Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) Overview

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) other names: 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.

Baikal skullcap (botanical name Scutellaria baicalensis) is basically an herb-like plant that grows perennially up to a height of about 0.3 meter to 1.2 meters. The leaves of baikal skullcap are shaped like lances, while its flowers have a purplish-blue hue. Chinese herbalists use the dried out roots of baikal skullcap to prepare a medicine. Baikal skullcap is related to a species found in North America and known as skullcap (botanical name Scutellaria laterifolia).

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) flower

Baikal skullcap is a traditional herbal remedy used extensively in the Chinese system of medicine. The traditional and ancient use of this herb was confirmed when in 1973 excavations led to the discovery of 92 wooden tablets in a 2nd-century AD tomb in a region of northwestern China. The baikal skullcap was among the herbs listed in the various prescriptions for the preparation of decoctions, tinctures, pills, and ointments in these ancient wooden tablets. Chinese medicine gives a central place to the baikal skullcap, and traditionally the Chinese herbal medicine has made extensive use of the herb. Baikal skullcap was considered one of the main remedies to treat "hot and damp" conditions, including disorders such as dysentery and diarrhea - and baikal skullcap is used in this role to this day.

Countries such as mainland China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and the Russian federation are areas in which the baikal skullcap grows native. The habitat that the baikal skullcap herb prefers, include the sunny grassy slopes and baikal skullcap also grows well in open areas which have elevations between 350 ft-100 m and 8,000 ft-2,000 m above sea level. The propagation of the baikal skullcap is through the seeds which are sown during the autumn and harvesting of the roots of three to four year plants carried out during the autumn or in the spring time.

Baikal skullcap, a really ornamental plant, grows well when planted in a sunlit place in any simple garden soil which does not parch during the plant’s growing season. Baikal skullcap also has a preference for light, properly drained soil and total sunlight or semi-shade positions. This species thrives on soil having a perfect drainage and when the plants have established themselves, they are able to endure droughts. Baikal skullcap can also tolerate temperatures as low as -15°C.

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) Health Benefits

Baikal skullcap is used to treat respiratory infections, hay fever, and fever. Baikal skullcap is also used for gastrointestinal infections (GI), as well as liver problems including viral hepatitis and jaundice.

Some people use Baikal skullcap for HIV/AIDS, kidney infections, pelvic inflammation, and sores or swelling. Baikal skullcap is also used for scarlet fever, headache, irritability, red eyes, flushed face, seizures, epilepsy, hysteria, nervous tension, and to relieve a bitter taste in the mouth.

Baikal skullcap according to the traditional Chinese medical texts possesses "cold" and "bitter" qualities. And for this reason, the remedies of the baikal skullcap are usually suggested in the medical system of China for use in the treatment of hot and thirsty conditions-including the treatment of various high fevers, all kinds of persistent coughs which come with the production of thick and yellow phlegm, and in the treatment of all manners of gastrointestinal infections which give rise to diarrhea, and in the treatment of dysentery and other related conditions. Individuals suffering from painful urinary conditions also benefit from using remedies made from the baikal skullcap.

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) plant

Extensive use of the baikal skullcap is now also suggested to treat all kinds of allergic conditions, with the evidence from recent research. Thus this remedy is suggested for use in the treatment of conditions like asthma, conditions such as hay fever, skin disorders such as eczema, and in the treatment of nettle rash. The remedy is thus mainly used for the treatment of topical disorders of the skin, even if the anti-inflammatory properties will no doubt be much more effective and useful in treating all sorts of digestive infections and problems associated with the gastrointestinal tract.

Circulation and disorders of the circulatory system also benefit from remedies based on the baikal skullcap; indeed baikal skullcap is a very valuable remedy for all problems related to the circulation of blood. Baikal skullcap is used in herbal combination formulas with other herbs, and such remedies are used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, problems like arteriosclerosis, disorders such as varicose veins, and to prevent easy bruising of the skin.

Baikal skullcap is also sometimes applied to the skin for psoriasis.

Baikal skullcap herbal remedies are also used as applications on the skin, and remedies based on the baikal skullcap are used to treats all kinds of sores, to treat swelling, and in the treatment of boils and other topical disorders. Herbal remedies made from the baikal skullcap are also considered effective and extremely useful in the treatment of circulatory problems which can arise from metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

For more than 2,000 years now, people have been using baikal skullcap for therapeutic purposes and latest studies have discovered that the roots of baikal skullcap enclose flavonoids, which not only augment the functioning of the liver, but also possess anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory actions. The root of baikal skullcap possesses anti-bacterial, anti-pyretic, anodyne, anti-spasmodic, anti-cholesterolemic, astringent, diuretic, febrifuge, cholagogue, expectorant, nervine, purgative, haemostatic, stomachic, gently tranquilizing and also tonic properties. The tonic properties of the root are especially beneficial for people suffering from tuberculosis (TB).

The root has a reputation of calming the fetus in pregnant women. In addition, the remedial preparations using this root are ingested to treat dysentery, enteritis, diarrhea, chronic hepatitis, jaundice, hypertension (high blood pressure), infections of the urinary tract, nosebleed, threatened miscarriage and also to stop bleeding from the bowel or the lungs. In fact, the root of baikal skullcap is a constituent of the Chinese drug called ‘injection of 3 yellow herbs’.

The roots of baikal skullcap are usually harvested during autumn or in spring from plants that have been in existence for three to four years. After the harvesting, the roots are dried up in the sun and stored for use in future. The seeds of baikal skullcap are employed to cleanse bowels containing blood and pus.

Baikal skullcap has the aptitude to lessen liver inflammation, stimulate the destruction of cells of liver cancer and also put off the damage caused to the immune system due to chemotherapy.

In addition, there are several people who use baikal skullcap for treating infections of the kidneys, pelvic inflammation, swellings and sores as well as HIV/ AIDS. Baikal skullcap is also employed to treat conditions like headache, tetchiness, flushed face, red eyes, scarlet fever, hysteria, seizures, and nervous tension as well as to alleviate any bitter taste in one’s mouth.

Baicalin is the active element in baikal skullcap and it is used in conjunction with shung hua (also known as ephedra) for treating infections of the upper respiratory tract. Baikal skullcap is used together with other herbs to cure prostate cancer, arthritis, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), a problem related to the lungs and known as bronchiolitis, and hemorrhoids.

Applied to the skin, baikal skullcap treats sores, swelling, and boils. Baikal skullcap appears to be useful for circulatory problems that arise from diabetes

The tender leaves of baikal skullcap are cooked in the form of a vegetable. In addition, the entire baikal skullcap is often dried up and later used as a substitute for tea.

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) Side effects

Baikal skullcap is possibly safe for most adults when taken by mouth. Baikal skullcap might cause drowsiness. There have been reports of fever and lung inflammation in people who took Baikal skullcap. But there is not enough information to know if Baikal skullcap is the cause of these side effects.

A specific combination product called flavocoxid (Limbrel, Primus Pharmaceuticals) that contains Baikal skullcap was safely used in research studies lasting up to 12 weeks. However, there are concerns that this combination product might cause liver problems in some people. This side effect does not appear to be common and might only occur in people who have a type of allergic reaction to it.

Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) image

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Baikal skullcap if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Baikal skullcap is possibly safe in children when given intravenously (by IV) by a healthcare provider, short-term. An intravenous preparation that includes Baikal skullcap, forsythia, and honeysuckle has been used under medical supervision with apparent safety in children for up to 7 days. Not enough is known about the safety of Baikal skullcap in children when used long-term.

Bleeding disorders : Baikal skullcap might slow blood clotting. In theory, Baikal skullcap might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Diabetes: Baikal skullcap can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use Baikal skullcap.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Baikal skullcap might have the same effects as the female hormone estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use Baikal.

Low blood pressure: Baikal skullcap might lower blood pressure. In theory, Baikal skullcap might lower blood pressure too much in people prone to low blood pressure.

Surgery: Baikal skullcap might slow blood clotting. There is concern that baikal skullcap might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using Baikal skullcap at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.