Scutellaria is a genus of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. They are known commonly as skullcaps. The generic name is derived from the Latin scutella, meaning "a small dish, tray or platter", or "little dish", referring to the shape of the calyx. The common name alludes to the resemblance of the same structure to "miniature medieval helmets". The genus has a subcosmopolitan distribution, with species occurring nearly worldwide, mainly in temperate regions.
- Description 1
- Traditional use 2
- Constituents and pharmacology 3
- Diversity 4
- See also 5
- References 6
- External links 7
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.
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". Scutellaria baicalensis in particular is a common component of many preparations. 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.
In North America, Scutellaria lateriflora was used in Native American medicine to treat gynaecological conditions. It became a common treatment in America for rabies. Today it is still a popular medicinal herb. It is widely available as a commercial product used in western herbalism to treat anxiety and muscle tension. The plant reportedly demands prices of $16 to $64 per pound dry weight.
Constituents and pharmacology
The main compounds responsible for the biological activity of skullcap are flavonoids. Baicalein, one of the important Scutellaria flavonoids, was shown to have cardiovascular effects in in vitro. Research also shows that Scutellaria root modulates inflammatory activity in viro to inhibit nitric oxide (NO), cytokine, chemokine and growth factor production in macrophages. 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. Other active constituents include baicalin, apigenin, oroxylin A, scutellarein, and skullcapflavone.
Some Scutellaria species, including S. baicalensis and S. lateriflora, have demonstrated anxiolytic activity in both animals and humans. A variety of flavonoids in Scutellaria species have been found to bind to the benzodiazepine site and/or a non-benzodiazepine site of the GABAA receptor, including baicalin, baicalein, wogonin, apigenin, oroxylin A, scutellarein, and skullcapflavone II. Baicalin and baicalein, wogonin, and apigenin have been confirmed to act as positive allosteric modulators and produce anxiolytic effects in animals, whereas oroxylin A acts as a negative allosteric modulator (and also, notably, as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor). As such, these compounds and actions, save oroxylin A, are likely to underlie the anxiolytic effects of Scutellaria species.
Estimates of the number of species in the genus range from around 300 to about 350 or 360 to 425.
- Scutellaria alabamensis – Alabama skullcap
- Scutellaria albida
- Scutellaria alborosea Lem.
- Scutellaria alpina L. – alpine skullcap
- Scutellaria altamaha – pineland skullcap
- Scutellaria altissima L. – Somerset skullcap, tall skullcap
- Scutellaria amoena
- Scutellaria anatolica
- Scutellaria angustifolia – narrowleaf skullcap
- Benth. – nose skullcap
- Scutellaria arenicola – Florida scrub skullcap
- Scutellaria arguta – Blue Ridge skullcap
- Scutellaria atriplicifolia
- Scutellaria aurata
- Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi – Baikal skullcap, Chinese skullcap
- Scutellaria barbata D.Don – barbed skullcap
- Scutellaria bolanderi A.Gray – Sierra skullcap
- Scutellaria brittonii – Britton's skullcap
- Scutellaria bushii – Bush's skullcap
- Scutellaria caerulea – blue skullcap
- Scutellaria californica A.Gray – California skullcap
- Scutellaria cardiophylla – gulf skullcap
- Scutellaria columnae
- Scutellaria costaricana H.Wendl. – scarlet skullcap, Costa Rican skullcap
- Scutellaria drummondii
- Scutellaria elliptica Muhl. – hairy skullcap
- Scutellaria floridana Chapm. – Florida skullcap
- Scutellaria formosana
- Scutellaria galericulata L. – common skullcap, marsh skullcap
- Scutellaria glabriuscula – Georgia skullcap
- Scutellaria hastifolia – spear-leaved skullcap
- Scutellaria havanensis – Havana skullcap
- Scutellaria hirta
- Scutellaria hookeri
- Scutellaria incana Biehler – downy skullcap, hoary skullcap
- Scutellaria incarnata Vent.
- Scutellaria indica L.
- Scutellaria integrifolia L. – helmet flower
- Scutellaria laevis – Culberson County skullcap
- Scutellaria lateriflora L. – blue skullcap, Virginian skullcap
- Scutellaria longifolia Benth.
- Scutellaria longituba
- Scutellaria meehanioides
- Scutellaria microphylla – littleleaf skullcap
- Scutellaria minor Huds. – lesser skullcap
- Scutellaria montana Chapm. – mountain skullcap, large-flowered skullcap
- Scutellaria multiglandulosa – Small's skullcap
- Scutellaria muriculata – Rio Grande skullcap
- Scutellaria nana A.Gray – dwarf skullcap
- Scutellaria nervosa – veiny skullcap
- Scutellaria ocmulgee – Ocmulgee skullcap
- Scutellaria orientalis
- Scutellaria ovata Hill – heart-leaved skullcap
- Scutellaria parvula Michx. – small skullcap
- Scutellaria potosina – Mexican skullcap
- Scutellaria pseudoserrata – falseteeth skullcap
- Scutellaria purpurascens
- Scutellaria racemosa – South American skullcap
- Scutellaria rehderiana
- Scutellaria resinosa Torr. – sticky skullcap
- Scutellaria rubicunda
- Scutellaria sapphirina – White Pine skullcap
- Scutellaria saxatilis – smooth rock skullcap
- Scutellaria serboana
- Scutellaria serrata – showy skullcap
- Scutellaria siphocampyloides – grayleaf skullcap
- Scutellaria splendens
- Scutellaria strigillosa
- Scutellaria suffrutescens
- Scutellaria texana – Texas skullcap
- Scutellaria thieretii – Thieret's skullcap
- Scutellaria tuberosa Benth. – Danny's skullcap
- Scutellaria ventenatii
- Scutellaria violacea
- Scutellaria viscidula
- Scutellaria wrightii – Wright's skullcap
- Piper methysticum (kava), another anxiolytic GABAergic plant
- Valeriana officinalis (valerian), a sedative GABAergic plant
- Chaenomeles speciosa, also contains a constituent that acts as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor
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- Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Scutellaria at Wikispecies
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- images.Scutellaria MorphBank.