What a confusing time we are experiencing collectively right now. Our staff is working hard shipping seeds out to all of you and also processing the uncertainty of our current time. This made me think about more then just the food nutrition needs of my body but also the need to nourish our nervous systems. My favorite go-to herb when I can not sleep at night or I feel overwhelmed is Skullcap.
Scutellaria lateriflora is a perennial herb, classified as a bitter mint. It grows beautifully in Oregon and I have a patch in my herb garden which I harvest from regularly and make fresh tincture or dry it for tea.
It is the perfect time to prepare some space in your garden or sow a container of it to grow on your porch. I direct sow Skullcap in Spring by raking out the soil in my prepared bed and distributing the seed through out the bed without much rhyme or rhythm. I then cover the seed lightly with soil and water it in gentle. This results in a beautiful and dense bed of 60- 80 cm high brilliant green mint with dainty bright blue flowers.
Try to keep the bed moist while the seeds are germinating. In the fall I just shake the dead flowers and let the seeds fall on the ground to self-sow the following year. Skullcap thrives in moist environments and can tolerate some shade.
The best way to use this herb is as a tea or in a tincture. Mostly I use it for its nervine properties to help calm the senseless chatter in my mind and as a gentle herb to take before bed to aid sleep. It does not really have a sedative effect though so it can be taken during the day to soothe the nervous system. You can use it in tandem with other herbs as well. I harvest Skullcap when it is in flower but I use the stem, leaf and flower in my medicinal preparations.
Skullcap has many uses but these qualities are what I am using it for now.
As always please do more research to find out if Skullcap is the right herb for you and consult professional herbalists about whether it is counter indicated for any conditions you may have or other medicines you may be taking.