Scullcap - Scutellaria lateriflora
Latin name: Scutellaria lateriflora
Common Name: Scullcap, Helmkraut, helmetflower, hoodwort, and mad-dog weed
Scullcap (S. laterifolia), a member of the mint family, is native to the US where it grows in moist woods. Although it is widely distributed throughout large regions of North America, there are related species found as far away as China. Scullcap is an erect perennial with bluish flower. Official compendia (eg, NF VI) recognized only the dried overground portion of the plant as useful; however, some herbal texts listed all parts as medicinal. A number of species have been used medicinally, and the most common European variety has been S. baicalensis, a native of East Asia.
Scullcap appears to have been introduced into traditional American medicine toward the end of the 1700s, when it was promoted as an effective treatment for the management of hydrophobia (hence the derivation of one of its common names). It later was used as a tonic, particularly in proprietary remedies for "female weakness." The plant had been reputed to be an herbal tranquilizer, particularly in combination with Valerian, but has fallen into disuse. Scullcap has traditionally been used to treat nervousness, irritability, and neuralgia, as well as for its sedative properties.