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Lady's Slipper Herb (Cypripedium Pubescens)

Lady's slipper is a perennial plant that is native to the woods and meadows of North America. The fleshy rootstock produces several round, 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. 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.

Lady's slipper is an excellent nervine and acts as a tonic to an exhausted nervous system, say Ferrell et al. in Natural Remedies Encyclopedia. "It is said to be the best nervine relied upon for chorea, epilepsy, hysteria, headache, insomnia, and general nervousness. It is good for nervous indigestion. It has no narcotic (addictive) properties. Combined with ginger and a small amount of lobelia, it can be used for nervousness associated with fevers. Combined with chamomile or dandelion, it is a useful treatment for stomach or liver problems, including hepatitis. Combined with skullcap, it is used for headaches and hysteria. It is also good for cholera, epilepsy, and nervous exhaustion."

Lady's slipper capsules can be ordered online at Viable Herbal Solutions.

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