Chinese SkullcapScutellaria baicalensis
• Enhancing Antibiotic Activity
, also called Chinese skullcap, is a member of the mint family and has long been used in
Chinese skullcap is substantially different from
What is Chinese Skullcap Used for Today?
The root of Chinese scullcap contains the flavonoids baicalin, wogonin, and baicalein, and most studies have involved these substances rather than the whole herb.
Highly preliminary evidence suggest that baicalin can enhance the activity of antibiotics against antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. 1-3
Research involving combination herbal therapies containing Chinese skullcap are discussed in the
The optimum doses, if any, of baicalin, wogonin, and baicalein have not been established. Chinese skullcap is typically taken at a dose of 3-9 grams daily as part of an herbal combination.
Baicalin, wobogin, and baicalein appear to have a low order of toxicity, though comprehensive safety studies have not been performed. There have been case reports of liver injury associated with use of skullcap products, but these may have been due to adulteration by the herb germander.
One animal study found worrisome evidence that baicalin might markedly reduce the absorption of drug
, used to prevent organ transplant rejection.
Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
1. Liu IX, Durham DG, Richards RM. Baicalin synergy with beta-lactam antibiotics against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other beta-lactam-resistant strains of S. aureus . J Pharm Pharmacol . 2000;52:361-366.
3. Yang ZC, Wang BC, Yang XS, et al. The synergistic activity of antibiotics combined with eight traditional Chinese medicines against two different strains of Staphylococcus aureus . Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces . 2005;41:79-81.
4. Bonham M, Posakony J, Coleman I, et al. Characterization of chemical constituents in Scutellaria baicalensis with antiandrogenic and growth-inhibitory activities toward prostate carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res . 2005;11:3905-3914.
5. Liu JJ, Huang TS, Cheng WF, et al. Baicalein and baicalin are potent inhibitors of angiogenesis: inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation, migration and differentiation. Int J Cancer . 2003;106:559-565.
7. Ong ES, Len SM, Lee AC, et al. Differential protein expression of the inhibitory effects of a standardized extract from Scutellariae radix in liver cancer cell lines using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. J AgricFood Chem . 2005;53:8-16.
9. Chi YS, Lim H, Park H, et al. Effects of wogonin, a plant flavone from Scutellaria radix, on skin inflammation: in vivo regulation of inflammation-associated gene expression. Biochem Pharmacol . 2003;66:1271-8.
11. Jang SI, Kim HJ, Hwang KM, et al. Hepatoprotective effect of baicalin, a major flavone from Scutellaria radix, on acetaminophen-induced liver injury in mice. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol . 2003;25:585-94.
15. Fan L, Zhang W, Guo D, et al. The effect of herbal medicine baicalin on pharmacokinetics of rosuvastatin, substrate of organic anion-transporting polypeptide 1B1. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Sep 12. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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