Natural Health Products
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Skullcap is a plant native to the United States. The active ingredient is found in the aerial parts of the plant (the parts that grow above the ground).
How is this product usually used?
Skullcap can be taken by mouth and is available in dry leaf, decoction, infusion, extract, and powder forms. For adults 18 and older, the recommended dose is 0.25 g to12 g of dried herb top per day.
Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What is this product used for?
Skullcap has been used to:
- help relieve nervousness (e.g., help anxious people to feel calmer)
- help people sleep better
- help relieve menstrual cramps
The effectiveness of skullcap for these conditions has not been proven. More research is needed on the long-term use of skullcap extract for any of the above uses.
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
There is limited research on the side effects of skullcap. Side effects include drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, and upset stomach. Avoid operating heavy machinery, driving, or taking part in activities that require mental alertness while taking skullcap.
You should not take skullcap with alcohol or with medications that cause drowsiness, as it may increase the risk of sedation and difficulty concentrating.
You should stop using skullcap 2 weeks before an elective surgery. Contact your doctor if sleeplessness lasts longer than 4 weeks.
Avoid using skullcap if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.
- Health Canada. Natural Health Products Ingredients Database. Monograph: Skullcap. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=159
- Natural Database. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Skullcap.
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