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Astonishing Benefits Of Lily Of The Valley, Interactions & Side Effects

The bell-shaped white flower, lily of the valley, is a classic spring flower. Native to multiple continents, the delicate flower is widely used for its ornamental beauty as well as its therapeutic properties. The flower can sustain for decades, but only in cool climates. Although the name of the plant may lead to thinking that it belongs to the family of lilies - it actually belongs to the asparagus (Asparagaceae) family [1] . It is scientifically termed as Convallaria majalis.

A popular ingredient in cosmetics and perfumes, lily of the valley has been used in folk medicine as well. The delicate plant has strong healing properties, which can be supported by its use in the WWI to combat gas poisoning [2] . Lily of the valley is used as for treating epilepsy, skin burns and even heart disorders.

The surprising benefits it possesses vary from circulatory disorders, cardiac oedema, kidney and bladder stones to urinary tract infection and congestive heart failure (CHF). The plant as a whole is utilised for the various benefits it offers. In line with the benefits, the plant offers, unsupervised and uncontrolled use of lily of the valley can have serious side effects [3] .

Nutritional Information Of Lily Of The Valley

The plant contains glycosides such as convallamarin and convallarin. Lily of the valley also contains cardenolides, flavonoids, malic acid, saponins, citric acid, and essential oil [4] .

Health Benefits Of Lily Of The Valley

From treating your kidney, heart to your skin, read on to know about the amazing advantages offered by the herb.

1. Good for cardiovascular health

Lily of the valley is regarded as a cardiac tonic. That is, it helps in relieving various problems relating to the health of your heart. It is considered to be healthier as well as safer than digitalis or foxglove, other herbs used in treating heart diseases. The herb is used for treating congestive heart failure, valvular heart disease, dropsy and cardiac debility [5] .

It is the flavonoids present in the herb that improve your heart health by stimulating your arteries, thereby aiding in dilation of the blood. Compared to other herbs, lily of the valley has been asserted as being more effective and safe for senior individuals [6] .

The herb is also used in treating arrhythmia as it improves the muscular functioning of the heart. Likewise, it regulates and controls the rate of your heartbeat by rectifying irregular heartbeat. The glycosides present in the herb reduces the risk of heart attack [7] .

2. Treats depression

The therapeutic properties possessed by lily of the valley make it beneficial in the treatment of anxiety and depression. The essential oil produced from the flower aids in relaxing and calming your mind. It can be applied on the back of your neck or on the temples to cure restlessness as well [8] .

3. Manages digestion

The laxative as well as the purgative properties of the herb aids in improving your digestion. It regulates the digestion process, keeping it healthy and avoiding the development of any digestion-related issues. It aids in the smooth excretion of waste and also provides relief from constipation [9] .

4. Improves cognitive function

It has been asserted that lily of the valley can improve the functioning of the nervous system. The antiageing properties of the herb help in limiting the onset of age-related decline in your cognitive skills. Consuming the herb helps in improving the recollection ability [10] , which is a common age-related issue senior individuals face. It has been pointed out to have a positive impact on improving memory as well. Lily of the valley is also used in treating epilepsy, and ageing of brain cells.

5. Treats chronic lung diseases

Lily of the valley is used in the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) such as asthma and emphysema [11] . The herbs ability to ease out your breathing aids in this function. It is also beneficial in the treatment of pulmonary oedema.

6. Manages urinary tract infection

The herb has diuretic properties that help in improving and increasing the formation of urine in your body. Through this property, the herb helps in flushing out the toxins and infection-causing bacteria from the urinary tract. It also helps by eliminating the excess amount of water in your body. As the microbes are flushed out from your system, the herb is extremely beneficial for curing UTIs [12] .

Likewise, the diuretic property of the herb aids in detoxifying your liver, thereby getting rid of the harmful toxins.

7. Controls blood pressure

The diuretic properties of the herb aids in dilating your blood vessels. The flavonoids in the plant help in stimulating the arteries, thereby easing the flow of blood[13] . This in turn aids in controlling and managing your blood pressure levels.

8. Improves kidney health

The herb helps in improving your kidney health by preventing the deposition of toxins. It also helps by reducing water retention and bloating in your body. Lily of the valley is also beneficial in breaking down the kidney stones [14] .

9. Manages gout

The essential oil extracted from the herb is extremely beneficial in treating gout. You can apply the oil onto the affected areas, such as the joints and bones to reduce the inflammation and the pain.

10. Reduces fever

The antipyretic property [15] possessed by lily of the valley is beneficial in treating fevers. It helps by controlling the blood circulation in your body, which in turn helps in reducing your body temperature.

11. Reduces scars

Lily of the valley is extremely useful in treating skin ailments. Ointments made from the herb are used to treat scars. It is used for treating burns and types of wounds that can leave a scar. Applying the ointment will help in reducing the scars in a short period of time.

DIY Lily Of The Valley Scented Oil

Ingredients [16]

  • A jarful of fresh lily of the valley blossoms
  • Cold pressed olive oil

Directions

  • Fill a glass jar with lily of the valley blossoms.
  • Pour in the oil.
  • Using a wooden spoon, press the flowers down to release the scent into the oil.
  • Set it aside for 24 hours to infuse.
  • Then, strain the oil into the bowl.
  • Return the oil to the jar using a funnel.
  • Repeat the entire process a dozen times.
  • Seal the jar and store out of direct light.

Dosage Of Lily Of The Valley

For cardiac glycosides [17]

  • 600 mg/day orally, average amount.
  • 6 g/day divided three times, daily orally (tincture).
  • 600 mg/day divided three times, daily orally (liquid extract).
  • 150 mg/day orally (dried extract).

Caution: Discuss with a doctor before beginning the medications.

Interactions

If you are taking the following medications, it is best to avoid consuming lily of the valley. The combinations can interact, resulting in severe complications.

The herb will have a major interaction with the following medications or chemicals: [18]

  • Calcium supplements
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids)
  • Quinine

It can have a moderate interaction with the following chemicals: [19]

  • Bendroflumethiazide
  • Bumetanide
  • Chlorothiazide
  • Chlorthalidone
  • Cyclopenthiazide
  • Ethacrynic Acid
  • Furosemide
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Indapamide
  • Methyclothiazide
  • Metolazone
  • Senna
  • Torsemide

Side Effects Of Lily Of The Valley

It is highly critical that you use the herb in limited and directed quantity [20] .

  • Uncontrolled use of the herb can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, as well as dehydration.
  • It can cause severe abdominal pain.
  • Excessive use can cause cardiac failure.
  • The red berries of the plant should not be consumed as it is highly poisonous.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use the herb, as it can negatively affect the baby.

Some of the other side effects are [21]

  • nausea,
  • visual colour disturbances,
  • abnormal heart rhythm,
  • decreased consciousness and responsiveness,
  • vomiting, and
  • headache.
View Article References
  1. [1] Boelens, M., Wobben, H. J., & Heydel, J. (1980). Perfumery notes: muguet in perfumery. A review of lily of the valley.Perfumer & Flavorist,5(6), 1-8.
  2. [2] Moxley, R. A., Schneider, N. R., Steinegger, D. H., & Carlson, M. P. (1989). Apparent toxicosis associated with lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) ingestion in a dog.Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,195(4), 485-487.
  3. [3] Alexandre, J., Foucault, A., Coutance, G., Scanu, P., & Milliez, P. (2012). Digitalis intoxication induced by an acute accidental poisoning by lily of the valley.Circulation,125(8), 1053-1055.
  4. [4] Bag, G. C., Devi, P. G., & Bhaigyabati, T. (2015). Assessment of total flavonoid content and antioxidant activity of methanolic rhizome extract of three Hedychium species of Manipur valley.International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research,30(1), 154-159.
  5. [5] Hoareau, L., & DaSilva, E. J. (1999). Medicinal plants: a re-emerging health aid.Electronic Journal of biotechnology,2(2), 3-4.
  6. [6] Mashour, N. H., Lin, G. I., & Frishman, W. H. (1998). Herbal medicine for the treatment of cardiovascular disease: clinical considerations.Archives of internal Medicine,158(20), 2225-2234.
  7. [7] Valli, G., & Giardina, E. G. V. (2002). Benefits, adverse effects and drug interactionsof herbal therapies with cardiovascular effects.Journal of the American College of Cardiology,39(7), 1083-1095.
  8. [8] Edgerton, P. H. (1989). Symptoms of digitalis-like toxicity in a family after accidental ingestion of lily of the valley plant.Journal of Emergency Nursing,15(3), 220-223.
  9. [9] Abell, D. H., & Gilbert, F. F. (1974). Nutrient content of fertilized deer browse in Maine.The Journal of Wildlife Management, 517-524.
  10. [10] Kato, Y., Endo, H., Kobayakawa, T., Kato, K., & Kitazaki, S. (2012). Effects of intermittent odours on cognitive-motor performance and brain functioning during mental fatigue.Ergonomics,55(1), 1-11.
  11. [11] Tomashefski, J. F. (1977). Definition, differentiation, and classification of COPD.Postgraduate medicine,62(1), 88-97.
  12. [12] Yarnell, E. (2002). Botanical medicines for the urinary tract.World journal of urology,20(5), 285-293.
  13. [13] Edgerton, P. H. (1989). Symptoms of digitalis-like toxicity in a family after accidental ingestion of lily of the valley plant.Journal of Emergency Nursing,15(3), 220-223.
  14. [14] Gondos, B. (1960). Rotation of the kidney around its transverse axis.Radiology,74(1), 19-25.
  15. [15] Hurst, K. (2018).Hidden Natural Histories: Herbs. University of Chicago Press.
  16. [16] Wikihow. (n.d.). How to Make Lily of the Valley Scented Oil [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Lily-of-the-Valley-Scented-Oil
  17. [17] Stoeckelhuber, M., Krnac, D., Pluym, N., Scherer, M., Peschel, O., Leibold, E., & Scherer, G. (2018). Human metabolism and excretion kinetics of the fragrance 7-hydroxycitronellal after a single oral or dermal dosage.International journal of hygiene and environmental health,221(2), 239-245.
  18. [18] Wolf, S., Gelis, L., Dörrich, S., Hatt, H., & Kraft, P. (2017). Evidence for a shape-based recognition of odorants in vivo in the human nose from an analysis of the molecular mechanism of lily-of-the-valley odorants detection in the Lilial and Bourgeonal family using the C/Si/Ge/Sn switch strategy.PloS one,12(8), e0182147.
  19. [19] Stucky, M. A., & Goldberger, Z. D. (2015). Digoxin: its role in contemporary medicine.Postgraduate medical journal,91(1079), 514-518.
  20. [20] VONČINA, M., BARIČEVIČ, D., & BRVAR, M. (2015). Adverse effects and intoxications related to medicinal/harmful plants.Acta agriculturae Slovenica,103(2), 263-270.
  21. [21] Fraunfelder, F. W. (2004). Ocular side effects from herbal medicines and nutritional supplements.American Journal of Ophthalmology,138(4), 639-647.

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