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Botanical name: Scutellaria baicalensis
Common name: Scute, Scutellaria, Baical skullcap root
Family: Lamiaceae, mint family
Part used in Chinese medicine: root
Major Chinese medicine actions:
Clears heat and dries damp, clears heat and resolves
toxicity, clears heat and calms fetus
Scutellaria baicalensis is native to Tibet, China and Japan and has been known and used medicinally for over two thousand years. It is a bushy perennial growing to about 15 inches high that flowers from early summer to early fall with stalks of blue-violet to violet-red flowers.
Growing and Propagation
In its native habitat, the plant grows in high, dry, sandy mountainsides, along roadsides and in fields. It is hardy and easy to grow, liking full sun and good soil drainage. It is drought tolerant and hardy tin USDA zones 5 to 8.
Propagation is easy by seed and it can be planted directly into the ground in spring, or planted in containers in a cold frame in fall. Seed for propagation should be collected from 2-3 year old plants. For medicinal use, the flowers should be pinched back before blooming to direct the energy of the plant to its roots.
Harvesting and Preparation
Roots should be harvested in the spring or fall from three to four year old plants. Best quality roots are dug in the spring and dried in light sunshine. When they are half dry, the root bark is scraped off, roots are cut into pieces, and then dried completely.
For medicinal use, good quality Huang Qin roots are large and golden yellow in color. They should not have any dark or hollow spots. Some dried root slices have a blue green coloring, which may mean poor processing methods were employed resulting in low glycoside content