Lady's Slipper Root

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’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 hysteria, general nervousness, delirium tremens, tension, anxiety, nervous depression, irritability, recurring headaches, and a relief from all stress. Its relaxing qualities are also considered helpful for reducing hyperactivity in children.

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. Lady’s Slipper is considered superior because it is non-narcotic.

Lady’s Slipper is considered an antispasmodic and has been helpful for relieving cramps and muscle twitches and spasms. With its additional ability to relieve nervous conditions, it has also been used in the past to ease epilepsy.

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.

As a diaphoretic, Lady’s Slipper is said to increase perspiration, which ultimately cools the body and eases intermittent fevers.

Properties and Uses: The roots of these plants are the medicinal part, and were introduced to practice by Dr. S. Thomson–with whom they formed a leading remedy. They are nearly pure relaxants, with not enough stimulation to be available. Their influence is manifested slowly, and is expended wholly upon the nervous system; and it is only through the nervous tissues that they impress other parts. Thus they belong to the pure nervines or parodynes, (§235;) and are antispasmodic, and mildly tonic to these structures.

They are used in all the multiplied forms of nervous irritability and excitement, except when arising from advancing putrescence. They. soothe and calm the entire system, easing all forms of pain growing out of local or general irritation, (§237;) and inducing quiet and usually securing sleep. They have been accused of possessing narcotic properties, but I could never detect any such impression from them; as the sleep is not accompanied by stupor, is no more profound than would naturally follow the most sanative relief from protracted pain or nervous agitation, is associated with a warm and gentle perspiration, and is not followed by ,any suppression of the secretions or feelings of languor. Such facts are not indicative of narcotism, (§90;) or else all forms of relief from suffering and excitement must be of narcotism. Further, the cypripedium can not be given in quantities to stupefy acute suffering in the presence of offending substances, as opium will do; but the relief obtained from it must always be connected with such a relaxation and opening of the emunctories as will make a way of escape for injurious materials; and it is always peculiar of it that ease will not be obtained by its use, unless at the same or a previous time the system has been depurated of morbific accumulations. Hence it is a nervine only when the frame has been, or is being, rid of such offending elements as would provoke the restlessness; and that fact alone shows how wide is the difference between this agent and any narcotic. The cypripedium itself aids somewhat in this depurative work, as is made known by a mild increase of perspiration, diuresis, and even alvine action, in connection with its use; but its influence on the secernents is too indirect and feeble to accomplish much elimination, and hence this remedy is then combined, or used coetaneous with such agents as influence those secreting organs that need assistance in each particular case.

From this nature of the article, its use can at once be seen to be very wide and peculiar. In hysteria through all its varied forms, it is second to no remedy; in headache, sleeplessness, and restlessness, when proceeding from feebleness and irritability of either the nerve centers or peripheries, it is an admirable agent; and in chorea, neuralgia, neuralgic rheumatism, and the restlessness of the later stages of typhus, typhoid, bilious, and intermittent fever, (after the secretions have been well influenced,) it is a valuable adjunct to other treatment. It is not relied upon alone in these cases, but is used as the nervine associate of such remedies as may be indicated. Thus, in hysteria of a sub-acute and chronic character, it is combined with liriodendron, aralia racemosa, etc.; in hysterical convulsions or other acute forms of this malady, with asafoetida, zingiber, or lobelia; in rheumatism, with xanthoxylum or phytolacca berries; in painful menstruation, with anthemis, caulophyllum, and zingiber; in febrile cases, with asclepias, zingiber, and other diaphoretics; in colic and painful flatulence, with dioscorea and anise; in delirium tremens and subsultus tendinum, with capsicum and ginger; and in like manner a moderate portion of it may be used in company with a large variety of remedies–the cypripedium being employed for the nervous irritability. It is an excellent antispasmodic, but nearly always needs to be combined with some stimulant, (§245;) and when combined with the leaves of rubus and a very small quantity of capsicum, forms one of the most reliable compounds in parturition where the nervous system becomes weary and the uterine efforts lag. Directed to the uterus by such an agent as trillium, (§265,) it affords great relief in after pains.

The article fully merits all the praise here given it. It is not so powerful as the foreign valerian, nor so active upon the brain centers in procuring sleep; but it is less unpleasant in taste, (though still quite slowly nauseous to some stomachs,) and more tonic in action. Yet cypripedium will disappoint the practitioner who relies upon it alone as a tonic for chronic cases of nervousness; for it is too relaxing to serve such a case. So also it is not to be relied on alone in the restlessness of putrescence, of low typhus, of congestive chills, and similar states of great depression, unless associated with an excess of the positive and permanent stimulants–as capsicum with hydrastis, and quinia when the case needs this with capsicum. Physicians too many times overlook the slow and nearly pure relaxing qualities of cypripedium, and so fail to apply it properly, (§55, 261, 262.) The cases where it alone is needed are really few; but its combination in moderate quantities with tonics and stimulants of such grades as the case in hand requires, enables it to fill a very great number of important requirements. Its nauseating-relaxing action is well covered, and its diffusion aided, by the addition of such articles as orange peel, fennel seed, or ginger.

Dose of the powder, ten to thirty grains every four hours. It is sometimes given in much larger quantities at longer intervals, and in smaller quantities at shorter intervals; but when given as a powder, it retains its influence about four hours, and the above range will be found to include the most serviceable dose. It may be administered in mucilage by injection, along with lobelia, ginger, or capsicum, as needed, to very great advantage.