Perennial herbaceous plant up to 20 cm tall. The rhizome is white, branched, long, with bunches of thin roots. The stem is shortened. Radical leaves are broadly lanceolate, smooth, their number is 1-3. The flower arrow emerges from an underground rhizome and carries a lopsided flowering raceme. The flowers are white, fragrant, drooping. The fruit is a red three-seeded berry. It blooms in May – early June, in floodplain places – 3-4 weeks later.
The whole plant is poisonous.
For medicinal purposes, flowers, leaves and grass are used, collected at the beginning of flowering, cut at a level of 4-5 cm from the ground. Dry the flowers and leaves in the shade, always with good ventilation to prevent their browning, it is better to dry the leaves separately in dryers at a temperature of 50-60 degrees for flowers or 30-35 degrees for leaves or in well-ventilated attics.
Finished raw materials: yellowish-white flowers, green leaves, without impurities. Raw materials are stored in glass or porcelain jars with lids. Storage period 1 year.
The active principles of the May lily of the valley are cardiac glycosides – convallotoxin and convallyazid; in addition, May lily of the valley contains essential oil, organic acids, asparagine, mayalin alkaloid, starch, etc. Glucosides of May lily of the valley are unstable, quickly destroyed and do not accumulate in the body.
Cardiac glycosides of May lily of the valley have a normalizing effect on the functions of the neuromuscular apparatus of the heart and hemodynamics, and also have a general sedative effect. Galenic products of the May lily of the valley are used for neurosis and heart failure. May lily of the valley product is prescribed most often in combination with other cardiac or sedative drugs. According to clinical observations, the action is most effective in combination of lily of the valley flowers with valerian root, hawthorn for heart neuroses and other heart diseases.
In folk medicine, May lily of the valley products are used for heart disease, nervous diseases, sore throat, epilepsy, edema, dropsy, headache, to strengthen the nervous system, as a diuretic that increases diuresis (urination), Graves’ disease, nervous shock, insomnia, fever and some eye diseases.
As a sedative for all kinds of nervous conditions, shock, insomnia, products are more often used in combination with motherwort (two times less later), valerian and hawthorn (equally).
Tincture 15%; 15 drops 2-3 times every day, the highest single dose for adults – 20-23 drops, daily – 45-60 drops.
Decoction: 15 g per 200 ml; 2 teaspoons 3 times daily.
Infusion: 4 g per 200 ml of boiling water; take 1 tbsp. spoon after 2 hours.
Root powder is used for fever, root tincture – for epilepsy, decoction – for diseases of the throat.
Young leaves collected before flowering and flowers are especially valued.