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Skullcap is a name for a dozens of species from the mint family Labiatae. It is also known as skullcap, blue skullcap, hoodwort or hoodwart, blue pimpernel, Qanker bonnet, helmet flower, hooded willow herb, mad-dog weed, or mad weed. The “mad-dog” name originates from the eighteenth century when this plant was being used to treat rabies. Traditionally, this herb was being used as a sedative, tranquilizer, digestive and fever lowering aid. These plants have a helmet-shaped calyx and tiny flowers that range in color from blue to pink. The stems, flowers and leaves of the herb are used in many different natural remedies.

Health benefits of skullcap tea

The use of skullcap tea has a long history, dating for at last 2000 years, when herbal practitioners in China first started to use it. Tea made of skullcap may help in lowering blood pressure. It is a natural sedative often used to help treat anxiety, nervous tension, pre-menstrual syndrome, insomnia and stress-related headaches.

It is commonly used to treat many other health conditions related to the nervous system, such as epilepsy, seizures and muscle cramps. It is extremely beneficial in treatment of gastro-intestinal problems, as it slows down the intestinal movement. It brings the relief from fever and boosts the immune system with its powerful antibacterial properties. A cup of skullcap tea may help to recover from exhaustion, fatigue and hangovers. It helps to restore normal functions of the body that has been extremely contaminated with tobacco or alcohol.

Side effects of skullcap tea

A standard dose of skullcap does not provoke any serious side effects in the body. However, the excessive use of skullcap remedies may cause aches in the muscles and rise in the body temperature. It is also associated with lowering leukocyte levels and possible liver damage.

There is a possibility of allergic reactions in some individuals, particularly people over-sensitive to weeds.
Symptoms of the allergic reactions are usually mild and include itching, skin rash and swelling of the mouth, lips and throat.
Symptoms that are more serious include problems with breathing.
Skullcap tea should be used in supervision and in recommended doses. It is strongly advised not to take it casually.

Preparation of skullcap tea

To prepare tea pour 1 cup of boiling water (approximately 250 ml) over 1-2 teaspoons (approximately 5-10g) of dried skullcap tea leaves. Cover the mixture and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Recommended daily intake is two to three cups.

Another interesting idea, for those suffering from insomnia, is to place skullcap leaves inside a small pillow and place it under the bed pillow.

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