The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® (AHP), a California-based non-profit research organization, has released its quality control standards and therapeutic compendium for the popular botanical dietary supplement Skullcap Aerial Parts (Scutellaria lateriflora L). Each monograph establishes national standards for assuring authenticity, purity, and quality control of the monographed botanical. Accompanying the standards is the AHP Therapeutic Compendium which provides a complete and critical review of the pharmacological and safety data currently available, including information on pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, actions, medical indications, historical and modern and traditional use, structure and function claims, dosages, interactions, side effects, contraindications, toxicology, and more.
According to AHP executive director Roy Upton; Skullcap is an extremely important botanical badly in need of identity standards. Much of the industry, even seasoned herb suppliers, remain unaware that the potentially hepatotoxic Teucrium (germander) adulterates the skullcap market. We also found that other domestic species of Scutellaria including the aerial parts of Chinese skullcap (S. baicalensis) is being sold as "skullcap". Other species sold include S. galericulata and S. incana. One potential source of confusion is that some of the seed sources have been shown to be selling the wrong species. In addition to skullcap being implicated in liver toxicities more accurately associated with germander, numerous analytical researchers have published constituent findings for skullcap that in fact used an inaccurately named species. A monograph like this is long overdue and hopefully this work will help to lessen the propensity for Teucrium and other adulteration in domestic and European supplies."
The monograph can be ordered at www.herbal-ahp.org.