety, soothe the nervous system, treat diabetes, help with weight loss, prevent certain cancers, lower inflammation, balance hormones, and aid sleep issues.
Although the name sounds quite rough and rugged, skullcap is actually the name of a flowering perennial plants 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 different names for skullcap, including mad dog skullcap and blue skullcap, but they both describe a hardy, moderately sized 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 applicable uses and powerful chemical compounds.
The range of health benefits enjoyed by frequent users of skullcap are 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. Chinese skullcap should be prepared in a very different way than American skullcap, so be sure that you are getting the right one. Dried American skullcap can be steeped in a tea and consumed for its many health benefits. The extracts of America skullcap have also proved valuable for certain health conditions. Speaking of, let’s take a closer look at some of those impressive health benefits of skullcap.
Health Benefits of Skullcap
Anxiety Relief: There are many different herbs 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. Skullcap tea is also a very popular method, as it can help to balance the hormones in your body, stimulate the release of endorphins, and generally balance 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, and skullcap happens to be rich in those antioxidant compounds.
Pain Relief: 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 also mix dried skullcap into a paste 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.
Nervous Disorders: 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 been associated with this positive benefit.
Liver Health: If you are looking for a way to detoxify you body and boost your overall health, skullcap tea may be just the thing. Skullcap has been associated with 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.
Diabetes Management: Research has directly linked the use of skullcap with more regulated insulin levels in those patients suffering from diabetes. Insulin and glucose regulation is essential, and it appears that it was able to increase the production of insulin by the pancreas and help regulate the insulin levels in the body. Furthermore, it has been linked to lowered cholesterol levels, which is an exacerbating factor in diabetes.
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 that build-up of plaque in the arteries. By lowering cholesterol levels, it can help lower blood pressure and prevent coronary heart disease.
Weight Loss: Although the research on this particular aspect of skullcap is still rather unclear, it appears that the reduction of triglycerides stimulated by skullcap can also help for rapid weight loss when combined with a proper diet. This research is ongoing, but presents an exciting new option for those looking for new ways to lose weight.
Cancer Prevention: Chinese skullcap has long been used in the East for the natural treatment of cancer, namely because this herbal remedy has been known to induce apoptosis, which is sudden cell death, in cancerous cells. This is thought to be caused by the antioxidant flavone components of the herb. This 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 of the disease.
A Final Word of Warning: American skullcap use should be regulated to appropriate doses. Side effects of taking too much skullcap include giddiness, nausea, and lightheadedness, as well as seizures in extreme cases. Always get skullcap from a trusted, certified source, and don’t combine it with other medicines, such as other medicines for diabetic treatment unless you specifically discuss the choice with your doctor.