From The Lycaeum
Jump to: navigation, search
File:Scutellaria pekinensis Yamatatsunamisou in Ibukiyama 2002-6-9.jpg
Scutellaria pekinensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Scutellarioideae
Genus: Scutellaria
Synonyms [1]
  • Anaspis Rech.f.
  • Cruzia Phil.
  • Harlanlewisia Epling
  • Perilomia Kunth
  • Salazaria Torr.
  • Theresa Clos

Scutellaria is a genus of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. They are known commonly as skullcaps.[2] The generic name is derived from the Latin scutella, meaning "a small dish, tray or platter",[3] or "little dish",[4] referring to the shape of the calyx.[4] The common name alludes to the resemblance of the same structure to "miniature medieval helmets".[4] The genus has a subcosmopolitan distribution,[5] with species occurring nearly worldwide, mainly in temperate regions.[6]


Most are annual or perennial herbaceous plants from 5 to 100 cm (2 to 39 in) tall, but a few are subshrubs; some are aquatic. They have four-angled stems and opposite leaves. The flowers have upper and lower lips. The genus is most easily recognized by the typical shield on the calyx that has also prompted its common name.

Traditional use

Skullcaps are common herbal remedies in systems of traditional medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine they are utilized to "clear away the heat-evil and expel superficial evils".[7] Scutellaria baicalensis in particular is a common component of many preparations.[8] Its root, known as Radix Scutellariae, is the source of the Chinese medicine Huang Qin. It has been in use for over 2000 years as a remedy for such conditions as hepatitis, diarrhea, and inflammation. It is still in demand today, and marketed in volumes that have led to the overexploitation of the wild plant. Its rarity has led to an increase in price, and encouraged the adulteration of the product with other species of Scutellaria.[9]

In North America, Scutellaria lateriflora was used in Native American medicine to treat gynaecological conditions. It became a common treatment in America for rabies.[10] Today it is still a popular medicinal herb.[11] It is widely available as a commercial product used in western herbalism to treat anxiety and muscle tension.[12] The plant reportedly demands prices of $16 to $64 per pound dry weight.[13]

Chemical constituents

The main compounds responsible for the biological activity of skullcap are flavonoids.[9] Baicalein, one of the important Scutellaria flavonoids, was shown to have cardiovascular effects in in vitro.[14] Research also shows that Scutellaria root modulates inflammatory activity in viro to inhibit nitric oxide (NO), cytokine, chemokine and growth factor production in macrophages.[15] Isolated chemical compounds including wogonin, wogonoside, and 3,5,7,2',6'-pentahydroxyl flavanone found in Scutellaria have been shown to inhibit histamine and leukotriene release.[16]


Estimates of the number of species in the genus range from around 300[4][6] to about 350[17][7] or 360[18] to 425.[5][19]

Species include:[2][20][21][22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Genus: Scutellaria L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Scutellaria". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  3. Scutellaria parvula var. missouriensis. Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Joshee, N., et al. 2002. Skullcap: Potential medicinal crop. p. 580–586. In: Janick, J. and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in New Crops and New Uses. Alexandria, Virginia: ASHS Press.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ulloa, C. U. and P. M. Jørgensen. Scutellaria. Árboles y arbustos de los Andes del Ecuador. eFloras.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Scutellaria. The Jepson eFlora 2013.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Shang, X., et al. (2010). The genus Scutellaria an ethnopharmacological and phytochemical review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 128(2), 279-313.
  8. Cole, I. B., et al. (2008). Comparisons of Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria lateriflora and Scutellaria racemosa: genome size, antioxidant potential and phytochemistry. Planta Medica 74(4), 474-81.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Guo, X., et al. (2011). DNA barcodes for discriminating the medicinal plant Scutellaria baicalensis (Lamiaceae) and its adulterants. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 34(8), 1198-1203.
  10. Scutellaria lateriflora. Southern Cross Plant Science. Southern Cross University.
  11. Li, J., et al. (2012). Identification of phenolic compounds from Scutellaria lateriflora by liquid chromatography with ultraviolet photodiode array and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 63, 120-27.
  12. Gao, J., et al. (2008). Validation of a HPLC method for flavonoid biomarkers in skullcap (Scutellaria) and its use to illustrate wide variability in the quality of commercial tinctures. Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences 11(1), 77-87.
  13. Janke, R. A Grower's Guide: Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora). MF-2628. Cooperative Extension, Kansas State University. 2004.
  14. Huang, Y., et al. (2005). Biological properties of baicalein in cardiovascular system. Current Drug Targets -Cardiovascular & Hematological Disorders 5(2) 177–84. PMID 15853750
  15. Kim, E. H., et al. (2009). Anti-inflammatory effects of Scutellaria baicalensis extract via suppression of immune modulators and MAP kinase signaling molecules. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 126(2), 320-31. PMID 19699788
  16. Lim, B. O. (2003). Effects of wogonin, wogonoside, and 3, 5, 7, 2', 6'-pentahydroxyflavone on chemical mediator production in peritoneal exduate cells and immunoglobulin E of rat mesenteric lymph node lymphocytes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 84(1), 23-29. PMID 12499072
  17. Scutellaria. Flora of China.
  18. Pool, A. (2006). New species of Scutellaria (Lamiaceae) from Mesoamerica. Novon 16(3), 388-403.
  19. Hsu, T. W., et al. (2009). Isolation and characterization of 16 microsatellite markers from a rare and endemic species, Scutellaria austrotaiwanensis (Lamiaceae). Conservation Genetics Resources 1(1), 85-88.
  20. Scutellaria, list of taxa. Flora of China.
  21. "GRIN Species Records of Scutellaria". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  22. Scutellaria, list of taxa. Flora of Pakistan.
  23. Çiçek, M. and O. Ketenoğlu. (2011). Scutellaria anatolica (Lamiaceae), a new species from Turkey. Ann. Bot. Fennici 48, 276-79.
  24. Turner, B. L. (2011). A new species of Scutellaria (Lamiaceae) from Oaxaca, Mexico. Phytologia 93(2), 241-44.

External links

Personal tools

Lycaeum IRC Chat
TheAntiDrug Diaspora
Starting Points