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Lady's slipper(Cypripedium acaule, Cypripedium calceolus)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 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

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.