Lily of the Valley: Convallaria Majalis, May Lily, Our Lady's Tears, Convall-lily, Lily Constancy, Ladder-to-Heaven, Jacob's Ladder, Male Lily

Botany: 

Lily of the Valley is a perennial herb with broad leaves and tiny white bell-shaped fragrant flowers. It is commonly found in dryer parts of partially shaded areas. Lily of the Valley doesn’t have bulbs it had rhizomes, an underground stem that both flowers and the roots come from. It is used as either ground cover or in small areas that most or plants wouldn’t fit. It should be planted in late September or the early fall and be placed six to eight inches apart. It grows 12 to 20 cm high and has two leaves that are ten centimeters long and four to ten centimeters wide.

Chemistry:

Lily of the Valley is contains two main glycosides, convallamarin and convallarin. Convallamarin is a white crystalline powder and is soluble in both water and alcohol but not ether. Convallarin is a crystalline in prisms and is soluble in alcohol but only slightly soluble in water. However, it contains many other glycosides including: convallotoxin, convallotoxol, convalloside, convallotoxoloside, glucoconvalloside. It also contains saponins including: convallaric acid, asparagin, flavonoids, essential oil.

Fun Fact:

Legend has it Saint Leonard fought against a dragon in a forest near Horsham. He vanquished the dragon but received many wounds. It is said that wherever his blood fell Lilies of the Valley sprang up to honor Saint Leonard. The forest is also named Saint Leonard’s Forest and to this day is covered with Lilies.

History:

Uses/Pharmacology:

Lily of the Valley originated in England, but is naturalized throughout North America and Northern Asia. It was used to treat cases of poison gassing on the front lines. It has been used as a cardiac tonic and a diuretic. It has also been recommended for cardiac debility and dropsy. Russian peasant long used it to treat dropsy. It slows the disturbed action of a weak, irritable heart, at the same time increasing its power and is a perfectly safe remedy.

Lily of the Valley is a valued cardiac tonic and a diuretic. Its effect is closely related to Digitalis; however, it is less powerful. It is recommended for the treatment of congestive heart failure. It slows the action of a weak heart while strengthening it. A decoction of the flowers has been useful in removing obstructions in the urinary tract. It is also a suitable substitute for aloe because of its purgative qualities. It is most commonly administered in tincture, decoctions, fluid extracts, and the flowers are sometime made into powders. The medical products produced from Lily of the Valley; however, have been replaced due to new technology and better heart medications. It is also commonly used in many perfumes, potpourris and other fragrances. 

Dosing/Recipes:

Lily of the Valley should be used under qualified supervision. Sixty to 200 milligrams used in infusions and with dried leaves.  The liquid extract in a one to one ratio with 25% alcohol is commonly used between 0.6 mL. to two milliliter. Two tinctures are also used. One is in a one to five ratio with 40% alcohol and is used between 0.6 mL. and one milliliter. The other tincture is in a one to eight ratio with 60% alcohol and is used between 0.3 mL. and 1.2 mL.

Lily of the Valley Potpourri

1/2 pint dried lily of the valley petals
1 pint dried petunia blossoms
4 oz dried rose blossoms
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 oz orris root powder

Lily of the Valley Cardiac/ Tonic

Ingredients:
½ Oz. Lily Of The Valley L
1 Pnt. Water, Distilled Pure H20
1 Ea. Bottle, Brown/Actinic

Directions:
RECIPE METHOD: TEA; PORTION: 1 TBS. 2 TO 3 TIMES DAILY;

YIELD: 18 OUNCES.

TRADITION/USE:
A cardiac tonic and diuretic, closely resembling in valvular heart disease, cardiac debility, and dropsy. It slows the disturbed action of a weak, irritated heart while, at the same time, increasing its power.

PROCESS INSTRUCTIONS: Place the Herb in the water and bring to boiling point; simmer 5 minutes, cool, strain, bottle and keep in a cool dark place.

ADULT SERVING: Take in tablespoonful doses.

CHILD SERVING: Children, in proportion to age. SPECIAL NOTES: Where there is no symptoms of diabetes, most of these recipes may be harmonized or be made more palatable by adding brown sugar or honey and, in case the recipe needs to be kept for some time, add 1 2 Oz. of the best grade glycerin (as a preservative) to 16 Oz. of tea.

Contraindications/Interactions/Adverse Reactions:

Lily of the Valley is very poisonous. It contains many poisonous glycosides. They cause some adverse effects such as: abdominal pain, headache, irregular heartbeats, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, constant urination and maybe even hallucinations.

References Cited:

"About Lily of the Valley." Gardenguides.com. Demand Media. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

"Convallaria majalis." Purplesage.org.uk. Purple Sage Botanicals, 25 Sept. 2009. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

"Convallatoxin." Drugs.com. 9 Sept. 2009. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

Grieve. "Lily of the Valley." Botanical.com. Botanical.com. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

"Herb Recipe Manual." Tfb.com. 27 Apr. 2004. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

"Lily of the Valley, May Lily." Thinkquest.org. Thinkquest, 2000. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

"Sachet Recipes." Softmemories.com. Soft Memories. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

Steinbergs, A. "Lily of the Valley." Theplantexperts.com. 13 Oct. 2008. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.