Lily of the valley has been used traditionally for heart conditions-a use that medical experts consider dangerous. In Germany, the flowers are mixed with raisins to make a wine.
The herb comes from the leaves, roots, and flowers of Convallaria majalis. This low-growing perennial is native to Europe and cultivated throughout North America. The essential oils of the highly aromatic flowers have been used in perfumes and cosmetics. However, the Food and Drug Administration considers lily of the valley an unsafe and poisonous plant.
Common doses of lily of the Valley
Lilly of the valley is available as extracts. Experts disagree on what dose to take.
Why people use lily of the valley
The whole plant, collected when in flower and dried, and also the root, herb and flowers separately. The inflorescence is said to be the most active part of the herb, and is preferred on that account, being the part usually employed. Lily-of-the-Valley is valued as a cardiac tonic anddiuretic. The action of the drug closely resembles that of Digitalis, though it is less powerful; it is used as a substitute and strongly recommended in valvular heart disease, also in cases of cardiac debility and dropsy. Specifically, lily of the valley may help to :-
- As a heart “tonic”
- As an antidote to poisonous gas
- Heart valve disease
- To help burns heal and prevent scar formation
Side effects of lily of the valley
Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of lily of the valley:
- abdominal pain and cramping
- irregular heartbeats
- burning pain in the mouth and throat
- skin inflammation from contact with the leaves
- enlarged pupils
- urinary urgency
- excessive salivation
Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Don’t use lily ofthe valley while taking:
- heart drugs called beta blockers (such as Inderal)
- heart drugs called calcium channel blockers (such as Calan and Procardia)
Important points to remember
- Know that taking any part of this plant is inadvisable.
- Never use lily of the valley for a heart condition because it may be toxic and experts don’t agree on a safe dose.
What the research shows
Medical experts don’t recommend lily of the valley. When used to treat heart failure and other heart conditions, this highly toxic, poorly studied herb might have effects similar to those of Lanoxin and other prescription drugs. But there’s little reason to take it because those tested, proven drugs are widely available.
Other names for lily of the valley : –
Other names for lily of the valley include Convallaria, Jacob’s ladder, ladder-to heaven, lily constancy, lily convalle, male li1y, May lily, muguet, and Our-Lady’s-tears.