Skullcap supplements have been used medicinally for hundreds of years but did you know that not all supplements available are made from the same herb?
There are two different types of skullcap, American skullcap and Chinese skullcap and, despite the fact they are both used medicinally and with similar potential health benefits, they are made from two different plants.
The Chinese skullcap, scutellaria barbata, is a plant commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine containing the antioxidant flavonoid. Chinese skullcap is often used in herbal sleeping remedies, may work as a nervous restorative, and can be used to alleviate anxiety, migraines, and depression.
A member of the mint family, Chinese skullcap grows in China and Russia and the root of this plant has been the focus of most scientific studies on skullcap. Definitely the most popular version of skullcap, it is typically used in herbal combinations in traditional Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory skin conditions, allergies, high cholesterol and triglycerides.
On the other hand, American skullcap, scutellaria lateriflora, grows in eastern North America and is most commonly used in United States and European herbal products containing skullcap. Most supplements can help with issues such as anxiety, insomnia, and pain. American skullcap was used historically by North American tribes for its soothing properties. It has been commonly combined with valerian for insomnia and it is also used by herbalists as a remedy for epilepsy and nerve pain.
Both forms of skullcap have a relaxing and sleep promoting action which can help to quiet nervousness and treat insomnia. It continues to be used as a mild neural sedative which has the ability to relieve headaches and other related pain. Studies have shown that skullcap can tranquilize a restless and excited nervous system. In addition, nervous twitching and muscle spasms may also be calmed by skullcap supplementation.
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