Names: mad-dog skullcap, Virginia skullcap, mad dogweed, madweed, blue pimpernel, hood-wort
Description: A hardy perennial found growing wild in damp places in North America. Grows up to 1 foot tall with a width of 8 inches. The flowers, which bloom from June to September, are small, blue, in clusters on upper areas of stems about 1/3 inch long. The leaves are thin, almost oval coming to a sharp point, toothed around the edge.
History: There are two ideas as to the name of skullcap. One is because the calyx of the little blue flower resembles a tiny cap. Another is that the generic name is from the Latin scutella (a little dish) from the lid of the calyx. There has also been reference which relates the shape to a scull or a shell-shaped boat. Skullcap was such a well-known remedy for rabies, it was once called “mad-dog weed.” Was found in many 19th century patent medicines as a nerve tonic, especially for “female weakness” and as an epilepsy “cure.”
Constituents: flavonoid glycosides (scultellonin, scutellarinan), volatile oil, bitters, tannin, minerals including caldium, potassium and magnesium
Properties: sedative, nervine tonic, antispasmodic, mild bitter
Energetics: bitter, cool
Meridians/Organs affected: heart, liver