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Cypripedium pubescens (Orchidaceae)

LADY'S SLIPPER, AMERICAN VALERIAN, NERVE ROOT

 

This herb as passed on to Europe from the North American Indians, who knew of its root's sedative and relaxing powers, and it is now used for insomnia and anxiety.

 

Lady's slipper is a native of the eastern United States and first appeared in Europe during the 18th century. It is such an effective sedative that it was called American valerian after the European valerian renowned for its sedative properties. One of the few orchids used in medicine, it has a fleshy root and large pointed leaves on soft, glandular, hairy stems. Bright yellow' orchid flowers appear in late summer. It is found in shady, boggy, rich soils.

 

PARTS USED

Root.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Volatile oil; glycosides; resins; tannins.

 

ACTIONS

Sedative; mildly promotes sleep; reduces muscle tension and spasm.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Used in insomnia, hysteria, nervous tension, and anxiety. It is also particularly helpful as an aid to recovery from chronic conditions. Other species of orchid are prescribed in Chinese medicine for fevers, restlessness, and thirst.

 

PREPARATIONS

Decoction, infusion, tincture.

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