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Top 7 Baicalin Benefits – Chinese Skullcap, Huang Qin, Scutellaria Baicalensis, Hooded Willow Herb

Baicalin is a great herbal supplement for health benefits. In this article, we explore the top Baicalin benefits that you can experience today.

There are a number of different names that people use for Baicalin. These include the Chinese Skullcap, Huang Qin, Scutellaria baicalensis (the scientific name), and the Hooded Willow Herb. Less common names include Mad Bark and Baikal.

Baicalin has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. In the past, it was used as a tonic for longevity and to promote a healthy heart and mind. Today, Baicalin extracts are used as a powerful dietary supplement. [1]

Blue Skullcap flowers in bloom The Baicalin compound was originally extracted from the beautiful Blue Skullcap in traditional Chinese medicine.

1.    Relaxation and Stress Release - Skullcap for Calm!

Studies have suggested that Biacalin has the potential for strong stress relief and relaxation benefits. Baicalin acts on the GABA receptors in your brain, which are your body’s natural relaxation receptors. The GABA hormone is produced by your brain to promote sleep, pain-relief, and relaxation. [2]

Baicalin is specific in that it only targets the GABAA receptors (specifically alpha2- and alpha3- subtypes). This is thought to be the reason that the Baicalin benefits of relaxation and stress-relief occur without negative side effects like sedation or lethargy. [3]

Furthermore, although Baicalin is not known for producing sedative effects, researchers have found that it may enhance your sleeping patterns. Studies have found that taking Baicalin before sleep enhances both the slow wave sleep (SWS) and REM sleep phases. [4]

2.    Neuroprotection - Baicalin helps protect your brain!

Researchers have known for some time that one of the top Baicalin benefits is its ability to produce neuroprotective effects. Remarkably, Baicalin is able to protect nerve cells from damage in conditions of stress. Most importantly, this has been shown during brain ischemia – a lack of blood/oxygen supply in the brain.

There are a number of biochemical mechanisms involved in Baicalin’s neuroprotective benefits. Scientists suggest that Baicalin’s interaction with the GABA system, with heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), and with mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), are all mechanisms behind its extraordinary ability to provide protection to your brain. [5]

The top Baicalin benefits include neuroprotection Studies suggest that Baicalin is able to offer protection to your brain, even at low doses

3.    May Help to Boost Learning Capacity

Studies have indicated that Baicalin extracts may have an ability to enhance memory and learning abilities. A number of animal studies have shown improvements in focus and memory-orientated tasks after using a Baicalin extract. [6]

Researchers have even shown that Baicalin extracts may be as effective as some Nootropic substances in promoting enhanced memory and learning. For example, an animal study from 2001 found that Baicalin was as effective as Piracetam in enhancing focused attention. [7]

The exact mechanisms for the Baicalin benefits of improvement in focus and memory are still being elaborated on by scientists. There is also still a need for further research into the effects of Biacalin extract on learning in human participants as most studies have been conducted in animals. [8]

4.    Helps Promote a Healthy Circulatory System

One important way that Baicalin extracts help to promote a healthy circulatory system is by enhancing nitric oxide levels in your blood. Scientists have found that even a very low dosage of Baicalin is effective at raising nitric oxide levels. [9]

Nitric oxide is important in maintaining a health blood pressure. If your body doesn’t produce enough nitric oxide, this is known as endothelial dysfunction and is a major risk factor for hypertension and heart disease. Nitric oxide is responsible for vasodilation – expanding the diameter of your blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure. [10]

Other studies have indicated that Baicalin supplements could have the potential to help reduce the fat content in your blood. Animal studies showed that after 16 weeks of Baicalin use, animals on a high-fat diet had a lower weight and less fat accumulated in their livers than those not on Baicalin. Furthermore, the animals that were given Baicalin had significantly lower cholesterol, free fatty acid, and insulin levels in their blood. [11]

A top benefit of baicalin is the ability to promote a healthy circulatory system Research shows that Baicalin helps to support a healthy circulatory system

5.    Helps Promote Good Blood Glucose Levels

Blood sugar levels are especially important for people suffering from diabetes. However, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is also important for otherwise healthy people.

Animal studies have suggested that Baicalin may have the potential to reduce the blood sugar levels. For example, studies have found that Baicalin improve the functions of AMPK enzyme, which is known to reduce blood sugar levels. [12]

At least one study has shown that high doses of Baicalin may have similar effects to a common agent prescribed for reducing blood glucose levels in diabetics. It is possible that Baicalin is better at reducing insulin levels than blood glucose, and more studies are needed to better understand this process. [13]


6.    Helps Reduce Inflammation

Baicalin extracts have strong anti-inflammatory effects. This is especially relevant to macrophages and immune cells. Macrophages are immune cells that are involved in your body’s inflammation response. Macrophages are specifically involved in the initiation, maintenance, and resolution of inflammation. [14]

Studies have shown that extracts from the Chinese Skullcap can activate the anti-inflammatory activity of macrophages. It seems that the mechanism involved is a binding action to the estrogen receptors of macrophages. [15]

Baicalin has also been shown to interrupt the activity of chemokines in inflammation. Baicalin produces a reduction in the activity of selected chemokines. This helps to reduce the body’s inflammation. This action seems to be through Baicalin’s binding to various chemokine ligands are thereby disrupting their activity. [16]

Healthy food on table with stethoscope Baicalin is a great addition to a healthy diet in helping to promote good health

7.    Antiviral and Antibiotic Research

Baicalin has been researched for its potential effects in reducing viral replication and to act as a natural antibiotic agent. These potential Baicalin benefits are still be researched but may well prove to have useful applications in future.

For example, scientists have found that a dose of Baicalin extract is able to inhibit HIV replication, especially when combined with zinc. A Baicalin-zinc complex is able to reduce HIV activity and limit the potential of HIV-1 to enter into cells. [17]

In terms of bacterial infections, studies have shown that Baicalin may have the ability to reduce infection of some bacteria strains, including Streptococcus aureus. Baicalin binds to a compound that is released by the bacteria to improve its infection success. By binding to this compound, Baicalin is able to reduce the infection of S. Aureus.

Conclusion - Top Baicalin Benefits Explored

In conclusion, Baicalain is a powerful natural supplement and health promoter. It has a wide range of health benefits including the promotion of relaxation and stress relief, neuroprotection, and boosting memory and learning potentials. Further Baicalin benefits include promoting a healthy circulatory system, promoting a healthy blood sugar level, reducing inflammation, and possibly acting as an antiviral/antibiotic substance.

These top Baicalin benefits are all recorded in various scientific journals by prestigious scientists. However, the majority of the data today is still taken from animal studies. There is a need for more studies on the effects of Baicalin in humans. Specifically, how do the Baicalin benefits elucidated in animal models prove to work in humans?

One thing for sure is that this ancient plant species has a great range of potential benefits for those who use it. Baicalin benefits are great for people of all ages. Baicalin is a remarkably safe dietary compound with a history of use that dates back to traditional Chinese medicine thousands of years ago.

Baicalin - Blue Skullcap - Huang Qin - used in TCM Baicalin was originally an important part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)


[1]Scutellaria baicalensis”, Examine.com, accessed April 27, 2017

[2] M Watanabe et al., “GABA and GABA receptors in the central nervous system and other organs”, Int Rev Cytol. 2002;213:1-47.

[3] F Wang et al., “GABA A receptor subtype selectivity underlying selective anxiolytic effect of baicalin”, Neuropharmacology. 2008 Dec;55(7):1231-7.

[4] HH Chang et al., “Biphasic effects of baicalin, an active constituent of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, in the spontaneous sleep-wake regulation”, J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 May 17;135(2):359-68.

[5]  J Dai et al., “Activations of GABAergic signaling, HSP70 and MAPK cascades are involved in baicalin's neuroprotection against gerbil global ischemia/reperfusion injury”, Brain Res Bull. 2013 Jan;90:1-9.

[6] HR Song et al., “Scutellaria flavonoid supplementation reverses ageing-related cognitive impairment and neuronal changes in aged rats”, Brain Inj. 2009 Feb;23(2):146-53.

[7] YZ Shang et al., “Improving effects of SSF on memory deficits and pathological changes of neural and immunological systems in senescent mice”, Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2001 Dec;22(12):1078-83.

[8] C Chen et al., “Baicalin attenuates Alzheimer-like pathological changes and memory deficits induced by amyloid β1–42 protein”, Metabolic Brain Disease, April 2015, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 537–544

[9] Z Chen et al., “Identification of a nitric oxide generation-stimulative principle in Scutellariae radix”, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(3):657-9. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

[10] M Hermann et al., “Nitric oxide in hypertension”, J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2006 Dec;8(12 Suppl 4):17-29.

[11] HX Guo et al., “Long-term baicalin administration ameliorates metabolic disorders and hepatic steatosis in rats given a high-fat diet”, Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2009 Nov;30(11):1505-12

[12] Y Xi et al., “Baicalin Attenuates High Fat Diet-Induced Obesity and Liver Dysfunction: Dose-Response and Potential Role of CaMKKβ/AMPK/ACC Pathway”, Cell Physiol Biochem. 2015;35(6):2349-59.

[13] VY Waisundara et al., “Scutellaria baicalensis enhances the anti-diabetic activity of metformin in streptozotocin-induced diabetic Wistar rats”, Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(3):517-40.

[14] N Fujiwara, K Kobayashi,  “Macrophages in inflammation”, Curr Drug Targets Inflamm Allergy. 2005 Jun;4(3):281-6.

[15] GW Fan et al., “Anti-inflammatory activity of baicalein in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages via estrogen receptor and NF-κB-dependent pathways”, Inflammation. 2013 Dec;36(6):1584-91

[16] BQ Li et al., “The flavonoid baicalin exhibits anti-inflammatory activity by binding to chemokines”, Immunopharmacology. 2000 Sep;49(3):295-306.

[17] Q Wang et al., “Zinc coupling potentiates anti-HIV-1 activity of baicalin”, Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Nov 12;324(2):605-10.