Baicalin (Chinese skullcap) comes from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi. This anti-inflammatory herbal is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat cancer, liver disease, allergies, skin conditions, and epilepsy. Rosuvastatin (Crestor) is a member of the stain class of drugs used to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

First, the details from a study by researchers at Central South University in the People’s Republic of China

  • 18 healthy volunteers received each treatment.
  • Rosuvastatin (20 mg by mouth) plus placebo or 50-mg baicalin tablets (3 times daily for 14 days).
  • The ability to absorb rosuvastatin into the blood was determined after each treatment.

And, the results.

  • After baicalin treatment, the ability of the body to absorb rosuvastatin (bioavailability) decreased significantly.

The bottom line?
Certain people are more susceptible to this interaction. Those with the organic anion-transporting polypeptide 1B1 (OATP1B1) in their intestines experienced the greatest decrease in rosuvastatin bioavailability. Those with OATP1B1 1b/1b or 1b/15 experienced significantly less of a decrease in bioavailability.

From a practical perspective, your healthcare provider is unlikely to test for this enzyme. Therefore, all patients taking Chinese skullcap should make this information known before starting rosuvastatin treatment.

I do not know if this interaction occurs with other statins, nor how much the interaction affects the LDL cholesterol response to rosuvastatin.

9/13/07 15:14 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.