Lily of the Valley
( Convallaria majalis)
Parts used: Leaves,flower
Lily of the Valley is an attractive perennial that grows to 9 in. It has a pair of elliptical leaves,clusters ob bell shaped white flowers on one side of the stem,and red berries.
It is a native to Europe, the herb is also distributed over North America,northern Asia. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant. Leaves,flower are gathered in late spring as the plant comes in to flower.
Lily of the Valley contains cardiac glycosides,cardenolides,convallotoxin,convalloside,convallatoxol,flavonoid glycosides. The cardiac glycosides act to strengthen a weakened heart.
In 2nd century Ad herbalist Apuleius recorded that Apollo gave lily of the valley as a gift to Aesculapius, the god of healing. In the 16th century a herbalist John Gerard had this to say about its therapeutic value. ( The flowers of the valley lillie distilled with wine,dranke to the quantitie of a spoonful,restore speech unto those that have the dumb palsie and that are fallen into apoplexy,and are good against the gout,and comfort the heart.).
Lily of the Valley used by European herbalists in place of common foxglove. Both herbs have a profound effect in heart failure,due in the long term to a cardiovascular problem or to a conic lung problem such as emphysema. The herb encourages a failing heart to beat more slowly,regularly,pump more efficiently,thus improving blood flow to the heart itself via the coronary arteries. It is a also diuretic and lowers blood volume. The herb is better tolerated than foxglove,since it does not accumulate within the body to the same degree. Relatively low doses are required to support heart rate,rhythm,increase urine production.
Use only under professional supervision : Lily of the Valley is subject to legal restrictions in some countries.