Skullcap is one of the best herbal remedies for insomnia and a powerful calming herb for anxiety. When used as a part of an herbal smoking blend it helps to relieve stress and tension, promote sleep and soothe the mind and body. Its calming qualities come from its rich combination of beneficial compounds including baicalin and wogonin, as well as its high levels of antioxidants, which help to protect against oxidative stress.
Native to North America, skullcap was used by Native American tribes for a variety of ailments including anxiety and insomnia. It was also used for treating women’s reproductive health, relieving menstrual pain and reducing fever. The Cherokee even smoked skullcap in ceremonies to mark the transition of girls into womanhood. Herbalists in the 1700s also recognized skullcap’s nervous system balancing effects and prescribed it for convulsions, hysteria and other mental disorders. Known by many names, including hoodwort, scullcap, helmet flower and quaker bonnet, skullcap is still being grown as a medicinal herb today.
Recent studies have shown that baicalein, a compound found in skullcap roots, may help to improve heart health. In a study of rats, baicalein pretreatment reduced the occurrence of atherosclerosis and ventricular fibrillation induced by isoproterenol. It has also been shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, which can be helpful in preventing and treating stroke.