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Chinese Skullcap

Scutellaria baicalensis, root extraction 

Besides being strongly anti-viral, and moderately anti-bacterial, Chinese skullcap falls into the category of herbal synergists… herbs that affect how other compounds, whether herb or pharmaceutical, are utilized in the body. 

Chinese skullcap can be very helpful for increasing a particular herb or drug's access to various tissues in the body and enhancing its actions, but can also inactivate certain drugs. It is able to inhibit an enzyme that metabolizes some pharmaceutical drugs resulting in the drug remaining in the body for longer periods of time and at higher doses. This may be beneficial or harmful depending on the drug and should always be discussed with your doctor.

Most interestingly, skullcap is said to inhibit the Nor A efflux pump in bacteria. This is a mechanism bacteria use to pump antibiotics back out of their bodies so they are not affected by them. If the efflux pump is inactivated by the herb, then the antibiotics are able to enter the cells and do their job.

Cancer cells also use efflux pumps to remove many chemicals harmful to them, so skullcap may be very helpful in some of these cases.

Other herbal synergist include licorice, ginger and black pepper. All wonderful spices that not only flavor our foods, but may enhance the absorption of nutrients in our food as well.

As always, do your own research. The botanical kingdom has many treasures to offer. It is up to use them appropriately and respectfully.

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