May lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis L.)

May lily of the valley is a herbaceous perennial plant from the Liliaceae family. Other names: eye grass, May lily, Mary’s bells, snow drops, hare ears, raven, myt grass, forest tongue, silverwort, forest bell, field lily, convalia


Perennial herbaceous plant with a thin horizontal creeping rhizome, equipped with numerous roots. Flower stem up to 30 cm tall, triangular, leafless. Radical leaves, 2-3 in number, elliptical, pointed, entire, with arcuate venation, on long petioles, at the base, together with the flower stalk, dressed in wide sheaths. Flowers in one-sided infrequent raceme on long drooping pedicels emerging from the axils of membranous bracts, fragrant; within the flower spherical-campanulate, 6-toothed, white, pinkish at the base; stamens 6, pistil with triangular upper ovary and triangular stigma. The fruit is an orange-red globular berry with three nests and one seed in each nest. Lily of the valley blooms in May. May lily of the valley grows in coniferous and deciduous forests, in shrubs,

Harvesting, description of raw materials:

In medicine, lily of the valley flowers are used – Flores Convallariae, leaves – Folia Convallariae and the aerial part collected during flowering, called lily of the valley grass – Herba Convallariae. . In the later case, bouquets of flowers are collected and flower arrows are cut with a knife. Dry immediately after collection in the shade or in dryers at a temperature of 40-60 degrees. Celsius. The raw material is flower brushes with short arrows no more than 3 cm long, leaves or a mixture of leaves and flower arrows with flowers. The color of the leaves of the lily of the valley is yellowish green, and the flowers are yellowish white, sometimes with a brownish tint. The smell is weak, peculiar, the taste is bitter.

Contains active substances:

Lily of the valley contains glycosides of the cardiac group, the most important of which are convallatoxin, convallatoxol, convalloside, glucoconvalloside. Glycosides are accompanied by the steroidal saponin convallarin. Lily of the valley glycosides have a selective effect on the heart; do not have a cumulative effect.

Medicinal use:

When taken orally, lily of the valley products act weakly and therefore are used for neurosis, but parenteral administration, especially intravenously, have a quick and powerful effect on cardiac activity and therefore are used for heart failure, compensated heart defects and cardiosclerosis. In folk medicine, a decoction of lily of the valley herb or tincture is used. on vodka for heart diseases; a decoction is also drunk for pain in the heart and for nervous diseases, vodka tincture is used for convulsions in babies, lily of the valley root is used for fever, tincture is used for epilepsy; water decoction for sore throat. 

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