Scutellaria baicalensis, known as Chinese skullcap or Baikal skullcap, is native to the mountains of eastern Asia. Chinese skullcap, or Huang-Qin is one of the 50 fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine. Scutellaria baicalensis grows to about 1-1.5 feet in height, forming ornamental spikes of one-inch blue to purple flowers. It is a perennial plant that will bring color back to your garden each year while offering medicinal potential. Chinese skullcap also offers the benefit of attracting bees, butterflies and birds that will help pollinate your garden. The plant’s yellow root, which contains the flavinoids, wogonin, baicalin and baicalien, is most frequently used for herbal medicine. Having such high importance in Chinese medicine, it is expected that Chinese skullcap would have an extensive list of herbal uses ranging from anti-anxiety to anti-inflammatory to anti-cancer. It is also said to protect the liver, control blood pressure and promote cardiovascular health. Antibiotic, diuretic, anti-spasmodic and fever-reducing properties have also been associated with this herb.
Growing Information: Chinese skullcap grows naturally in sandy, rocky soil with a relatively neutral pH. It makes an attractive addition to flower beds. Sow seeds just under the surface of the soil. Established plants should be placed in full sun with a spacing of about 10 inches. The soil should be kept relatively dry. After three to fours years, the roots are ready to be harvested and dried. Older roots will generally contain more of the desired compounds. Use only roots that have a yellow color as others may be inferior.
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