The root of Lady’s Slipper is called “Nature’s Tranquilizer” and is used primarily as a gentle tonic to calm the nerves and ease tension, anxiety, and stress. Often called the American Valerian, it is also thought to relieve depression, recurring headaches, and hyperactivity in children.
Lady Slipper Description
Lady’s Slipper is a perennial plant that is native to the woods and meadows of North America. The fleshy rootstock produces several rounds, hairy stems with alternate leaves and characteristic golden-yellow flowers, lined with purple, blooming from May to July.
This beautiful member of the orchid family has a characteristic lower lip that forms an inflated sac, which suggests the shape of a moccasin, thereby giving the plant one of its common names, Moccasin Flower.
Lady’s Slipper is a pungent, bittersweet herb with an unpleasant odor and thrives in moist, humus-rich soil in an open or shady situation, growing to about two feet in height. Like many other native orchids, Lady’s Slipper is becoming increasingly rare, and its history as an ornamental is as rich as its distinguished medicinal past.
History of Lady Slipper
The plant was widely employed by Native Americans as a tranquilizer, and the early settlers found that it was a good substitute for the garden heliotrope (Valerian) that women and children had used as a sedative in Europe.
They began to refer to the plant as American Valerian, and by the mid-nineteenth century, doctors were prescribing the root for
Although called American Valerian, because of its calming properties, Lady’s Slipper is less potent than Valerian, and the roots of several varieties of this plant (Cypripedium pubescens/ larger and Cypripedium parviflorum/ smaller) were included in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1863 to 1916.
Lady’s Slipper is a complex resinoid substance and includes cypridenin.
Lady Slipper Medicinal Uses
Lady Slipper for the nervous system
Lady’s Slipper is mainly used as a nervine and tonic that gently strengthens the functional activity of the nervous system.
As such, it has been used by generations to relieve:
- General nervousness
- Delirium tremens
- Nervous depression
- Recurring headaches
- Relief from all stress
Its relaxing qualities are also considered helpful for reducing hyperactivity in children.
Lady Slipper for sleep
As a mild sedative, Lady’s Slipper is said to be effective in easing chronic insomnia and restlessness and is especially useful during those times when “the brain just won’t shut off,” and it allows sleep. It is considered superior because it is non-narcotic.
Lady’s Slipper for antispasmodic conditions
The plant Lady’s Slipper is considered an antispasmodic and has been helpful for relieving cramps and muscle twitches and spasms.
Lady’s Slipper for epilepsy
With its additional ability to relieve nervous conditions, it has also been used in the past to ease epilepsy.
Lady’s Slipper for pain
Lady’s Slipper helps to relieve neuralgia, which is a severe, throbbing, or stabbing pain along the course of a nerve. It is also thought to be useful in relieving Bell’s Palsy.
Lady’s Slipper for fevers
As a diaphoretic, Lady’s Slipper is said to increase perspiration, which ultimately cools the body and eases intermittent fevers.
Lady Slipper Precautions
Overuse (many times the recommended dose) may cause hallucinations. Handling the plant may cause an allergic reaction.