Baical Skullcap – the Herb of Many Powers!
Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) is used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-microbial, diurectic and anti-tumour properties, especially in liver diseases, including hepatitis and liver cancer. Research supports these traditional uses and the implications for the practical use of this herb are very exciting.
Allergy sufferers might think to use baical skullcap, which has been shown to reduce allergy-related swelling and inflammation. It has also been shown to reduce the release of histamine and leukotriene release from mast cells, hence targeting the origin of allergy and assisting with symptom control at this initial phase before symptoms progress.
Baical skullcap’s potential as an antibiotic agent is particularly exciting in our current climate of decreasing effectiveness of antibiotic medications. So far, preliminary research has found baical skullcap to be effective against a wide spectrum of organisms, including particular strains involved in pneumonia, dysentery, cholera, meningitis and even common flu. One study found baical skullcap to be effective against 10 strains of Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers, while another showed it to have anti-fungal properties against candida species.
Baical skullcap is one of the herbs of choice in TCM for illness characterised by fever, abdominal fullness, poor appetite, nausea, sensations of abdominal heaviness, thirst with no desire to drink and a red tongue with a greasy yellow coating and rapid, slippery pulse. In our Western translation, these properties leave baical skullcap as a herb indicated for jaundice and hepatitis, “hot” coughs, ulceration and myriad other conditions.
Laboratory studies have found that both baicalin and baicalein, two active constituents of baical skullcap, increase the flow of bile in rabbits, while baicalein also acts as a protective agent against liver damage. And in a study of 268 patients with both infective and chronic hepatitis, baical skullcap was found to be effective in both groups after a treatment period of one month.
As an anti-inflammatory, baical skullcap has also been shown to combine with the natural substance catechin to be as effective as the pharmaceutical drug naproxen in relieving osteoarthritis.
Across the many studies performed on cancer research, baical skullcap has displayed the ability to reduce the development, maturation and spread of cancer cells as well as to protect cells against the effects of cancer-causing agents. These effects have been tested against specific cancers, including liver, uterine, skin, kidney, breast, lung, cervical, mouth, throat, bowel, pancreas and prostate cancers as well as leukaemia.
Here at the clinic, Ross uses baical skullcap for treatment of allergy reaction, acute infections, asthma, hayfever, sinusitis and digestive upsets.
(Wellbeing – April 2013)
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