(The Cypripediums are rare and endangered orchids. Don't use them unless you grow them yourself. -Henriette.)
The rhizome and rootlets of Cypripedium pubescens, Swartz; and of Cypripedium parviflorum, Salisbury. (Nat. Ord. Orchidaceae.) Rich woods of the United States. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Names: (1) Ladies' Slipper, Yellow Ladies' Slipper, American Valerian, Yellow Mocassin Flower, Nerve Root; (2) Small-flowered Ladies' Slipper.
Principal Constituents.—A volatile oil, tannin and gallic acids, a volatile acid, resins, and inorganic salts.
Preparation.—Specific Medicine Cypripedium. Dose, 5 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications.—Insomnia, nervous irritability, neuralgia and delirium, all from atony; restlessness and muscular twitching, typhomania and tremors in low forms of fever; wakefulness from mental unrest; menstrual irregularities, with despondency; tendency to dementia at the climacteric; mental depression from sexual abuse.
Action and Therapy.—All of the species of Cypripedium resemble valerian in their effects. They are excellent nerve stimulants for weak women and nervous children. They improve a feeble circulation and increase the innervating power of weakened nerve centers. Though comparatively feeble agents, they are nevertheless important medicines, being of that type of drugs which silently do great good without marked physiological disturbance.
Cypripedium is an ideal tranquilizer for states of nervous excitability or irritability depending upon atony. It dispels gloom, induces a calm and cheerful state of mind, and by thus inducing mental tranquillity favors restful sleep. When nervous irritability is caused reflexly by pelvic disorders it is especially a useful drug. If due to organic disease it is less effectual than in merely functional disorders.
We value cypripedium highly for the hypochondria of the menopause. We have been able to accomplish more with it than any drug except pulsatilla in worry, with fear of disaster or insanity, in women passing through this phase of life. It is useful in melancholia and sleeplessness due to menstrual irregularities, after prolonged and severe pain, and in those the result of nocturnal losses. It relieves the nervous unrest attending gleet, and the sexual erethism of debility. In the typhomania and tremors of low fevers it is a safe and often effectual drug, but like all others in these conditions it frequently fails to give relief. It acts well after long sieges of exhausting diseases to give nerve tone and allay the nervous manifestations of general debility. An excellent soothing syrup for irritable children, especially during dentition, was proposed by Scudder: Rx. Specific Medicine Cypripedium and Compound Tincture of Lavender, each 3 fluidrachms; Specific Medicine Lobelia, 1 fluidrachm; Simple Syrup, enough to make 3 fluidounces. Mix. Sig.: Dose, 5 to 20 drops. If nausea occurs lessen the amount of, or omit the lobelia.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.