- Family Liliaceae
- Convallaria majalis
- May Lily, May Bells, Convallaria, Our Lady s Tears, Convall-lily, Lily Constancy, Jacob's Ladder, Ladder-to-Heaven, Muguet
Use only under professional supervision.
The herb is subject to legal restrictions in some countries.
If used simulaneously with quinidine, digoxin, calcium salts, saluretics, laxatives, and glucocorticoids, the effects and side effects are enhanced.
Native to Europe, it is now found all over that continent, as well as North America and northern Asia. It is an attractive perennial, growing to nine inches, producing a pair of elliptical leaves, clusters of bell-shaped white flowers on one side of the stem and red berries. It is a widely cultivated garden plant whose leaves and flowers are gathered in the late spring as the plant comes into flower.
Apuleius, a second century CE herbalist, recorded that Apollo gave the plant as a gift to Aesculapius, the god of healing.
In the 16th century, herbalist John Gerard, advocated the use of the herb for those who had "dumb palsie" and for those who "had fallen into apoplexy". He also said it was good for gout and the heart.
- cardiac and uterine stimulant
- cardiac glycosides (including the cardenolides convallotoxin, convalloside, convallatoxol, and others)
- flavonoid glycosides
- Leaves, flowers.
- The cardiac glycosides act to strengthen a weakened heart and increase its effectiveness.
Both Lily of the Valley and Foxglove have a profound effect on heart failure, whether due in the long term to a cardio-vascular problem or to a chronic lung problem as emphysema. Lily of the valley encourages the heart to beat more slowly, regularly, and efficiently, while its strong diuretic properties reduce blood volume and lower blood pressure. However, Lily of the Valley is preferred by European herbalists rather than foxglove as it is better tolerated and does not accumulate within the body to the same degree as does foxglove. Relatively low doses are used to support heart rate and rhythm and to increase urine production.
The herb is also used for weak contractions during labor as well as for epilepsy, dropsy, strokes and ensuing paralysis, conjuctivitis, and leprosy.