It has an upright habit, growing 60 to 80 centimeters in maximum height. It is a wetland-loving species and grows near marshes, meadows, and other wet habitat. The blue flowers are just under a centimeter 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 leaf axils.
Scutellaria lateriflora is used in herbal medicine as a mild sedative and sleep promoter. Other skullcaps used for similar purposes include common skullcap (S. galericulata), western skullcap (S. canescens), and southern skullcap (S. cordifolia). In a small-scale double blind, placebo-controlled study, blue skullcap had anxiety-reducing effects in 19 volunteers.
β-Elemene in the herb had potential anti-cancer properties in vitro, but studies in humans have not confirmed its effectiveness. Diterpenes isolated from S. barbata had cytotoxic activity against three human cancer cell lines in vitro.
Scutellarin is transformed by hydrolysis into scutellarein.
The principal phenolics in the leaves, stems, and roots of some Scutellaria species are baicalin, baicalein and wogonin. Baicalin is known to be anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Another study identifies 5,6,7-trihydroxy-2'- methoxyflavone and its 7-O-glucuronide. 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.
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 about 50 milligrams of flavonoid per gram. The flavonoids are readily extracted using hot water.
- Scutellaria lateriflora. NatureServe. 2012.
- mad dog, n. -compounds Oxford English Dictionary - mad dog because it was a supposed cure for hydrophobia,
- Jepson Manual Treatment
- Washington Burke Museum
- Wolfson, P. and D. L. Hoffmann. (2002). An investigation into the efficacy of Scutellaria lateriflora in healthy volunteers. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 9(2), 74-78.
- Li, Q. Q., et al. (2010). Antineoplastic effect of β-elemene on prostate cancer cells and other types of solid tumour cells. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 62(8), 1018-27.
- Peng, X., et al. (2006). Assessing the quality of RCTs on the effect of β-elemene, one ingredient of a Chinese herb, against malignant tumors. Contemporary Clinical Trials 27(1), 70-82.
- Qu, G. W., et al. (2010). Two new cytotoxic ent-clerodane diterpenoids from Scutellaria barbata. Journal of Asian Natural Products Research 12(10), 859-64.
- P.H. and Horhammer, L., Hager's Handbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, Vols. 2-6, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1969-1979.
- Nishikawa, K., et al. (1999). Phenolics in tissue cultures of Scutellaria. Natural Medicines 53(4), 209-13.
- Anesth Analg 2003;97:1724-1729
- 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
- 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.
- Medina, J. H., et al. (1997). Overview – Flavonoids: A new family of benzodiazepine receptor ligands. Neurochemical Research 22(4), 419-25.
- Connecticut Botanical Society: Scutellaria lateriflora
- Plants For A Future: Scutellaria lateriflora
- USDA Plants Profile: Scutellaria lateriflora
- Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases