It is a perennial herb generally reaching up to 35 centimeters tall, sometimes taller. The lightly toothed leaves are somewhat lance-shaped or triangular and up to about 3 centimeters long. The flowers are borne on pedicels that have tiny, sharp bracteoles. The purple-blue, lightly hairy flower corolla is roughly a centimeter long. The plant grows in moist and wet habitat, such as paddy fields.
As an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine it is known as Ban Zhi Lian (Chinese: 半枝莲; pinyin: bànzhīlián). It has been tested in clinical trials for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Extracts induced apoptosis in prostate cancer cells in laboratory studies. The plant is used as an herbal remedy for inflammation and traumatic injury.
Some selected chemical constituents of skullcap include:
- "Scutellaria barbata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 16 January 2018.
- Scutellaria barbata. Flora of China.
- Carr, C. Can Ancient Herbs Treat Cancer? Time October 15, 2007.
- Wong, B. Y., et al. (2009). Chinese medicinal herb Scutellaria barbata modulates apoptosis and cell survival in murine and human prostate cancer cells and tumor development in TRAMP mice. European Journal of Cancer Prevention 18(4), 331-41.
- Tomimori, T; Jin, H; Miyaichi, Y; Toyofuku, S; Namba, T (Feb 1985). "[Studies on the constituents of Scutellaria species. VI. On the flavonoid constituents of the root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi (5). Quantitative analysis of flavonoids in Scutellaria roots by high-performance liquid chromatography]". Yakugaku Zasshi. 105 (2): 148–55. PMID 4009423.
- Phillipson, Carol A. Newall ; Linda A. Anderson ; J. David (1996). Herbal medicines : a guide for health care professionals (Reprinted. ed.). London: Pharmaceutical Press. p. 296. ISBN 0853692890.
- Yaghmai and Benson, 1979
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