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Lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule, Cypripedium calceolus)

Generic Name: lady's slipper

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

American false-hellebore (Veratrum viride), American valerian, bleeding heart, Cyripedium, Cypripedium acaule, Cypripedium calceolus, Cypripedium californicum, Cypripedium candidum, Cypripedium fasciculatum, Cypripedium flavum, Cypripedium guttatum, Cypripedium japonicum, Cypripedium montanum, Cypripedium pubescens, Cypripedium tibeticum, English lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), Indian valerian, Japanese lady's slipper (Cypripedium japonicum), ladies slipper, lady's slipper, moccasin flower, monkey flower, Noah's ark, Orchidaceae (family), pink lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule), ram's-head lady's-slipper (Cypripedium arietinum), queen's lady slipper, showy lady's slipper (Cypripedium reginae), slipper root, spotted lady's slipper (Cypripedium guttatum), stemless lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule), two lips, venus shoe, virgin's shoe, yellow lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), yellows, nerve root.

Note: Do not confuse Calypso bulbose (Cypripedium bulbosum) and Cypripedium parviflorum, which are related species also known as lady's slipper.

Background

Lady's slipper is a wildflower in the orchid family (Orchidaceae). Yellow lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), named American valerian after Indian valerian (Valeriana wallichii), which comes from India, shares similar medical properties with pink lady's slipper. Once commonly used to treat various nervous disorders, it is a mild stimulant and is antispasmodic. Lady's slipper has been described in the folklore as a stimulant and a sedative, and no reports are currently available to confirm these opposite proposed actions. It is also often used to treat depression related to female problems. Having been almost wiped out by collectors for such medical use, it is now too rare to be used medically.

Pink lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule) was considered a substitute for the preferred yellow lady's slipper as a medicinal plant. Used as a sedative and antispasmodic, it was substituted for the European valerian. It has also been used for male and female disorders.

Presently, there are no high quality human clinical trials available evaluating the safety and efficacy of lady's slipper. However, traditional users and some herbal experts suggest that more research may be warranted to investigate the antispasmodic and sedative/stimulant actions of lady's slipper.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antispasmodic, anxiety, astringent, cramps, delirium tremens ("the shakes," an acute episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal), depression (mild), diaphoretic (promotes sweating), diarrhea, enhancing recovery from surgery or illness, hypnotic, hysteria, insomnia, menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), mood (elevate), muscle spasms, nervousness, pain, pruritus (severe itching), sedative, stimulant, stress, styptic (stops bleeding), tension (emotional), tooth pain.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

There is no proven safe or effective dose of lady's slipper. Traditionally, 2-4 grams dried rhizome/root or as tea (2-4 grams dried rhizome/root steeped in 150 milliliters of boiling water for 5-10 minutes, and then strained), has been used three times daily. A liquid extract (1:1 in 45% alcohol) of 2-4 milliliters has also been used three times daily. In capsule form, one or two 570-milligram capsules of 100% lady's slipper have been taken up to three times each day with water at mealtimes.

Children (younger than 18 years):

There is no proven safe or effective dose of lady's slipper in children, and use is not recommended.

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