9 Scientific Benefits of Skullcap for Neuropathy & Nerve Pain Relief

Nerve pain can be difficult to treat, and even more frustrating to deal with.

With the recent growth of the popularity of natural remedies, more individuals who suffer from nerve pain are turning away from conventional treatments and beginning to look into alternative treatments for the management of their neuropathy nerve pain.

As individuals age, traditional medicine can take a toll on bodies that are not able to handle the sometimes-harsh pharmaceutical treatments.

Studies show that natural treatments and medicines can effectively alleviate neuropathy nerve pain while being gentle on the body because of their lack of side effects and adverse reactions.

One herb that those diagnosed with nerve pain from neuropathy have been trying with some success is skullcap.

Skullcap is mainly used for its antioxidant effects and, according to studies, has a 25 percent success rate among other alternative remedies used for neuropathy nerve pain.

In fact, skullcap is considered to be one of the most versatile herbs out there for nerve pain today. Not only does it help alleviate nerve pain, but it can also be used to help quell anxiety, relieve headaches, decrease inflammation, and soothe irritability.

The Basics on Skullcap

There are two different breeds of skullcap: Chinese Skullcap and American Skullcap, and each is used to treat different symptoms. These two variations of skullcap should not be confused or mixed up in any way.

Chinese Skullcap, or Scutellaria Baicalensis is used extensively in Traditional Chinese Medicine, while American Skullcap, or Scutellaria Lateriflora L.,  is used as a general herbal remedy for a variety of symptoms.

Uses of Chinese and American Skullcap

While Chinese Skullcap is used to treat infections, allergies, headaches, and even some cancers, American Skullcap is probably the most effective at treating neuropathy and nerve pain symptoms. American Skullcap is native to North America but is mostly grown and harvested in Europe. It has been most commonly used as a relaxant and nerve calming supplement for over 200 years.

Along with its soothing benefits and ability to calm nerve pain, American Skullcap has also been proven to have antioxidant effects that help with such diseases as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

While the roots of the Chinese Skullcap are used in Chinese Medicine, the leaves of the American Skullcap plant are the most valuable part in treating various neuropathy nerve issues.

Research has shown that Skullcap is effective at treating neuropathic pain because it promotes blood flow to the brain while having a soothing effect on the central nervous system.

Along with its calming effects, Skullcap also inhibits inflammatory responses, thus decreasing pain and discomfort from chronic inflammation and nerve pain and discomfort. Skullcap can be taken as a tea, a powder, a capsule, and can even be used as a cream or lotion.

Skullcap’s Health Benefits

Anxiety Relief

When Skullcap is taken as a tea, it can help to balance hormones as well as stimulate the release of mood-balancing endorphins. Skullcap is rich in the phenolic compounds that are rich in antioxidant compounds and can help with hormonal balance. Drinking Skullcap tea may help to lower anxiety related to neuropathy while also potentially calming inflammation associated with nerve pain.

Pain Reduction

foot nerve pain

The analgesic properties of Skullcap can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Creams and pastes made from Skullcap can help alleviate pain from neuropathy when directly applied to the affected area.

Skullcap creams and pastes are also used to heal wounds, small scrapes, and bruises because of plant’s phenolic compounds and flavones help to stimulate blood flow to the skin and prevent dangerous infections from happening.

Calms Down an Overstimulated Nervous System

Skullcap can slow down an overstimulated nervous system which may help with seizures or spasms that derive from nervous system disorders. Some studies have demonstrated that skullcap tea has the capacity to reduce symptoms and prevent episodes from occurring.

Toxin Elimination

Studies show that regularly taking Skullcap can help to detoxify the body and improve overall health parameters. Regular Skullcap ingestion has been associated with an increase in antioxidant activity in the liver. As such, Skullcap may significantly boost the liver’s efficiency to reduce toxin levels in the blood and body. Depending on the underlying cause of nerve pain, improved processing of toxins may help to alleviate pain.

Diabetes Management

nerve pain in arm

According to numerous scientific studies, Skullcap increases the body’s ability to produce insulin as well as the pancreas’ ability to regulate insulin levels in the body.

Skullcap has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels in the body, which doctors say is an important factor in the management of diabetes.

Diabetic nerve pain is a common symptom for those suffering from diabetes, making Skullcap a potential therapeutic aid for assisting with the management of insulin.

Heart Health

As Skullcap has been shown to reduce cholesterol in the heart, it will also lower the chances of patients having atherosclerosis, coronary heart diseases, strokes, and heart attacks that arise from plaque accumulation in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can contribute to poor blood flow and circulation to nerves, leading to increased pain.

Weight Management

Weight management is important for everyone, but especially those dealing with diabetes and neuropathy. Though studies are not conclusive, there is evidence that points to Skullcap’s ability to reduce triglycerides which may benefit those with certain health parameters that are outside of the norm due to their weight.

Sedative

American Skullcap has been used as a treatment for epilepsy, panic attacks, anxiety, hysteria, and delirium tremens. It is also useful for those struggling with insomnia because it helps to naturally induce sleep. Many individuals suffering from chronic nerve pain struggle with getting comfortable, leading to nights of lost sleep.

Antispasmodic

Skullcap is used to help treat throat issues and help alleviate neuralgia, stress-related headaches, and the after-effects of constant coughing, anorexia nervosa, mild Tourette’s Syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Studies have also found Skullcap to be useful in the treatment of those suffering from withdrawal symptoms from barbiturates and tranquilizers.

Other Conditions Skullcap is Used For: 

  • Fevers

  • Allergies

  • Headaches

  • Inflammation

  • Nosebleeds

  • Irritability

  • Urinary Tract Infections

  • Jaundice

  • Sores, Swelling, Boils

  • Vaginal Bleeding

  • Diarrhea

  • Dysentery

  • Fevers

Possible Side-Effects and Cautions

As with any herbal remedy, it’s important to consult with a physician before taking Skullcap. Herbal remedies, as well as pharmaceutical medications, are associated with various side effects and interactions. Both American and Chinese skullcap have been shown to increase the sedative effects of the following medications:

  • Barbiturates

  • Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam and diazepam

  • Anticonvulsants such as phenytoin

  • Herbs such as valerian root, catnip, or kava

  • Alcohol

  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil

  • Drugs that treat insomnia such as Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, and Rozerem

Excessive amounts of American Skullcap can also cause adverse effects such as mental confusion, irregular heartbeat, twitching, giddiness, stupor, and seizures. Likewise, consuming excessive amounts of Chinese Skullcap can cause low blood sugar or increase the effects of drugs used to treat and manage diabetes. It may also interact badly with cyclosporines that are used to inhibit liver, kidney, or heart transplant rejection by stopping their ability to be absorbed into the body.

It should also be noted that skullcap may slow down the functioning of the central nervous system. And as such, healthcare providers are now concerned that anesthesia and other medications administered during surgery may increase this effect. It is therefore advised that those taking skullcap stop taking the herbal remedy at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Success Rates of Skullcap

A new study claims that about a quarter of patients who tried alternative herbal remedies found improvement in their neuropathy symptoms. Nearly half of those who tried alternative therapies, and who did not work with a physician, did not feel any improvement in using skullcap to treat their neuropathy symptoms.

Yet another study concluded that Chinese Skullcap improved the effects and pains from chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. In the study, a group of patients tried a herbal concoction that included skullcap. Doctors found that the incidence of nerve damage was almost half as high in comparison to patients who did not try any herbal medicines at all.

Still, other studies found that Chinese Skullcap helps with pain management from neuropathy nerve pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties. When compared to an anti-inflammatory medicine, Chinese Skullcap performed the same and almost better as typical anti-inflammatory medications that are given to people with nerve pain. Skullcap has been used in several nerve support formulas such as Nerve Renew, which is testament to it's success.

Final Thoughts

Based on successful studies, there is evidence to support that both Chines Skullcap and American Skullcap may help with both the underlying causes and symptoms associated with neuropathy.

As with any medication and herbal remedy, it is advised to always seek the help and advice of a medical professional before undertaking any new medications or neuropathy supplements.