Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) is a member of the mint family and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. It is beneficial for its antioxidant,
anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating and liver-protective actions.
Baical Skullcap Pharmacology
Other Common Names
Baikal Scullcap, Chinese Skullcap, Huang Qin & Scullcap
Main Therapeutic Compounds
Flavonoids and glycosides (baicalin, baicalein, wogonoside and wogonin), volatile oils, terpenoids and polysaccharides.
Baical Skullcap Herbal Benefits
Allergies, Hayfever & Food Intolerances
Baical Skullcap contains the compounds baicalin, baicalein and wogonin and is anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and immune-modulating. Several studies on these compounds have found an inhibitory binding effect between immune cells and antigens, which prevents histamine release from mast cells. Baical Skullcap may help manage allergic and chronic inflammatory conditions such as asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis, autoimmune disorders and chronic infections.
Interestingly, Baical Skullcap may also be useful for managing the symptoms of food allergies and intolerances. Baicalein has been shown to decrease inflammatory cytokines, inhibit COX-2 gene expression and reduce the release of histamine from IgE stimulated mast cells. This action has proved useful for reducing mild food reactions and helping prevent the systemic effects of food intolerances.
Skin Inflammation & Eczema
Baical Skullcap is widely used in Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. The constituents baicalein and wogonin have also demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects that inhibit IgE-antibody-mediated skin reactions. This mechanism is beneficial for reducing inflammation in eczema, psoriasis and acne and has also shown antimicrobial activity against various microorganisms.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of Baical Skullcap has shown promising results as a liver tonic to support healthy liver function, repair liver damage and improve natural detoxification processes.
Current research suggests Baical Skullcap may prevent alcohol-induced DNA damage in the liver, increase the activity of detoxification enzymes and possibly prevent liver scarring (fibrosis).
Baical Skullcap Typical Use
Dried Herb & Powdered Extract
2-4 grams daily in capsule, tablet or powder form.
Tincture & Liquid Extract
Typical use of Baical Skullcap tincture or liquid extract is approximately 2-8mls daily, or as directed by your practitioner.
Cautions & Safety
Not recommended during pregnancy and lactation.
If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical medications, please consult your primary healthcare practitioner prior to use.
Huang KC. The pharmacology of Chinese herbs. 2nd ed. New York, NY: CRC Press LLC. 1999;385-6, 400-1.
Chevallier A. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. New York, NY: DK Publishing, 1996.
Li BQ, Fu T, Gong WH, et al. The flavonoid baicalin exhibits anti-inflammatory activity by binding to chemokines. Immunopharmacology 2000;49:295-306.
Burnett BP, Jia Q, Zhao Y, Levy RM. A medicinal extract of Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu acts as a dual inhibitor of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase to reduce inflammation. J Med Food 2007;10:442-51.
Krakauer, T., Li, B. Q., and Young, H. A. The flavonoid baicalin inhibits superantigen-induced inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. FEBS Lett. 6-29-2001;500(1-2):52-55
Ye, F., Xui, L., Yi, J., Zhang, W., and Zhang, D. Y. Anticancer activity of Scutellaria baicalensis and its potential mechanism. J Altern Complement Med 2002;8(5):567-572.
Yoon, S. B., Lee, Y. J., Park, S. K., Kim, H. C., Bae, H., Kim, H. M., Ko, S. G., Choi, H. Y., Oh, M. S., and Park, W. Anti-inflammatory effects of Scutellaria baicalensis water extract on LPS-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages. J Ethnopharmacol. 9-7-2009;125(2):286-290.
Kim, D. S., Son, E. J., Kim, M., Heo, Y. M., Nam, J. B., Ro, J. Y., and Woo, S. S. Antiallergic herbal composition from Scutellaria baicalensis and Phyllostachys edulis. Planta Med 2010;76(7):678-682
Kim, E. H., Shim, B., Kang, S., Jeong, G., Lee, J. S., Yu, Y. B., and Chun, M. Anti-inflammatory effects of Scutellaria baicalensis extract via suppression of immune modulators and MAP kinase signaling molecules. J Ethnopharmacol. 11-12-2009;126(2):320-331.