Mad for Scullcap

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I’ve been under quite a bit of stress lately because of my mother. It’s getting worse – she had a car accident last week, her fault. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries to any people but she totaled both her car and one other.

So, I’ve been doing everything I can think of to keep myself calm so the stress doesn’t take any toll on my body. Meditation is paramount.  I’ve also been drinking an infusion of Scullcap a couple of times a day.

Scullcap Scutellaria lateriflora is a great sedative. It doesn’t have the knockout punch of  Hops or Valerian so I can drink it during the day and still be able to function. It’s actually one of the safer herbs to use – there are no contraindications except that if you’re on any sort of sedative medication, it could potentiate (increase) the effects of that medication. Because of its sedative effects, it’s great for a variety of issues, stress being one of the primaries. It has also been used to lower blood pressure, to get rid of headaches (including migraines) and to calm people going through drug withdrawal. My notes say its good for hiccoughs, too, although I’ve never tried it for that. Makes sense: it will calm muscle spasms and since that’s what a hiccough is …

Scullcap (or you can spell it Skullcap) is a member of the Mint family, so it has the characteristic square stem. Like any other Mint, it will grow and spread profusely if you don’t keep it in check. My plants are huge – several are shrub-sized. You can use the entire aerial (above-ground) part of the plant, but I usually just strip off and dry the leaves for ease of storage.  Although it’s a member of the Mint family, it doesn’t have that minty taste so I flavor my infusion with a few fresh leaves of Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, which just happens to be another nervine (calming agent).

One thing I found rather interesting … around here it’s known as Mad Dog Skullcap. That’s because a strong infusion is a folk remedy for rabies. Although I’ll usually put a folk remedy to the test, this I’m not sure I’d want to try (or have a reason to in the first place)!

Extrapolating from its sedative/calming properties, Scullcap is a useful addition to spells for promoting peace & harmony. It can also be used to ensure fidelity or to attract love. I’ve got some in a dream pillow that will be in place until the situation around here improves.

So far all my efforts are working – I haven’t kicked any cats or broken any china.