Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora ) is a plant native to the US and Europe. Chemicals in skullcap might cause sleepiness.

People use skullcap for anxiety, insomnia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse skullcap with Baikal Skullcap. They aren't the same plant.
When taken by mouth: There isn't enough reliable information to know if skullcap is safe. It might cause side effects such as decline in memory or thinking skills, stomach pain, and sleepiness.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if skullcap is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Surgery: Skullcap might slow down the central nervous system. Anesthesia and other medications used during surgery also have this effect. Stop taking skullcap at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


There is interest in using skullcap for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of skullcap might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Skullcap might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Some medications, called sedatives, can also cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking skullcap with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements with sedative properties: Skullcap might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking it along with other supplements with similar effects might cause too much sleepiness and/or slowed breathing in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include hops, kava, L-tryptophan, melatonin, and valerian.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 31/07/2023 10:00:00 and last updated on 23/06/2018 01:07:36. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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