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Despite its spooky-sounding name, skullcap is a useful healing herb. A mild sedative that offers quick relief from anxiety, nerve pain, and nervous tension, skullcap can also help ease the uneasy feelings that can accompany menopause.
Parts Used: Stems, leaves, and flowers
Precautions: Do not take skullcap during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Do not use skullcap if you have liver disease, epilepsy, or a seizure disorder.
Identifying/Growing: Skullcap is an herbaceous perennial herb that develops a creeping habit. The flowers are pale to dark blue or purple, with elongated throats and rounded tops that might remind you a bit of snapdragons. You may be lucky enough to wildcraft skullcap in damp, partly shady areas throughout the United States and Europe, and you can easily grow them in your garden. Begin by refrigerating the seeds for a week, and then plant them in pots or flats. Press the seeds gently to ensure that they have good contact with the soil, and then mist them with water. Cover the container with plastic wrap and place it in a warm, sunny spot such as a windowsill. Remove the plastic wrap when the first green leaves appear, and then mist the little plants lightly each day. Transfer the seedlings to a spot that receives a bit of shade during the summer months and keep them well watered. Harvest the plants as