Herb: Nerve Root


Latin name: Cypripedium acaule


Synonyms: Fissipes acaulis


Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)



Medicinal use of Nerve Root:

The root is antispasmodic, nervine, sedative, tonic. It is said to be the equivalent of Valerian, Valeriana officinalis, in treating nervous complaints, sleeplessness etc. The roots have also been used in the treatment of menstrual disorders, stomach aches, kidney and urinary tract disorders and venereal disease. An infusion of the dried tuber is used, the tubers are harvested in the autumn. The active ingredients are not water-soluble.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
40 cm
(1 foot)

Flovering:
May to
June

Habitat of the herb:

Usually found in the higher and dryer parts of coniferous woods, often in a thin layer of pine needles over rocks, it is also sometimes found in bogs and wet places.

Propagation of Nerve Root:

Seed - surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division with care in early spring, the plants resent disturbance. Remove part of the original rootball with the soil intact. Division is best carried out towards the end of the growing season, since food reserves are fairly evenly distributed through the rhizome. Small divisions of a lead and two buds, or divisions from the back (older) part of the rhizome without any developed buds, establish quickly using this method. Replant immediately in situ.

Cultivation of the herb:

Usually found in the higher and dryer parts of coniferous woods, often in a thin layer of pine needles over rocks, it is also sometimes found in bogs and wet places.

Known hazards of Cypripedium acaule:

Contact with the fresh plant can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. Hairs on the leaves can cause a rash similar to poison ivy rash in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.