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PSA: This Herb Is Your Secret Weapon for Itching and Inflammation

PSA: This Herb Is Your Secret Weapon for Itching and Inflammation

Traditional Chinese Medicine boasts a long history of identifying powerful botanical remedies—but there’s one in particular that a TCM forefather credits for his life. That distinction goes to skullcap, or scutellaria, a shrubby plant in the mint family. 

As the story goes, 16th century acupuncturist Li Shi Zhen had developed a severe lung infection at the age of 20—and was cured upon self-administering scullcap. (He then would go on to compile the Compendium of Materia Medica, a legendary encyclopedia of Chinese herbology and medicine.)

Interestingly enough, modern research does confirm that some of the powerful plant compounds in skullcap could have an impact on cancer cells. But now that we’ve had our history lesson, let’s talk about some of the other uses for this unassuming plant—namely, how it’s about to become your vulva’s secret weapon. (We know—it sounds like a leap, but stay with us.)

Skullcap is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Ancient wisdom: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, “damp heat” is a collection of symptoms associated with inflammation. Skullcap has long been used as a remedy for conditions associated with excess damp heat, like skin issues, bacteria overgrowth, and rashes.

Modern science: Research confirms that the active compounds in skullcap (including terpenoids, antioxidants, and flavonoids) can inhibit the production of the proteins that trigger an inflammatory response.

It can help with itching, too.

Ancient wisdom: Itching is another hallmark sign of inflammation—and a damp heat imbalance.

Modern science: Research shows that skullcap slows the body’s histamine response, which is associated with allergic reactions and itching.

Skullcap supports a healthy immune system.

Ancient wisdom: Even thousands of years before Li Shi Zhen’s fateful encounter with the herb, skullcap was revered as a powerful remedy for all kinds of conditions in TCM.

Modern science: Skullcap has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties—which might explain why research has linked it with regulation of the immune system.

It’s even been linked with a boost in mood.

Ancient wisdom: Some of the many ancient uses for skullcap include treating insomnia, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

Modern science: In one 2013 study, patients who were administered skullcap reported a significant boost in mood over two weeks compared with a placebo. As for why? Some research suggests that the phytochemicals in skullcap stimulate gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA—a neurotransmitter that’s been shown to reduce anxiety.

All in all, skullcap is a longtime MVP in the school of Traditional Chinese Medicine—and it’s time that it became an MVP of your medicine cabinet.

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PSA: This Herb Is Your Secret Weapon for Itching and Inflammation
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