SKULLCAP, Milky Oat Tops and Hops Tincture

These herbs make a lovely trio for life in modern times. This tincture is the first thing I reach for when someone is experiencing trauma, grief, stress, or insomnia. Each alone is a mild nervine or sedative. My daughter and I have both found this combination very useful for her first year in public high school. It can be taken frequently over an extended period of time without dependency or adverse side effects. A small dose goes a long way in providing support. Even so, I recommend the occasional break from any herbal formula that is used regularly.

I am a folk herbalist so I usually gather equal parts of several fresh herbs from. my garden. Once in a jar, I top it off with Everclear/high proof vodka and let it sit for at least six weeks before straining.

Scutellaria is a 1-3 ft high perennial that prefers shady, damp places. It has fibrous yellow roots. The stems are erect , branching , slender , and square The leaves are opposite, ovate/lance shaped, toothed/serrated, 1-3 inches long, and vibrant green. These grow on short stalks. Flowers occur in pairs. They are small, two lipped, pale, blue/purple, have united sepals and petals (tube shaped).The corolla is hooded and the calyx cup shaped. These bloom just above the leaf axils on one sided racemes. The small seed pods have a “cap” shaped lid. I have found it easy to grow here in sunny, dry, Colorado. Once established it will take off like any plant in the mint family.

Historically this plant has been used for a weak heart/cardiac irritability, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tension, muscle spasms, hysteria, PMS, menstrual cramps, depression, nervousness/anxiety, excitability, restlessness legs, Parkinson’s ,worry/fear/phobias/panic attacks, nerve palsy/paralysis, epilepsy/seizures, neuralgia, tinnitus, addiction/drug withdrawal, insomnia, aching eyeballs, nightmares, exhaustion, migraines, pain, rheumatism,, fever, insect/animal bites, parasite infection, and “spirit agitation”. This herb is very helpful for individuals who easily get overstimulated and are highly sensitive to their external environment. Skullcap strengthens, supports, and tones the nervous system, musculoskeletal system and brain. It is useful when there is digestive or stomach issues related to stress, drug withdrawal, or grief (nausea, colic, diarrhea).

Its volatile oils deteriorate rapidly when exposed to heat and light. Skullcap is best tinctured or stored in a cool, dark, and tightly sealed container. Make sure your skullcap comes from a reputable source as this herb is often replaced by others during harvesting or sale.

Latin Name: Scutellaria laterfolia/galericulata

Botanical Family: Mint/Lamiaceae/Labiatae

Parts Used: flowering tops and leaves

Energetics: cool, dry, bitter astringent

Spiritual/Emotional Uses: Skullcap supports receptivity, reflection, openness, compassion, understanding, stability, hope and intuition. A good choice when needing or requesting guidance during meditation and other practices. This plant calms the heart and mind so that our inner truths and wisdom can come forth. It regulates the energetic body when there are lots of sudden life changes or an increase in flow. It relaxes and strengthens the entire nervous system, channels, and chakras. It allows the individual to focus and ground when there is disassociation or scattering/soul loss after a traumatic event or death. Skullcap is useful when one feels impotent, paralyzed, hopeless, numb, or fearful that a situation will never get better. It replaces “shock/freezing” with joy, connection, safety and the desire to nurture self and others. Practitioners might consider it for clients who have become socially isolated due to self judgement, prejudices, outrage, aggression, resignation, cynicism, , self neglect, oversensitivity and low self esteem.

Element: water

Contraindications: Avoid large doses which may cause dizziness, confusion, or erratic pulse rate. Do not use during pregnancy.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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