The Chinese skullcap, or Scutellaria baicalensis, is one of the 50 fundamental herbs of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Otherwise known as Huang-Qin, it’s traditionally used to clear heat, dry dampness, activate your internal fire and remove toxins, making it a popular treatment for fever, liver, and lung issues. It has documented anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antihistamine, and antioxidant properties, and scientists have recently uncovered promising anti-cancer potential.
Here’s what we know from past research: antioxidant compounds on the roots of Huang-Qin demonstrated antiviral and antioxidant effects on cells cultured in the lab. These flavones also killed human cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. On live animal models, the flavones on the roots of Huang-Qin actually stopped tumor growth, piquing researchers’ interest in the possibility for future cancer treatments or cures.
Flavones as a class of flavonoid compounds are well researched, but the flavones on Huang-Qin roots are unique. Most flavones have an OH (hydroxyl) group in their chemical structure, but certain flavones in the Chinese skullcap are missing this component, and until recently scientists wondered why.
Researchers uncovered an entirely different chemical pathway by which the flavones on Huang-Qin roots are generated. Discovering this building block helps researchers create a large volume of these flavones, which can then be used in further research to unlock potential medicinal uses. We will keep you posted on the progress!