Updated: Sep 23, 2019

Lady Slipper is an orchid referred to in Native American lore as Nerve Root that possesses alkaloids that act as sedatives, anti-depressants and nervines. Several variations exists, but but the one that has provided the most consistent results is Cypripedium acaule or Pink Lady’s Slipper.

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, conditions like RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) and even hyperactivity in children.

Cypripedium acaule or Pink Lady’s 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 hysteria, delirium, irritability, epilepsy, and neuralgia. The flowers and roots of this plant were included in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1863 to 1916.


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 in general.

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.

It has widely been used for centuries as a nervine and muscle relaxant and is found to be most helpful for nervous headaches, tremors, neuralgia, restless leg, insomnia, irritability, mental depression and menstrual irregularities. The efficacy of Lady Slipper increases dramatically when combined with other complementary herbs such as Valerian Root, Hops or Passionflower. It may be ingested as a powder or used to brew a hot tea. The smell and taste are reminiscent of Lavender.

If you suffer from RLS like me or any of the other above conditions and haven’t tried this, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

Lady's Slipper may be found here.

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