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  Showy Lady's Slipper Flowers for Foods, Drinks, Health and Beauty  

NEW! Pharmacopeia of Flowers: Foods, Drinks, Health & Beauty

Showy Lady's Slipper Flowers (Cinderella)

Lady's-Slipper (also lady's slipper) noun
an orchid of north temperate regions, the flower of which has a lip that is a conspicuous slipper-shaped pouch.
showy lady’s-slipper
• Genus Cypripedium, family Orchidaceae: several species, in particular the large-pouched showy lady’s-slipper (C. reginae), with bicolored (white and rose) flowers, and the pink lady’s-slipper (C. acaule), with a deeply cleft dark pink or (rarely) white pouch.

Orchid |ˈôrkid| noun
a plant with complex flowers that are typically showy or bizarrely shaped, having a large specialized lip (labellum) and frequently a spur. Orchids occur worldwide, esp. as epiphytes in tropical forests, and are valuable hothouse plants.
• Family Orchidaceae: numerous genera and species.
• the flowering stem of a cultivated orchid.
orchidist |-ist| noun
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from modern Latin Orchid(ac)eae, formed irregularly from Latin orchis (see orchis).

Showy Lady's Slipper Flowers

A brightly-colored orchid that has one or sometimes two blossoms on a single stem. White petals sit on top of a white pouch (slipper) streaked with pink. Hairy oval leaves clasp the stem.

The Showy Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium reginae), also known as the Pink-and-white Lady's-slipper or the Queen's Lady's-slipper, is a rare terrestrial temperate lady's-slipper orchid native to northern North America. The species name reginae is Latin for "of a queen". Common names include Fairy Queen, Queen's Lady Slipper, Showy Lady's Slipper, White Wing Moccasin, Pink Lady's Slipper, Royal Lady's Slipper Female, Nervine and Silver-Slipper. The lady's slipper is also known in the United States of America as the moccasin flower, from its resemblance to a moccasin.

Length: one to two feet tall.

Color: Pink, red, white, and green.

Lady's slipper orchids (also known as lady slipper orchids or slipper orchids) are orchids in the subfamily Cypripedioideae, which includes the genera Cypripedium, Mexipedium, Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Selenipedium. They are characterised by the slipper-shaped pouches (modified labellums) of the flowers – the pouch traps insects so they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia, thus fertilizing the flower. Unlike other orchids, Cypripedioideae have two fertile anthers — they are "diandrous".

The lady's slipper flowers from early June to mid-July. It flowers best in bright sunlight, although it will grow in semi-shaded areas. In its first year, this orchid grows only as tall as a pencil point. Each year, the lady's slipper may produce a half-million seeds, which are as fine as flour dust. This flower has a long life span; some may be 100 years old.

The lady's slipper grows in spruce and tamarack bogs, swamps, wet meadows, wet prairies, and cool, damp woods. It may be found anywhere in Minnesota where these habitats exist.

Despite producing a large amount of seeds per seed pod, it reproduces largely by vegetative reproduction, and remains restricted to the North East region of the United States and south east regions of Canada. Although never common, this rare plant has vanished from much of its historical range due to habitat loss. It has been a subject of horticultural interest for many years with Charles Darwin who like many, were unsuccessful in cultivating the plant.

Showy Lady's Slipper

Lady's Slipper Flower Health Warning

Some people can get a rash from touching the leaves of this pretty orchid.

Cypripedium reginae contains an irritant, phenanthrene quinone or cypripedin. The plant is known to cause severe dermatitis on the hands and face. The first report of the allergy reaction was first reported in 1875 by H. H. Babcock in the United States, 35 years before the term "allergy" was coined. The allergen was later isolated in West Germany by Bjorn M. Hausen and associates.

DESCRIPTION: Lady's slipper is usually used in combination with other herbs, especially valerian. It's available as a liquid extract, powdered root, dried root, tea, and tincture. It contains B-Complex.

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: Lady's slipper species may contain volatile oils, tannins, and quinones. These constituents may be responsible for the herb's effect on bleeding, diarrhea, menorrhagia, and pruritus. Also reported are experiences with sedation, giddiness, and headache. Hallucinations and restlessness have also been reported, as has contact dermatitis. Because of the sedative effect of lady's slipper, use with other sedatives or hypnotics may cause increased drowsiness. Lady's slipper should not be used by patients allergic to orchids or those prone to headaches. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not use Lady's Slipper.

POTENTIAL BENEFITS: Lady's Slipper acts as a tonic for the exhausted nervous system. It has a calming effect on the body and mind. It is said to be the most excellent and safest nervine in the plant kingdom. Used for twitching muscles. Tends to work slowly but has been widely reported to work. It is also used as a pain reliever. Lady's Slipper is made into a tea for nervousness, headaches, insomnia, and emotional tension. It's also a mild sedative and hypnotic. It's GI antispasmodic effects may be useful in the treatment of diarrhea. Lady's slipper is also used for menorrhagia and topically for pruritus.


GENERAL USAGE: Dried root made into an infusion: 2g to 4g by mouth 3x a day.
Extract: (1:1 in water or 45% ethanol): 2mL to 4mL by mouth 3x a day.

The Cypripedium species has been used in native remedies for dermatitis, tooth aches, anxiety, headaches, as an antispasmodic, stimulant and sedative, depression. However the preferred species for use are C.caceolus and C.acaule, used as topical applications or tea.

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.

Colonial Uses

When colonists first began arriving in the New World, they had to replace some of their common England-based herbal remedies with plants that were more readily available. According to Herbs 2000, one of these substitutions was lady's slipper root for valerian. Women and children in Europe took valerian tea to calm their nerves; colonists discovered that lady's slipper root had a similar effect. By the mid-19th century, American doctors prescribed lady's slipper for hysteria and epilepsy in addition to frazzled nerves and headaches.

Modern Uses

Modern herbalists, according to Herbs 2000 and Health Library, prescribe lady's slipper primarily for insomnia and anxiety. It can also help treat headaches, as it did in colonial America, and may be a mild treatment for depression and panic attacks. Since lady's slipper is protected in some parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom, it's used sparingly in most herbalist practices.


Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to lady's slipper. Contact with the leaves of lady's slipper may cause contact dermatitis. The stem of the showy lady's slipper, Cypripedium reginae, is covered with hairs containing a fatty acid that may cause blistering similar to that caused by poison ivy.

Side Effects and Warnings

Adverse effects of lady's slipper are not well documented in the available literature. Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), hallucinations, and restlessness are possible side effects, although the frequency and duration of these effects are unknown. Large doses have been associated with giddiness, restlessness, headache, and mental excitement. The stem of a related species, the showy lady's slipper (Cypripedium reginae), is covered with hairs containing a fatty acid that may cause blistering similar to that caused by poison ivy, although it is unclear if other species would have the same effect.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Lady's slipper is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions with Drugs

Ladies slipper contains quinines, which may have an additive effect when taken concomitantly with other quinine-containing agents, often used to treat malaria.

Lady's slipper is thought to contain tannins, glycosides, resins, and quinines. Patients taking cardiac glycosides or digoxin should use with caution.

Based on traditional use, lady's slipper may have additive effects when used with other sedatives.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Lady's slipper is thought to contain tannins, glycosides, resins, and quinines. Patients taking herbs with cardiac glycoside-like effects, such as foxglove, should use with caution. Also, those taking herbs with high tannin content should also use with caution.

Lady's slipper contains quinines, which may have an additive effect with other quinine containing herbs.

Based on traditional use, lady's slipper may have additive effects when used with other sedatives. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs such as valerian or chamomile.

Showy Lady's Slipper Flower Side

Lady's Slipper Flower Foods

The Lady's Slipper is eaten by white-tailed deer.


Lady's Slipper Flower Root Tea

The lady's slipper orchid grows native to the northeastern United States and, according to Native Tech, gets its name from the moccasin-shaped flower grown on the end of its stalk. The Native Americans valued this flower for its medicinal uses, as did the early American colonisists. When dried and steeped as a tea, lady's slipper relieves a number of bodily ailments and is still used in holistic and herbal medicine.

The Cypripedium species has been used in native remedies for dermatitis, tooth aches, anxiety, headaches, as an antispasmodic, stimulant and sedative, depression. However the preferred species for use are C.caceolus and C.acaule, used as topical applications or tea.

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.

Lady's Slipper Roots Tea Consumption

To brew your own lady's slipper infusion, add about 1 tsp. dried roots to 8 oz. boiling water. Let the mixture steep for 10 to 15 minutes and sweeten as you like. The brew can taste very bitter, so you may want to add a few spoonfuls of honey, agave nectar or another favorite sweetener.

Lady's slipper also comes in tincture form, which is a very concentrated distillate of the herbs. Since the tincture is so concentrated, only drip about 3ml of the tincture into hot water.

Lady's Slipper Roots Tea Dosage

According to Herbs 2000, you may take one cup of lady's slipper tea as needed throughout the day. The infusion is non-toxic, though you should always consult your doctor or a licensed herbalist before dosing yourself with herbs.

You can enjoy the tincture 3x a day. Again, consult your doctor before dosing yourself with the tincture.

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.

Showy Lady's Slipper Flowers

Minnesota's State Flower

It is the state flower of Minnesota, United States and was also proposed to be the provincial flower of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The plant became the state flower of Minnesota in 1902 and was protected by state law in 1925. It is illegal to pick or uproot a Showy Lady Slipper flower in Minnesota. The showy lady's slipper is Minnesota's state flower. Since 1925, the state has regulated the collection and commercial sale of this species. The showy lady's-slipper is one of 43 orchid species that grow in Minnesota. Many people consider it the most beautiful flower in the state.

The lady's slipper is uncommon in Minnesota. Population can be hurt by wetland drainage, road construction, tree cuttings, and illegal picking and uprooting. In addition, herbicides used on roadside areas can kill these plants. The best management is to protect the lady's-slipper's native habitat.

Cypripedium reginae is quite rare, and is considered imperiled (SRANK S2) or critically imperiled (S1) in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Newfoundland and Labrador, North Dakota, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Additionally, it is considered vulnerable (S3) in Indiana, Maine, Manitoba, Massachusetts, New York, Quebec, Vermont, Minnesota, Wisconsin and several areas of east Canada.


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.



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