Skullcap. Baical skullcap roots
Specification & Spread
Baical skullcap roots — radices scutellariae baicalensis
Baical skullcap — scutellaria baicalensis georgi
Labiate family — lamiaceae (labiatae).
It is a herbaceous perennial plant with a short many-headed rhizome, rolling in a thick taproot.
The stems are numerous, tetrahedral, branched, 15-35 cm high.
The leaves are opposite, sessile or on very short petioles, from ovate-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate form, entire, with edges turned down with eyelashes.
The flowers are blue, two-lipped, gathered in one-sided racemose. The calyx is bell-shaped, two-lipped, with a special cup-shaped outgrowth («shield») on the upper lip; the corolla is 2-2.5 cm long, with a concave one-piece upper lip - a helmet and a 3-lobed lower lip.
The fruit - cenobium, consists of four small black lobes. It blooms in July, the fruits ripen in late July and August.
The plant has a Mongolian-Daurian-Manchu type of range. It is found in Eastern Transbaikalia (Trans-Baikal Territory), middle Amur Region (Amur Region), and south-western Primorye (Primorsky Territory). The main area of harvesting of the raw materials on an industrial scale is the Zabaykalsky Territory (Aginsky Buryatsky National District, Shilkinsky, Nerchinsky, Chernyshevsky, Borzinsky and Shelopuginsky districts).
The chemical composition of the skullcap
In the underground organs there are contained:
- flavonoids (up to 10%) - baikalin, skutellarin, hydrolyzing on glucuronic acid and aglycones: baikalein and skutellarein, respectively, vogonin, oroksilin, etc.;
- tannins (up to 2.5%);
- essential oil;
Harvesting and storage of raw materials
Harvesting. The skullcap root harvesting is carried out after it has been completely seeding, i.e. from about the second half of August until late autumn. The roots are dug with pickaxes or shovels, remove above-ground shoots, shake off the ground and quickly washed with water.
Security measures. To ensure the natural restoration of the skullcap when harvesting, it is necessary to leave at least 2-3 of its fruit bearing specimens for every 10 m2 thickets, and the harvesting of the raw materials at each site should be carried out no more than 1 time per 10 years. Only old plants with at least 5-6 stems are subject to harvesting.
Drying. The raw materials are dried in well ventilated attics or in the shade, spreading the roots in a thin layer and turning them over periodically. After drying, the raw materials are cleaned of impurities and rotten parts, remove the remnants of the soil, small pieces of roots and delaminated pieces of cork. Standardization. FS 42-453-91.
Storage. In warehouses, the raw materials are stored in a dry, well-ventilated area on shelves.
External signs of raw materials
The rod roots, passing in the upper third in a short many-headed rhizome with remnants of stems not longer than 1 cm. The length of the roots is up to 14 cm, thickness is up to 3.5 cm.
The surface of the roots is longitudinally wrinkled, from light brown to dark brown, often the roots are twisted along its axis, it is light, brittle.
The break is uneven. An important diagnostic value for determining the authenticity of raw materials is the bright yellow colour of the fracture of the roots.
The smell is absent, the taste is bitter.
Properties and application
The pharmacological properties of skullcap
The root tincture of Baical skullcap has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system,
- lowering blood pressure
- increasing heart rate,
- slowing and normalizing the heart rhythm.
The hypotensive effect of the tincture is associated not only with the central, but also with the peripheral nervous system.
The pharmacological studies of recent years at the Tomsk Research Institute of Pharmacology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences have revealed preparations of Baikal skullcap:
- pronounced anti-neurotic,
- hemostimulating properties and
- nootropic activity.
Skullcap root flavonoids have:
- positive effect on metabolic processes and brain blood circulation;
- protective effect in brain damage caused by hypoxia, intoxication, electric shock;
- improve the integration activity of the brain.
Application of skullcap
It is a nootropic agent.
Skullcap preparations are used to treat disorders of the nervous activity during:
- dementia of vascular genesis,
- astheno-depressive conditions,
- with anemia.
As an antihypertensive agent:
- with hypertension, like sedative,
- with cardiovascular neurosis.
- Children under 12 years old;
- pregnant and lactating women;
- with individual intolerance.