Possible Side Effects of Skullcap Herb

Skullcap is a perennial medicinal herb which comes from the scutellaria lateriflora plant species. It grows in woods, thickets and wet roadside ditches found from New York to South Carolina. It is used for a variety of ailments including insomnia, hysteria, anxiety and throat infections and comes in different forms including extracts and tea. Even though skullcap is a natural product, it is not without possible side effects.

Neurological Side Effects

Possible side effects from taking skullcap include dizziness, extreme drowsiness, mental confusion, giddiness and stupor or severely dulled mental state. Generally only associated with high doses, one of the more serious neurological side effects includes seizures, which should immediately be reported to your primary physician.

Allergic Reactions

Signs that you may be allergic to the herb include rash, hives and itching as well as swelling of the mouth or throat. Wheezing or difficulty breathing are more serious reactions and need to be addressed immediately by a physician.

Other Side Effects and Potential Damage

Some users of skullcap have reported an irregular pulse. Potential for liver damage is always a concern when taking medicinal herbs or pharmaceuticals. Signs to watch for include yellowing of the eyes or skin as in jaundice symptoms, pain in the upper right abdominal area and elevated liver enzymes, which requires a blood test to determine healthy levels.


Pregnant women should consult with their physician before taking skullcap. Woman who are breastfeeding and people who are taking regular medications should also talk to their doctor before taking natural herbs or supplements, including skullcap.