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Scutellaria lateriflora
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Scutellaria
Species: S. lateriflora
Binomial name
Scutellaria lateriflora

Scutellaria lateriflora, is a herbaceous plant also known as Blue skullcap, Hoodwort, Virginian skullcap, mad-dog skullcap [1] is a hardy perennial herb native to North America. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which also includes many other herbs. The form is upright and is usually 0.2m to 0.45m in height [2][3]. It is a wetland loving species and grows along fens and shorelines. The blue flowers appear in July to September and are 10-20mm long. Most of the flowers do not appear at the top of the main stem, but are produced along the length of side branches that grow from the nodes of the main stem. The flowers are grouped in pairs and orientate themselves to one side of the branches. The name of the species, 'lateriflora' means having 'lateral flowers' or 'flowers to the side.'


Medicinal uses

Scutellaria lateriflora is used in herbal medicine as a mild sedative and sleep promoter. Scutellaria, as a genus, has numerous medicinal uses and various species of skullcap are used in the same way. It should be noted though that the traditional uses of Virginian Skullcap should not be confused with those of other Skullcaps as there are 200 different species of Skullcap and they are not all used in the same way. Blue skullcap is often used in the same way as for Common skullcap (S. galericulata), Western skullcap (S. cordifolia), or Southern skullcap all of which are very genetically similar.[4] Blue Skullcap and Common Skullcap are mainly known for their traditional use as an incense and herbal teas.


Essential oils
Chemical Concentration (mg/g)
Other constituents
Chemical Concentration (mg/g)
tannin 28-35
wax 12

Scutellarin is transformed by hydrolysis into scutellarein.

The principle phenolics in the leaves, stems, and roots are baicalein and wogonin.[6] Another study identifies 5,6,7-trihydroxy-2'- methoxyflavone and its 7-0-glucuronide.[7] A number of the flavones found in S. lateriflora have been reported to selectively bind with high affinity to central benzodiazepine receptor sites, leading to the view that the flavones exert anxiolytic and other benzodiazepine effects in rats.[8]

Virginian skullcap contains the flavonoid glycosides baicalin, dihydrobaicalin and chrysin glucuronide. Baicalin is known to be anti-inflammatory and analgesic.[9][10] Chrysin is found naturally in various plants including wild carrot, the Pelargonium species, which are germanium-like plants; the Passiflora or passion flower species, which include tropical passion fruit; and the Pinaceae species, including pine trees. Chrysin is sold as a nutritional supplement for male body builders because of its possible action in inhibiting the conversions of androgens to estrogens.[11]

The flavonoids are found throughout the plant but are more concentrated in the leaves, and the concentrations are found to decrease slightly as the plant matures. The dried leaf is reported to contain ~50 mg/g of flavonoids. The flavonoids are readily extracted using hot water.[10]

Several neo-clerodane diterpenoids with insect anti-feedant activity have been reported from S. laterifolia.[12][13][14]

See also


  1. ^ mad dog, n. -compounds Oxford English Dictionary - mad dog because it was a supposed cure for hydrophobia
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ P. Wolfson, MD, and D.L. Hoffmann, FNIMH, Alternative therapies, mar/apr 2003, VOL. 9, NO. 2 75.
  5. ^ P.H. and Horhammer, L., Hager's Handbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, Vols. 2-6, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1969-1979.
  6. ^ Nishikawa, et al. Phenolics in tissue cultures of Scutellaria. Natural Medicines 53: 209-213,1999
  7. ^ Analysis of Scutellaria lateriflora and its adulterant Teucrium canadense by HPLC-UV and HPLC-UV/MS, Tom's of Maine, PO Box 710, Kennebunk, ME 04043,USA
  8. ^ Medina, et al. , Overview-Flavonoids: A new family of benzodiazapine receptor ligands. Neurochem Res. 199722 (4): 419.
  9. ^ Anesth Analg 2003;97:1724-1729 [1]
  10. ^ a b Comparison of the Chemical Composition of Extracts from Scutellaria lateriflora Using Accelerated Solvent Extraction and Supercritical Fluid Extraction versus Standard Hot Water or 70% Ethanol Extraction. J. Agric. Food Chem., 53 (8), 3076 -3080, 2005
  11. ^ Kellis JT Jr, Vickery LE. Inhibition of human estrogen synthetase (aromatase) by flavones. Science. 1984; 225:1032-1034.
  12. ^ M.D. Cole, J.C. Anderson, W.M. Blaney, L.E. Fellows, S.V. Ley, R.N. Sheppard and M.S.J. Simmonds, Phytochemistry, 29, 1793-1796 (1990).
  13. ^ B. Rodriguez, M.C. de la Torre, B. Rodriguez, M. Bruno, F. Piozzi, G. Savona, M.S.J. Simmonds, W.M. Blaney and A. Perales, Phytochemistry, 33, 309-315 (1993).
  14. ^ B. Rodriguez, M.C. de la Torre, B. Rodriguez and P. Gomez-Serranillos, Phytochemistry, 41, 247-253 (1996).

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Scutellarioideae
Genus: Scutellaria
Species: Scutellaria lateriflora


Scutellaria lateriflora L.


  • Species Plantarum 2:598. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]

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