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Chinese Scullcap

Common name: Asian scullcap, Baikal scullcap, golden root

Botanical name: Scutellaria baicalensis

Photo

© Martin Wall

Parts used and where grown

Scutellaria baicalensis, a mint family member, is grown in China and Russia. The root of this plant is used in traditional Chinese herbal medicines and has been the focus of most scientific studies on scullcap. American scullcap and Chinese scullcap are not interchangeable.

Chinese scullcap has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

Science Ratings Health Concerns
2Stars

Epilepsy (in combination with bupleurum, peony root, pinellia root, cassia bark, ginger root, jujube fruit, Asian ginseng root, and licorice root)

1Star

Bronchitis

Hepatitis

HIV support (in combination with bupleurum, peony root, pinellia root, cassia bark, ginger root, jujube fruit, Asian ginseng root, Asian scullcap root, and licorice root)

3Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.

Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies)

Chinese scullcap is typically used in herbal combinations in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat inflammatory skin conditions, allergies, high cholesterol and triglycerides.1

Active constituents

The root of Chinese scullcap contains the flavonoid baicalin that has been shown in test tube studies to have protective actions on the liver. Anti-allergy actions and the inhibition of bacteria and viruses in test tube studies have also been documented with Chinese scullcap.2 Some preliminary Chinese human trials, generally of low quality, suggest that Chinese scullcap may help people with acute lung, intestinal, and liver infections, as well as hay fever.3 More extensive clinical research is needed to clearly demonstrate Chinese scullcap’s effectiveness for these conditions.

How much is usually taken?

In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese scullcap is typically recommended as a tea made from 3–9 grams of the dried root.4 Fluid extract, 1–4 ml three times per day, is also used.5

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Use of Chinese scullcap in the amounts listed above appears to be safe. The safety of Chinese scullcap during pregnancy and breast-feeding is unknown and should be avoided during these times.

Are there any drug interactions?
Certain medicines may interact with Chinese scullcap. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.

References:

1. Bone K, Morgan M. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs: Monographs for the Western Herbal Practitioner. Warwick, Australia: 1996, 75–9.

2. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 239–40.

3. Bone K, Morgan M. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs: Monographs for the Western Herbal Practitioner. Warwick, Australia: 1996, 75–9.

4. Foster S. Herbs for Your Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 86–7.

5. Bone K, Morgan M. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs: Monographs for the Western Herbal Practitioner. Warwick, Australia: 1996, 75–9.

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