Chinese skullcap seems to correct PEM/the energy problem in ME

msf

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Hey, another update:

Chinese skullcap is still remarkably effective. I spent most of last week exercising, and didn't get any PEM, despite doing both pretty intense cardio (walking quickly or cycling up very steep hills) and weights most days. I took some skullcap before my walk or ride for that day, and supplemented with 600 mg or so of alpha lipoic acid before the hills, and did the same for the weights session (the skullcap isn't really as portable, and I'm trying not to use too much). Then last weekend I went to a boxing class. This was definitely the hardest work out I have done since I got ME, and was obviously hard for the rest of the class too, even without ME. It was effectively a whole hour of what previously would have counted as over-exertion for me, but again, no PEM, just the expected stiffness from no those using particular muscles for a long time.

I would have only been able to do maybe half this much, and then only by being careful and pacing myself, if I had not added Chinese skullcap to the other things I listed above. It really has been a game changer for me: I can now exercise normally once again, which was the only thing tha was stopping me from getting on with my life before.

I mention all this not to make others jealous, but to encourage everyone to at least try Chinese skullcap; I have found that the gut side of things is very important too, as is sleep, but this has pretty much solved my energy problems.
 
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Hi @msf

This is remarkable, glad it's working for you. How much exercise were you able to do before you started the skullcap - you menton half - so 30 minutes of free weights? Prior to the skullcap which supplement or treatment do you think allowed you tod o the 30 minutes? I would love to know as I am trying a variety of things at the moment, epsom salt spray, active b12 oil, GcMAF. Thanks.

I have been taken a 14:1 reishi extract on and off for about 10 days, I managed to exert myself yesterday and the only PEM I got was aches and pains behind the eyes and a tiny bit of muscle fatigue in my legs. Thismorning I feel ok, I haven't taken any tablets today yet, but this was the effect. I actually took 1.5g of BCAA's with the reishi to be clear, but I know this no longer PEM blocks on its own. It's not that it doesn't work, my ME has just got worse over the last 12 months and it's no longer sufficient. It makes me wonder if the reishi is working in a similair way to skullcap. There are dozens of studies showing reishi's macrophage and immune stimulation. I wonder of skullcap is stimulating macrophages like GcMAF?

I'll certainly give it a go when deliveries resume. Currently if I want anything outside of the UK, or even in the UK for certain suppliers the lead time is still 4 weeks. Unavailable here: https://1stchineseherbs.com/scutellaria-baicalensis-root-huang-qin-cut-1-lb-plum-flower/ and other UK suppliers are only showing the root powdered up which seems a bit contradictory.

I'll have to keep waiting. I did try 10ml of the tincture 3x a day, didn't notice any real difference in PEM but to be fair I think 50ml of the tincture would have been a more adequate test.
 
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Wishful

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Since skullcap seems to work for you similarly to cumin for me, I googled the two together and found that they both reduce agglomeration of alpha-synuclein. A-syn was something I posted earlier as a possibility for why cumin worked, and something that could explain some of our ME symptoms.

This paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5983024/ lists a few other chemicals that work in similar ways. Honokiol, from magnolia bark is one of them, and there have been several mentions of that here on PR (mostly about sleep, but it took me years to realize that cumin was blocking my PEM, because I was mostly avoiding PEM-induction). A-syn might be involved with sleep, or sleep disorders, because it's one of the waste products that sleep is supposed to flush out during deep sleep.

Maybe it's just a coincidence, but maybe it's something that researchers should think about.
 

Hip

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Herbs have hundreds of active compounds with synergistic effects, so I'd say it's very difficult to pinpoint a particular mechanism as the cause. According to this source, the root of Chinese skullcap has a baicalin concentration of around 8-15%, but it also contains several other flavonoids.

The chickens in the study were fed 450 mg pure baicalin per kilogram. Going by the above mentioned concentration, this would equal a minimum of around 7 grams per kilogram of Chinese skullcap root. The animal doses don't convert proportionally to human doses and I don't have the conversion data at my hands, but it's safe to say you would need tens if not hundreds of grams of Chinese skullcap root to get the same amount of active baicalin as the chickens in that paper, which I think wouldn't be very safe.
The animal-to-human mg/kg dose conversion factors are given in the useful Table 1 on page 7 of this document.

Unfortunately chickens are not included in the table, but the nearest animal by size on this table I think would be a rabbit, which has a conversion figure of 3.1. So we need to divide the chicken mg/kg dose by 3.1 to get the human mg/kg dose.

In the study, the chickens were given 450 mg/kg, so the equivalent human dose would be 450 / 3.1 = 145 mg/kg. So then if you consider a 75 kg human, that would be a dose of approximately 11 grams of baicalin. That is a lot of baicalin.

If we assume Chinese skullcap root contains 12% baicalin, it would equate to a dose of 92 grams of root.



In this rat study they found 120 mg/kg of oral baicalin had mitochondrial benefits. That dose converts to a human equivalent of 1400 mg of baicalin for a 75 kg person. That is a more feasible dose to take. It would equate to a dose of 12 grams of root.



Note that you can buy 95% pure baicalin from LifeMode, costing $19 for 20 grams.
 

Hip

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@msf, I'd like to add your experience with Chinese skullcap in the PEM Busters thread.


Usually in that thread I try to classify whether a substance is a PEM shielder or a PEM reliever:
PEM shielders — help prevent PEM from occurring in the first place. PEM shielders only work properly when taken as a preventative medication before you engage in physical or mental exertion.

PEM relievers — mitigate the severity and duration of PEM only when taken after the exertion has occurred, where the PEM may already have begun to manifest.

From your account so far, I get the impression you find Chinese skullcap to be a PEM shielder: ie. you have to take it before you exert yourself in order for it to protect you from PEM. Would that be correct?
 

msf

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Hi @msf

This is remarkable, glad it's working for you. How much exercise were you able to do before you started the skullcap - you menton half - so 30 minutes of free weights? Prior to the skullcap which supplement or treatment do you think allowed you tod o the 30 minutes? I would love to know as I am trying a variety of things at the moment, epsom salt spray, active b12 oil, GcMAF. Thanks.

I have been taken a 14:1 reishi extract on and off for about 10 days, I managed to exert myself yesterday and the only PEM I got was aches and pains behind the eyes and a tiny bit of muscle fatigue in my legs. Thismorning I feel ok, I haven't taken any tablets today yet, but this was the effect. I actually took 1.5g of BCAA's with the reishi to be clear, but I know this no longer PEM blocks on its own. It's not that it doesn't work, my ME has just got worse over the last 12 months and it's no longer sufficient. It makes me wonder if the reishi is working in a similair way to skullcap. There are dozens of studies showing reishi's macrophage and immune stimulation. I wonder of skullcap is stimulating macrophages like GcMAF?

I'll certainly give it a go when deliveries resume. Currently if I want anything outside of the UK, or even in the UK for certain suppliers the lead time is still 4 weeks. Unavailable here: https://1stchineseherbs.com/scutellaria-baicalensis-root-huang-qin-cut-1-lb-plum-flower/ and other UK suppliers are only showing the root powdered up which seems a bit contradictory.

I'll have to keep waiting. I did try 10ml of the tincture 3x a day, didn't notice any real difference in PEM but to be fair I think 50ml of the tincture would have been a more adequate test.
It's not quite as exact as that. As I said in my blog, skullcap allows me to exercise freely again - before I might exercise for an hour, but if I started to over-exert myself I would lie down and do breathing exercises to get my heart rate (and thus respiratory rate) back within the limit at which PEM did not occur. I do not have to do that anymore, at least I haven't even doing exercise that would be full-on for most healthy 35 year olds.

Prior to the skullcap the supplements I listed above where the ones that got me to that point, along with treating existing infections/the gut a la KDM. In terms of exercise though, I only really made progress after reading the PDC study by the authors of the Rituximab studies, and trying first DCA (effective in terms of exercise, but gave me peripheral neuropathy, and I still did not feel healthy while taking it), and then ALA (less effective, but less side effects too). Previously my work out formula would be: 1200mg ALA before, 600mg after, sodium bicarbonate before, BCAA before. I still take the ALA and BCAA, but the skullcap has allowed me to not bother with the sodium bicarbonate, which seemed to make me feel lethargic after taking it.

I'm pretty sure skullcap works as I suggested in terms of the exercise, but it doubtless has many other effects on the body too (it is an Nfkb inhibitor, for example).
 

msf

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The animal-to-human mg/kg dose conversion factors are given in the useful Table 1 on page 7 of this document.

Unfortunately chickens are not included in the table, but the nearest animal by size on this table I think would be a rabbit, which has a conversion figure of 3.1. So we need to divide the chicken mg/kg dose by 3.1 to get the human mg/kg dose.

In the study, the chickens were given 450 mg/kg, so the equivalent human dose would be 450 / 3.1 = 145 mg/kg. So then if you consider a 75 kg human, that would be a dose of approximately 11 grams of baicalin. That is a lot of baicalin.

If we assume Chinese skullcap root contains 12% baicalin, it would equate to a dose of 92 grams of root.



In this rat study they found 120 mg/kg of oral baicalin had mitochondrial benefits. That dose converts to a human equivalent of 1400 mg of baicalin for a 75 kg person. That is a more feasible dose to take. It would equate to a dose of 12 grams of root.



Note that you can buy 95% pure baicalin from LifeMode, costing $19 for 20 grams.
Thanks for trying to working out. I did some back of the envelope calculations, but then just decided to test empirically by taking the largest recommended dose of skullcap, which as I say had a very obvious effect.
 

msf

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@msf, I'd like to add your experience with Chinese skullcap in the PEM Busters thread.


Usually in that thread I try to classify whether a substance is a PEM shielder or a PEM reliever:



From your account so far, I get the impression you find Chinese skullcap to be a PEM shielder: ie. you have to take it before you exert yourself in order for it to protect you from PEM. Would that be correct?
Definitely a PEM shielder, in that it shields me pretty much completely from PEM when taken before exercise.
 

msf

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Hi @gregh286

As I said above somewhere, I previously took one or two capsules a day with no noticeable effect. I have seen studies where brewing increased absorption, so that may not be too suprising. I will try to get my hands on some kitchen scales so I let people know how much of the root I'm taking each time.

I am still doing well thanks, although I had to give up the exercise for a couple of days due to a small amount of PEM. As I mentioned above, the skullcap seems to be a very effective PEM blocker, but does not seem to get rid of the problem at source. This time I went to the boxing class on Saturday like last time, but decided to stay out until the early morning and have a few drinks. The next day I felt pretty tired and rested, but the next day I decided to see if the skullcap would allow me to exercise while I was suffering from PEM. It actually did allow me to get through the work out, but I still crashed to a certain degree afterwards (although not as bad as I have done previously without skullcap, even when I wasn't suffering from PEM to begin with). My sleep and gut were disrupted to a degree that I won't try this again, but I still managed to get through the work day pretty normally, when in the past it would be a write-off.

My conclusion, based on the theory I pulled together in my blog: the skullcap prevents the immune response to bacterial endotoxin derived from increased gut permeability after exercise, and subsequent impairment of Complex V. It either does this by acting on the immune cells directly or possibly by acting on the muscles themselves (or perhaps even the gut cells), or on both. If the gut permeability is not increased to begin with (at least not over the baseline ME state) then a traditional dose of skullcap is sufficient in some individuals to prevent PEM despite rigorous exercise. If, however, the gut permeability is already increased, or increases during the period of recovery, whether from eating the wrong foods or drinking alcohol, then a traditional dose of skullcap is not sufficient to entirely prevent PEM, although it may reduce its severity.

Given this, I would not expect skullcap to entirely prevent PEM in ME patients who still have severe gut problems, although it is likely to reduce the severity of PEM to a certain degree. For those patients, it is likely that they would need to address the gut permeability first before they would be able to avoid PEM entirely with a traditional dose of skullcap. I would suggest that those patients try the FODMAP diet first, or a similar kind of elimination diet, as this was the most effective intervention I have tried for the gut, and only then look at more complicated ways to treat the gut such as taking antibiotics and probiotics. I also think that sleep issues would need to be addressed by something like Trazodone before the body will be able to recover from exercise in a normal way.

NB/ I will add the above theorising to both my blog since it seems quite pertinent.
 
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msf

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oook, where do you get the plant.
In chinese medicine stores, as I mentioned above, or perhaps on the internet, although it is a good idea to make sure you find a reputable source in both cases, as other things are sometimes mixed with it that can contribute to any hepatoxicity.
 

msf

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Again, I don't have kitchen scales at the moment, so I can't tell you how much I use everyday exactly. The traditional dose in Chinese medicine is 3-9g, so I would try to keep within that range, at least at first.

It isn't tea. If tea significantly improved ME symptoms there would be more people espousing its beneficial effects. If I said tea before it would have been more accurate to say herbal infusion.
 

stefanosstef

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Sorry for asking again about the dosage but you describe "cross-sectional parts of the root" so I imagined something mοre like herbal tea, with stems, nodes and flowers.I'll try the recommended weight then and report here.