4 Proven Benefits of Skullcap Tea & How to Make it

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Skullcap tea is an herbal beverage consumed around the world for a variety of natural health benefits.

What is Skullcap Tea?

Skullcap tea is a warm herbal brew made from the above-ground portions of the skullcap plant (Scutellaria laterifolia L.). Despite the rather frightening name, this herb has been in use for generations, particularly in North America, where it is native. It has a range of properties, including sedative and anti-inflammatory, which make it very good for natural healing. Some people blend this tea with other herbal teas to improve the flavor and increase the variety of effects. [1]

There are some side effects, but generally speaking, when used in moderation, this tea is considered safe and effective. Skullcap comes in two very different forms – American and Chinese – and they have different active ingredients and health effects, so be sure you know which you are using – and why.

Close-up of skullcap flower in a field

Skullcap is a flowering plant used by Native Americans to treat menstrual disorders. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Skullcap Tea Benefits

The many benefits of skullcap tea include its effects on the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Diabetes


American skullcap is known to be able to balance stress hormone levels and reduce anxiety, which is good for preventing chronic inflammation and disease. And drinking this tea will help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and stress. [2]


The anti-inflammatory properties of this herbal tea make it a popular remedy for inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as arthritis, in addition to chronic inflammation conditions. [3] [4]


This herbal tea is regularly used at night to encourage healthy and restful sleep in those suffering from sleep disorders, such as insomnia. [5]


According to a 2008 animal model study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, the Chinese skullcap improved the antidiabetic effect of metformin, a prescription drug used to treat diabetes. It also enhanced the pancreatic insulin content as well as the lipid profile. [6]

How to Make Skullcap Tea?

You can easily make skullcap tea at home, but again, be sure to use the correct proportions of either Chinese or American skullcap, as they are quite different.

Close-up of skullcap flower in a field

Calming Skullcap Tea Recipe

Used often in traditional medicine, the skullcap tea is good for those suffering from insomnia or anxiety. It can also help with inflammations, allergies, and spasms.
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Servings: 1 cup
Author: Paromita Datta


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp American skullcap or
  • 5 oz Chinese skullcap dried
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1/2 tsp honey


  • Bring a small saucepan of water to boil on the stove.
  • Add the American skullcap or the dried Chinese skullcap to the water.
  • Allow the herbs to steep for 4-5 minutes.
  • Strain out the leaves and serve hot.
  • Add lemon or honey for flavor, if desired.
    Tea is poured from a teapot into a cup

Skullcap Tea Side Effects

There are some potential side effects if you drink this tea in excess, such as: [7]

  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness or hypoglycemia

American skullcap is not only a well-known sedative but could also cause seizures in some people, particularly when consumed in large quantities. Chinese skullcap, on the other hand, has been linked to the following:

  • Dangerous drops in blood sugar
  • Stomach discomfort

American skullcap may also cause

  • Diarrhea
  • Heart arrhythmias or nervous anxiety

Speak to your doctor before using any form of skullcap or its tea.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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