Baikal Skullcap

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What other names is Baikal Skullcap known by?

Baikal Scullcap, Baikal Skullcap Root, Chinese Skullcap, Escutelaria Asiatica, Huang Qin, Huangquin, Hwanggum, Ogon, Ou-gon, Racine de Scutellaire du Lac Baïkal, Radix Scutellariae, Scullcap, Scute, Scutellaire, Scutellaire Chinoise, Scutellaire du Lac Baïkal, Scutellaria, Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria macrantha, Scutellariae Radix, Skullcap, Wogon.

What is Baikal Skullcap?

Baikal skullcap (scientific name Scutellaria baicalensis) is a plant. The root is used to make medicine. Common substitutions for Baikal skullcap in Chinese medicine include related plants whose scientific names are Scutellaria viscidula, Scutellaria amonea, and Scutellaria ikoninikovii.

Baikal skullcap is used to treat respiratory infections, hay fever, and fever. It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) infections, as well as liver problems including viral hepatitis and jaundice.

Some people use Baikal skullcap for HIV/AIDS, kidney infections, pelvic inflammation, and sores or swelling. It is also used for scarlet fever, headache, irritability, red eyes, flushed face, seizures, epilepsy, hysteria, nervous tension, and to relieve a bitter taste in the mouth.

The active ingredient in Baikal skullcap, baicalin, is used in combination with shung hua (ephedra) to treat upper respiratory tract infections. In combination with other herbs, Baikal skullcap is used to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), prostate cancer, a lung condition called bronchiolitis, arthritis, and hemorrhoids.

Baikal skullcap is also sometimes applied to the skin for psoriasis.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Inflammation of small air passages in the lung (bronchiolitis) and other lung infections. Developing research suggests that a combination of Baikal skullcap, forsythia, and honeysuckle given intravenously (IV) by a healthcare provider might help children who have bronchiolitis due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection feel better faster.
  • Arthritis. Some research shows that a specific commercial product (Limbrel, Primus Pharmaceuticals) that contains a combination of chemicals from Baikal skullcap and catechu, also known as flavocoxid, might help for arthritis in the knee. But there is not enough good quality research to know how well this product might work.
  • Psoriasis. There is one report that an ointment containing Baikal skullcap plus phellodendron and isatis improved psoriasis in an 8-year-old boy.
  • Kidney, stomach, and pelvic infections.
  • Hay fever.
  • Seizures.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Nervous tension.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Prostate cancer.
  • Hepatitis.
  • Sores or swelling.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Red eyes.
  • Flushed face.
  • Bitter taste in the mouth.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate Baikal skullcap for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Baikal Skullcap work?

It is thought that the active chemicals in Baikal skullcap might be able to decrease inflammation, stop tumor growth, and prevent tumor cell reproduction.

Are there safety concerns?

Baikal skullcap is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth. It might cause drowsiness. There have been reports of fever and lung inflammation in people who took Baikal skullcap. But there is not enough information to know if Baikal skullcap is the cause of these side effects.

A specific combination product called flavocoxid (Limbrel, Primus Pharmaceuticals) that contains Baikal skullcap was safely used in research studies lasting up to 12 weeks. However, there are concerns that this combination product might cause liver problems in some people. This side effect does not appear to be common and might only occur in people who have a type of allergic reaction to it.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Baikal skullcap if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Baikal skullcap is POSSIBLY SAFE in children when given intravenously (by IV) by a healthcare provider, short-term. An intravenous preparation that includes Baikal skullcap, forsythia, and honeysuckle has been used under medical supervision with apparent safety in children for up to 7 days. Not enough is known about the safety of Baikal skullcap in children when used long-term.

Bleeding disorders. Baikal skullcap might slow blood clotting. In theory, Baikal skullcap might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Diabetes: Baikal skullcap can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use Baikal skullcap.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Baikal skullcap might have the same effects as the female hormone estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use Baikal.

Low blood pressure: Baikal skullcap might lower blood pressure. In theory, Baikal skullcap might lower blood pressure too much in people prone to low blood pressure.

Surgery: Baikal skullcap might slow blood clotting. There is concern that it might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using Baikal skullcap at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Alcohol
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Baikal skullcap might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large amounts of Baikal skullcap along with alcohol might cause too much sleepiness.



Estrogens
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Baikal skullcap might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However Baikal skullcap is not as strong as estrogen pills. Taking Baikal skullcap along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.



Lithium
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Baikal skullcap might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking Baikal skullcap might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Baikal skullcap might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Baikal skullcap along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking Baikal skullcap, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Baikal skullcap might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Baikal skullcap with these medications might decrease how well the medication works. Before taking Baikal skullcap, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), carisoprodol (Soma), citalopram (Celexa), diazepam (Valium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), phenytoin (Dilantin), warfarin (Coumadin), and many others.



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Baikal skullcap might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking Baikal skullcap along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Baikal skullcap might lower blood pressure. Taking Baikal skullcap with medications used to treat high blood pressure might cause blood pressure levels to go to low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.



Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Baikal skullcap might slow blood clotting. Taking Baikal skullcap along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, indomethacin (Indocin), ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.



Metformin (Glucophage)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Metformin (Glucophage) is used to help decrease blood sugar. Baikal skullcap might also lower blood sugar. Taking Baikal skullcap along with metformin (Glucophage) might increase the effectiveness of metformin (Glucophage) for lowering blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your metformin (Glucophage) might need to be changed.



Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Baikal skullcap might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking Baikal skullcap along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some of these sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and others.



Sedative medications (CNS depressants)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Baikal skullcap might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking Baikal skullcap along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.



Medications moved by pumps in cells (P-glycoprotein Substrates)
Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are moved by pumps into cells. Baikal skullcap might make these pumps less active and increase how much of some medications get absorbed by the body. This might increase the side effects of some medications.

Some medications that are moved by these pumps include etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine, ketoconazole, itraconazole, amprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir, cimetidine, ranitidine, diltiazem, verapamil, corticosteroids, erythromycin, cisapride (Propulsid), fexofenadine (Allegra), cyclosporine, loperamide (Imodium), quinidine, and others.



Medications used for lowering cholesterol (Statins)
Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Baikal skullcap might change the levels of statins in your blood. But there isn't enough information to know if this is an important interaction. Talk with your healthcare provider before using Baikal skullcap if you are taking medications used for lowering cholesterol.

These medications include atorvastatin (Lipitor), cerivastatin (Baycol), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor).

Dosing considerations for Baikal Skullcap.

The appropriate dose of Baikal skullcap depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for Baikal skullcap. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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