Skullcap As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Skullcap is a medical plant in genus Scutellaria used in herbal medicine. The rhizome of skullcap is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine (where the plant is known as Huang Cen, 黄岑) with heat-clearing, damp-drying, hemostasis and miscarriage preventing effects. Prescribed with other herbs, rhizome of skullcap can help to cope with diseases such as upper respiratory infection (URI), cough with lung heat, jaundice, pneumonia, dysentery, hemoptysis and high blood pressure.

Odour & Nature:

Bitter, cold-natured, non-toxic,


Skullcap functions by influencing the heart, lung, gallbladder and the large intestine.

Indications & Formulas:

A decoction of rhizome of skullcap is taken orally to cope with tuberculosis (an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it generally affects the lungs), bloody stranguria as well as nosebleeds.

Pills made from rhizome of skullcap and honey is taken orally to heal excessive vaginal discharge.

Pills made from rhizome of skullcap, steamed cake, rhizomes of coptis chinensis and phellodendron amurense bark is taken with warm water to clear accumulated heat in the chest.

A decoction of radix bupleuri, rhizome of skullcap and wine is taken to treat diarrhea caused by accumulated internal heat.

A mixture of rhizome of skullcap, fermented soybean and cooked pork liver are taken with warm soup to treat lung heat caused macula of retina.

Rhizome of skullcap (soaked in rice washing water for 7 days) mixed with vinegar and rice paste can be processed into pills for oral taking to treat vaginal bleeding after menopause.

Pills made with rhizome of skullcap, white atractylodes rhizome and rice paste is taken with warm water to prevent miscarriage.

A decoction of rhizome of skullcap and ophiopogon root can be taken to heal excessive postpartum thirst.

The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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