Skullcap is yet another herb of the mint family, the first medicinal use of skullcap can probably be found by looking into the lives of the Native Americans. The roots of skullcap were used as a remedy for things such as diarrhea and kidney problems. It wasn't until the settlers came that skullcap gained a reputation of being a sedative. They used it for a whole host of problems including fevers, anxious nerves, and even rabies. Today skullcap is most often found being used as a mild relaxant to treat anxiety, insomnia, tension headaches and fibromyalgia. When it comes to growing skullcap for your herb garden you have to realize that there is the North American variety and the Chinese type as well. The Chinese skullcap is the much hardier variety and well grow well in both warm or cool climates and handles drought very well. The North American skullcap however requires a very rich, moist and slightly acidic soil, so conditions have to be more precise in order to get the North American variety to grow.
These phytochemicals are divided into (1) primary metabolites such as sugars and fats, which are found in all plants; and (2) secondary metabolites – compounds which are found in a smaller range of plants, serving a more specific function. For example, some secondary metabolites are toxins used to deter predation and others are pheromones used to attract insects for pollination. It is these secondary metabolites and pigments that can have therapeutic actions in humans and which can be refined to produce drugs—examples are inulin from the roots of dahlias, quinine from the cinchona, morphine and codeine from the poppy, and digoxin from the foxglove.