Lily of the valley: Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Lily of the valley: Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

The Lily of the Valley is native to Europe and Northeast Asia, and the plant has been naturalized on the North American continent. The medically usable material is imported from wild collections in Eastern Europe. In addition, the Lily of the Valley is also a famous ground cover in the garden.

Lily of the Valley as a medicinal plant

In herbal medicine, the above-ground parts or plant flowers are primarily used. These are collected at flowering time and dried before use.


Lily of the valley: characteristics of the plant

The Lily of the valley is a small perennial plant. Below ground are numerous roots and the rootstock, from which two elliptical, smooth-edged leaves grow.

The small, white, nodding flowers are bell-shaped and strongly scented. Several flowers hang from each flower stalk, leaning towards the same side. The Lily of the Valley fruit is a small red berry that develops from the flowers in August.

Aids in artificial insemination?

In recent years, lilies of the valley have also made headlines in the context of artificial insemination. Researchers found that human sperm possess olfactory receptors that respond to the scent of Lily of the Valley, which causes sperm to travel to the egg cell at double the speed.


How do lilies of the valley smell?

Lily of the valley herb, especially the flowers, exudes an intensely sweet, fragrant smell. Heinrich Heine knew this fragrance “breaks the ice of winter and hearts”.

Lily of the Valley – application

Lily of the Valley herb strengthens the heart muscle and is often used for mild cardiac insufficiency and cardiac insufficiency caused by old age (senile heart).

Lily of the valley for heart failure

The application is suitable for cardiac insufficiency stages I and II, i.e. if the symptoms only occur after heavy physical exertion. The symptoms that often occur with heart failure are: 

  • an increased heart rate
  • shortness of breath
  • derating
  • an enlarged heart

They are usually a sign that the heart can no longer guarantee the required blood output or can only do so to a limited extent. The active ingredients in the Lily of the Valley herb strengthen the heart and promote its work, improving symptoms.

The Lily of the Valley preparations can also be helpful in cases of chronic cor pulmonale, i.e. pressure on the right heart due to increased pressure in the pulmonary vessels.


Application in folk medicine

In folk medicine, lily of the valley herb is used to treat epilepsy, dropsy, strokes and weak contractions. However, due to the toxicity of the herb (see side effects and special information), the folk medicinal use of lily of the valley cannot be advocated.

Lily of the valley in homeopathy

The above-ground, flowering parts of the lily of the valley are used homeopathically for cardiac arrhythmias, general heart failure with water deposits in the tissue (edema), < a i=3>Chest tight and smoker’s heart used.


Ingredients of lily of the valley

Lily of the valley contains 0.1 to 0.5 percent of numerous so-called cardiac glycosides, i.e. substances that have a strengthening effect on the heart. The cardiac glycoside content is highest during flowering.

The cardiac glycosides include convallatoxin as the main component and also various similar substances such as convalloside and convallatoxol.

Lily of the valley: indications for use

Lily of the valley can be used medicinally in the following cases:

  • mild heart failure (stages I and II)
  • Altersherz
  • chronic corpulmonary

Lily of the valley – dosage

Lily of the valley herb is usually processed in crushed form in finished medicines and combination preparations. The prescription preparations contain precisely adjusted lily of the valley powder, i.e. powder that contains a precisely determined content of heart-active glycosides. The preparations are available by prescription in the form of tablets, dragees or drops. The homeopathic remedies available are usually available from pharmacies. 

Lily of the valley: what dose?

Unless otherwise prescribed, the average daily dose is 0.6 grams of the powdered, adjusted lily of the valley herb. The single dose is 0.2 grams.


Lily of the valley: It is not advisable to prepare your own

Since the dose that can be taken daily for therapeutic purposes is precisely defined and should not be exceeded, making your own tea is not recommended. The dose could not be adjusted precisely in a specially prepared tea.

When should you not take lily of the valley?

The use of lily of the valley preparations is contraindicated during ongoing therapy with digitalis glycosides (heart strengthening agents) and known potassium deficiency .


special instructions

Lily of the valley is considered a very poisonous plant, and this statement refers to all parts of the plant. Lily of the valley preparations should therefore only be taken under medical supervision.

When used in high doses, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea occur as other gastrointestinal complaints. Such symptoms and dizziness can be particularly severe in one to three-year-olds.

However, due to the problematic absorption of the toxins contained in the gastrointestinal tract, severe poisoning and fatal outcomes are usually not to be expected.

First aid for Lily of the Valley poisoning

If poisoned with Lily of the Valley, the first aid measure should be to induce vomiting and give charcoal powder and sodium sulfate. Gastric lavage is usually carried out directly in the clinic.

Storing Lily of the Valley herb

Lily of the valley herb should be kept dry, protected from light and out of the reach of children.

Lily of the Valley – synonyms

German plant name: Lily of the Valley

German synonyms of the plant: Real Lily of the valley, familiar Lily of the valley, lady’s Lily, mayflower, mayflower, mail lily, tall Lily, iridescent Lily, faltering flower, eye work, sneezeweed, jumper, valley flower, glass flower, gentleman’s flower, chaldron, Waldron, snowdrop, zigzag

Latin plant name: Convallaria majalis L.

Latin synonyms of the plant: Convallaria fragrances, Convallaria latifolia, Convallaria mapping, Convallaria scapose, Polygonatum male

German drug name: Lily of the Valley herb

German synonyms of the drug: Mayflower herb, Lily of the Valley leaves

Latin drug name: The herb of Convallaria

Latin synonyms of the drug: Herba Convallariae, Herba Liliorum Convallium

English name: European Lily of the Valley, Lily-of-the-valley

Plant family Latin: Convallariaceae

Plant family German: Lily of the Valley


Lily of the Valley – effect

The cardiac glycosides it contains inhibit a specific transporter on the heart muscle cells (Na/K-ATPase), which increases the calcium content in the cells. This increases heart strength, reduces cardiac resistance by lowering venous pressure, and improves heart work and efficiency.

Convallatoxin also promotes sodium and potassium excretion and thus has a diuretic effect.

Lily of the valley: possible side effects

Taking Lily of the Valley herb can lead to nausea, vomiting and cardiac arrhythmia, especially if the dose is too high. Please also read the particular information under “Dosage”.

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