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Nonprofit Consortium Publishes Review of Skullcap Adulteration
Date:2/21/2012

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The substitution and adulteration of skullcap with germander is a challenge that has plagued the herb industry in the United States and elsewhere for over 30 years, and the problem still persists today, according to an article in the Winter 2012 issue of HerbalGram (#93), which has just been released.(1)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100430/DC95601LOGO)

In the article, noted botanist, author, and photographer Steven Foster traces the roots of common skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) adulterants, which can include inferior-grade, mislabeled, and, occasionally, potentially toxic substances. He continues with a discussion of modern cases of skullcap adulteration and suggests methods of verifying the herb's authenticity.

In a 2011 study featured in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, researchers at USDA's Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland found that of 13 skullcap-containing dietary supplements tested, all of which were purchased through the Internet, only 5 had a measurable amount of true skullcap.(2) Four supplements contained potentially toxic American germander (Teucrium canadense)—also sometimes known as wild germander, wood sage, and wild basil—which has been a known adulterant of skullcap products since the 1980s. Three supplements contained very low concentrations of skullcap and one sample contained Chinese skullcap, Scutellaria baicalensis, rather than the American species (S. lateriflora).

Skullcap (also spelled "scullcap")—which has been used for centuries as a mild sedative and so-called "nerve tonic"—received international attention in the 1990s wh
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SOURCE American Botanical Council
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