The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Lily of the Valley

Scientific Names

Lily of the Valley

  • Convallaria majalis L.
  • Lillium convallium
  • Liliaceae
  • Lily family

Common Names

  • Convallaria
  • Conval lily
  • Lily confancy
  • Male lily
  • May lily
  • May bells

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Parts Usually Used

Young leaves, roots and flowers
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

A perennial plant that grows in the shade and has a single pair of basal, oblong-ovate leaves entire (not toothed); veins parallel; connecting veins obvious when held to the light and a single leafless raceme of very fragrant, small, white, bell-shaped flowers. Spreading by root runners; 4-8 inches. A slender, creeping rootstock produces 2 oblong-elliptic, pointed, basal leaves up to 1 foot long. Their bases sheathe the bottom of the flower stalk, which bears at the top a one-sided raceme of white, bell-shaped flowers. Flowering time is from early spring to June. Seed is ripe in September.

The Canada mayflower is often called false lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense Desf.) It is a perennial, often forming large colonies; 3-6 inches. Leaves usually 2, base strongly cleft (heart-shaped). Tiny, 4-pointed flowers; April to July. Berries are whitish, turning pinkish; speckled. Easily distinguished from Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis L.), here reported on.
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Where Found

Widely cultivated, but still found in some woodlands (escaped from cultivation)and often near old homesites, barns, yards, etc. Native to Eurasia but is commonly grown in gardens in the United States and Canada, from where is sometimes escapes into the countryside.
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Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, cardiac, diuretic, emetic, laxative, tonic, mucilaginous
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Biochemical Information

Cardiac glycosides, saponins, convallarin and convallaric acid, asparagin, cheliodonic acid and various other organic acids.
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This pretty plant is a formidable brain, lymph, and heart herb, from which the drug convallatoxin is obtained. It has been successfully employed in treating patients recovering from strokes, especially when their speech is slow to return. It also soothes the nerves, reduces high blood pressure, helps epilepsy, dizziness, convulsions, palsy, apoplexy, and cures various forms of dropsy. It can be made into an ointment for headache, and for rheumatic, or gouty pains. Root ointment, folk remedy for burns, to prevent scar tissue. Russians use this herb for epilepsy.

It is used for nervous sensitivity, neurasthenia, apoplexy, epilepsy, dropsy, valvular heart diseases, heart pains, and quieting to heart diseases in general. This herb contains glycosides similar to digitalis but milder. Combined with sea onion, this herb is a safer more effective treatment than digitalis. Digitalis is retained in the body and over a long period of therapy may damage the heart. This combination of sea onion (Urginea maritima) is not cumulative and is gentle, and supportive of the heart muscles.
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Formulas or Dosages

Prepare an infusion from the flowering stalks; 1/2 oz. to every pint of water. The dosage in all cases is 4 tbsp. per day in divided doses.
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Lily of the Valley contains glycosides that act somewhat like digitalis (foxglove) and can produce irregular heartbeat and upset stomach.

Potentially toxic. Leaves can be a mild skin irritant.

Overdose or large doses can cause strong stomach and intestinal irritation. Improper administration could result in toxic effects; nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Use with proper medical supervision only.
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Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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