Skullcap for Muscle Pain and Fatigue

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“Dear Pharmacist,

Have you ever heard of skullcap?”

–D.S. Boca Raton, Florida

Answer: Yes, it’s a sleep remedy that is also known as “Mad-Dog Weed.” In a few small studies, this herb showed properties that were helpful in people who suffered a stroke. This agent is most often found in combination with other sedating herbs like valerian or hops since on its own, it has questionable value. Skullcap should never be mixed with alcohol, prescribed sedatives or any over-the-counter sleep aids since the effect can be additive.

Skullcap was used by nineteenth-century medical practitioners to treat conditions that today we call chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. It seems to help with pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Dosages vary according to the concentration of the extract, so follow directions on the label of the bottle that you purchase and only use if you have your physician’s consent.