Skullcap, an herb native to North America, derives its eldritch moniker from its resemblance to medieval hats. Not only does it visually invoke external protection for the head, it's also known for its effective calming effects on the mind and central nervous system.
More specifically, it is a nervine, neurotrophorestorative, anxiolytic, and spasmolytic. Herbalist Holli Richey breaks it down on her blog about why skullcap is one of the most useful herbs for your nerves:
- A nervine normalizes the functions of the nervous system, soothing and relieving tension.
- A neuro-trophorestorative is something herbs can do which pharmaceutical drugs don’t. It restores optimal function and structure of an organ or tissue. In skullcap’s case, its attention is the restoration of the neurons.
- An anxiolytic relieves anxiety. Not all anxiolytic herbs do this in the same way.
- A spasmolytic relieves or decreases muscle spasms in smooth or skeletal muscle.
Skullcap is specifically called for when someone has nervous, emotional irritability. Nervous irritability might appear as spasms, tremors, restlessness (perhaps in the legs), skeletal muscle tension (neck and back), teeth-grinding, stress headaches and agitation, both emotionally and physically.
Skullcap is particularly useful for when you want to calm down but remain alert and focused throughout the day. That's why Homestead Apothecary founder Nicholas Weinstein included it in his Stress Less Herbal Tincture . He says, "I created the Stress Less Tincture when I had adrenal fatigue and Western medicine wasn't providing me with the tools I needed to get better. As I was experimenting on myself, I found Skullcap very supportive to my nervous system during the day when I needed to still be alert and productive." The tincture, which we carry at The Alchemist's Kitchen, is blended to lower stress and anxiety by supporting your adrenals and managing your cortisol levels.
Read more about skullcap by Holli Richey.