Sunday, January 15, 2012

Skullcap (Scutellaria) Health Benefits and Side Effects

Skullcap is a flowering plants in the genus Scutellaria, belonging to the family Lamiaceae, native to North America. The herb has been used in traditional medicine as anti-asthmatic, antifungal, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory agent and to relieve tension, lower blood pressure, to treat nervous tension and eases muscle tension, spasms, etc.

Health Benefits
1. Breast cancer
In the investigation of The cytotoxicity of Pa-PDT (Pheophorbide-a (Pa)), an active component of Scutellaria barbatawas evaluated by using an estrogen receptor (ER)-negative human breast adenocarcinoma cell line MDA-MB-231, found that Pa-PDT exhibited its anti-tumor effects by the activation of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and the ERK-mediated autophagy in MDA-MB-231 cells and concluded that suggested Pa-PDT is a potential protocol for the late phase human breast cancer, according to "Photo-activated pheophorbide-a, an active component of Scutellaria barbata, enhances apoptosis via the suppression of ERK-mediated autophagy in the estrogen receptor-negative human breast adenocarcinoma cells MDA-MB-231" by Bui-Xuan NH, Tang PM, Wong CK, Fung KP.(1)

2. Liver diseases
In the evaluation of the anti-proliferative effects on human hepatoma HepG2 and Hep3B cells of each fraction of Pheophorbide a, a major antitumor component purified from Scutellaria barbata, found that pheophorbide a induced apoptosis in Hep3B cells, a viral-induced hepatoma cell line. However, it was found to be non-toxic in normal human liver cells WRL-68. DNA fragmentation, sub-G1 cell cycle arrest, as well as suppression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, release of cytochrome c to the cytosol, and activation of pro-caspase 3 and pro-caspase 9 were observed when Hep3B cells were treated with 40 microg/mL (i. e., 67.5 microM) pheophorbide a for 48 hours, according to "Pheophorbide a, a major antitumor component purified from Scutellaria barbata, induces apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells" by Chan JY, Tang PM, Hon PM, Au SW, Tsui SK, Waye MM, Kong SK, Mak TC, Fung KP.(2)

3. Antitumor activity
In the testing of The IC(50) values of of an ethanol extract of SB on the cancer cell lines tested ranged from 16 to 70 microg/mL after 48 h of treatment, found that The antitumor activity of CE-SB in vivo was also evaluated. At 60 mg/kg/day, CE-SB significantly inhibited the solid tumor proliferation and increased the life span of ascites tumor bearing mice (p < 0.01). CE-SB was subjected to bioassay-guided isolation of the active compounds by chromatography on silica gel and Sephadex LH-20. Phytol, wogonin, luteolin and hispidulin were obtained as cytotoxic constituents, according to "Antitumor activity of chloroform fraction of Scutellaria barbata and its active constituents" by Yu J, Liu H, Lei J, Tan W, Hu X, Zou G.(3)

4. Cavernous smooth muscle
In the observation of o investigate whether an ethanol extract of Scutellaria baicalensis (ESB) relaxes penile corpus cavernosum muscle, found that suggest that ESB relaxed rabbit cavernous smooth muscle via the NO/cGMP system and Ca(2+)-sensitive K(+) channels in the corpus cavernosum, according to "Effect of an Ethanol Extract of Scutellaria baicalensis on Relaxation in Corpus Cavernosum Smooth Muscle" by Li X, Oh HC, Son SB, Lee YJ, Kang DG, Lee HS.(4)

5. Cholesterol
In the evaluation of the effect of the Baikal skullcap root (Scutellaria baicalensis radix) on the cholesterol level and chemical composition of the hind leg muscles of rabbits, found that Using a Baikal skullcap root with hypercholesterolemic diet (group CH+SR) caused significant reduction (P < or = 0.05) in total cholesterol level in comparison with hypercholesterolemic diet (CH group), according to "Effect of baikal skullcap root (Scutellaria baicalensis radix) on cholesterol level and meat quality in rabbits fed a cholesterol rich diet" by Króliczewska B, Miśta D, Zawadzki W, Skiba T.(5)

6. Anticonvulsant activity
In the analyzing the chemical ingredients of American skullcap and to evaluate its anticonvulsant activity, found that (1) phenolic compounds, especially flavonoids, are the predominant constituents in American skullcap; (2) American skullcap products have similar constituents, but the content and relative proportions of the individual constituents varies widely; and (3) American skullcap has anticonvulsant activity in rodent models of acute seizures, according to "Characterization of chemical ingredients and anticonvulsant activity of American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)" by Zhang Z, Lian XY, Li S, Stringer JL.(6)

7. Antioxidants
In the Comparisons of Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria lateriflora and Scutellaria racemosa: genome size, antioxidant potential, found that Antioxidant potential studies showed that there were no significant differences in the 3 Scutellaria species. Phytochemical analyses detected and quantified the flavonoids baicalin, baicalein, scutellarin, and wogonin as well as the human neurohormones melatonin and serotonin in leaf and stem tissues from S. baicalensis, S. lateriflora, and S. racemosa, according to "Comparisons of Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria lateriflora and Scutellaria racemosa: genome size, antioxidant potential and phytochemistry" by Cole IB, Cao J, Alan AR, Saxena PK, Murch SJ.(7)

8. Neurodegeneration diseases
In the study of flavones isolated from Scutellaria baicalensis root exhibit strong neuroprotective effects on the brain, found that Baicalein, the main flavone present in Scutellaria baicalensis root, strongly inhibited aggregation of neuronal amyloidogenic proteins in vitro and induces dissolution of amyloid deposits. It exerts strong antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activities and also exhibits anti-convulsive, anxiolytic, and mild sedative actions. Importantly, baicalein, and also another flavone: oroxylin A, markedly enhanced cognitive and mnestic functions in animal models of aging brains and neurodegeneration, according to "Flavones from root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi: drugs of the future in neurodegeneration?" by Gasiorowski K, Lamer-Zarawska E, Leszek J, Parvathaneni K, Yendluri BB, Błach-Olszewska Z, Aliev G.(8)

9. Anti-inflammatory activity
In the investigation of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxic activities of water and ethanol extracts of 14 Chinese medicinal plants found that five plant extracts (S. baicalensis, T. chinensis, S. japonica, Mahonia fortunei , and Sophora flavescens ) exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity by in vitro inhibition of the production of NO and TNF-α with low IC(50) values, according to "Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of selected medicinal plants containing phenolic and flavonoid compounds" by Zhang L, Ravipati AS, Koyyalamudi SR, Jeong SC, Reddy N, Smith PT, Bartlett J, Shanmugam K, Münch G, Wu MJ.(9)

10. Ageing-related cognitive impairment
In the research of the effects of flavonoid, isolated from aerial parts of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi (SSF), on memory impairment, neuronal damage, free radicals and energy metabolite disorders in aged rats, found that beneficial effects of SSF on memory impairment and neuronal damage in aged rats may be important for the treatment of senile dementia and for delaying the ageing processes, according to "Scutellaria flavonoid supplementation reverses ageing-related cognitive impairment and neuronal changes in aged rats" by Song HR, Cheng JJ, Miao H, Shang YZ.(10)

11. Asthma
In the deiermination of the effects of Scutellaria Root, a major herb in Saiboku-to and its components such as baicalein and baicalin on eotaxin production by IL-4 plus TNF-alpha-stimulated human fibroblasts, found that the inhibitory effect of baicalein was expressed in a dose-dependent manner, and almost 50% inhibition was observed at 1.8 micrograms/ml. Furthermore, baicalein prevented human eotaxin mRNA expression in IL-4 plus TNF-alpha-stimulated human fibroblasts. These results help explain the pharmacological efficacy of Scutellaria Root in the treatment of bronchial asthma since it would suppress eotaxin associated recruitment of eosinophils, according to "Inhibitory effect of baicalein, a flavonoid in Scutellaria Root, on eotaxin production by human dermal fibroblasts" by Nakajima T, Imanishi M, Yamamoto K, Cyong JC, Hirai K.(11)

12. Anti fungal effects
In the study of the interaction of AmB and baicalein (BE) was investigated against thirty clinical isolates of C. albicans, found that AmB increased the caspase activity and expression of the corresponding gene CaMCA1 in C. albicans. These effects were enhanced in the presence of BE. Deletion of CaMCA1 clearly attenuated AmB-induced apoptosis, indicating the involvement of CaMCA1-mediated caspase pathway in AmB-induced apoptosis and the synergistic action, according to "Combination of baicalein and Amphotericin B accelerates Candida albicans apoptosis" by Fu Z, Lu H, Zhu Z, Yan L, Jiang Y, Cao Y.(12)

13. Anxiolytic activity
In the investigation of the phytochemistry and biological activity of Scutellaria lateriflora L. (American skullcap) which has been traditionally used as a sedative and to treat various nervous disorders, found that these compounds may play a role in anxiolytic activity since baicalin and baicalein are known to bind to the benzodiazepine site of the GABAA receptor and since GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter, according to "Phytochemical and biological analysis of skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora L.): a medicinal plant with anxiolytic properties" by Awad R, Arnason JT, Trudeau V, Bergeron C, Budzinski JW, Foster BC, Merali Z.(13)

14. Etc.

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Side effects
1. Overdoses may cause nervous tension, including giddiness, stupor, confusion, irregular heartbeat and twitching.
2. Do not use the herb in new born, children or if you are pregnant or breast feeding without approval from the related field specialist.
3. Overdoses cam also toxic to liver (a)
4. Skullcap may interact with other medication such as sedatives
5. Etc.

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