Lily of the valley are flowers native to North Asia, England, and North America. They are scientifically known as Convallaria majalis.
There are many different types of lilies, but they all contain similar compounds that provide similar health benefits. One of the most common types of lilies is the lily of the valley. It contains high levels of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause harm to cells. Antioxidants help prevent free radical damage by donating electrons to free radicals.
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Lily of the Valley contains two glycosides – Convallamarin, which has a diuretic action, and Convallarin, which has purgative action. It also contains flavonoids, saponins, citric acid, malic acid, essential oil, and Cardenolides. Apart from these, Convallatoxins, Convalluside, and Convallatoxol are also found in these pretty flowering plants.
Top 12 Health Benefits Of Lily Of The Valley
Lily of the Valley is antispasmodic, diuretic, emetic, laxative, purgative, cardiac tonic, sedative and antipyretic by nature. It is mostly used in the form of tea, tincture, extract, infusion and essential oil.
The famous seventeenth-century botanist and physician Nicholas Culpeper said that “It, without doubt, strengthens the brain and renovates a weak memory. The distilled water dropped into the eyes helps inflammations thereof. The spirit of the flowers, distilled in wine, restoreth lost speech, helps the palsy, and is exceedingly good in apoplexy, comforteth the heart and vital spirits.” High words of praise indeed! Some of the benefits that we can derive from these plants are:
Benefits For Skin
1. Reduces Scars:
An ointment made of lily of the valley is used for treating burns and other wounds without leaving any scars. It is also helpful in healing the scar tissues quickly and effectively.
2. Lightens Skin Tone:
The flowers of this herb are infused with water to prepare a tonic called Aqua Aurea. This tonic has been used for skin lightening since medieval times. It acts as a skin astringent too.
Benefits For Health
3. Heart Diseases:
Lily of the valley is known as a cardiac tonic. This herb is safer for the treatment of heart ailments of elderly people than digitalis or foxglove. It is combined with hawthorn and motherwort for these purposes.
It also helps to treat valvular heart disease, cardiac debility, dropsy and congestive heart failure. The flavonoids present in the herb stimulate the arteries and help in the dilation of blood. Its diuretic properties help in lowering the blood pressure level.
It is also useful in the treatment of arrhythmia as it increases the muscular action of the heart while at the same time slowing down and regulating the heartbeat rate.
4. Mental Problems:
Legends say that if a person puts the oil of the lily of the valley on his forehead, it could impart common sense to him! Now, without being superstitious, we can safely say that the oil of this flower does help ease mental problems. The essential oil of lily of the valley is used in aromatherapy to treat headaches, depression, and melancholy.
It can also be used to treat memory loss, apoplexy and epilepsy. It is used to strengthen the brain cells and improve the cognitive processes of the brain.
5. Treatment Of Chronic Lung Diseases:
This herb is used for the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) like emphysema and asthma. It is also used to make medicines for pulmonary edema, which if not treated leads to congestive heart failure.
6. Treatment Of Angina Pectoris:
Lily of the valley is used to lessen chest pain caused by spasms of the coronary arteries and by lack of oxygen in the heart muscle.
7. Antipyretic Properties:
Lily of valley decreases heat production in the body by reducing circulation rate. It is also used to treat fever.
8. Treatment Of Urinary Tract Infection:
The tincture prepared with lily of valley flowers is used to treat UTI as it cleans obstructions from the urethra.
9. Keep Digestion Healthy:
This herb is known to be used as a substitute for aloes because of its purgative and laxative qualities. This in turn keeps the body’s digestive process smooth.
10. May Help With Depression:
Aromatherapy helps relieve the symptoms of depression. Many people use the lily of the valley to relax their minds, reduce anxiety, and boost their moods. It helps them to feel better.
11. May Improve Sleep Quality:
It may also help improve sleep quality. Sleep disorders occur when a person does not get enough restorative sleep. When someone has poor sleep quality, they may wake up tired and groggy. Using the lily of the valley helps to promote healthy sleep patterns.
12. Other benefits:
Other benefits of the lily of the valley include:
- Breaks down kidney stones.
- Prevents water retention in the body.
- Reduces pain associated with joint problems like gout and rheumatism.
- Treats conjunctivitis.
- Essential oil is used to treat paralysis, shock, and speech loss.
- Helps to treat leprosy and swelling.
- Treats poisoning and alcoholism by causing vomiting.
Caution – Side effects
Like many other herbs, lily of valley is also found to be poisonous if not used in right quantity. First consult your doctor before using the plant and use it under her guidance only.
Some of the side effects of the lily of the valley are:
- Excessive use of the herb can lead to gastrointestinal irritation and dehydration.
- This herb should not be mixed with beta blocker drugs, lanoxin, quindine, digoxin and calcium salts.
- Can cause abdominal pain.
- Overdose can even lead to cardiac failure.
- Red berries of the plant are highly poisonous and should never be consumed.
- Should never be consumed during pregnancy and lactation as it can affect the baby.
Never use this herb as a replacement for your regular medication. And always consult an expert before you go all natural. Nature has the answers but it is important to use the right answers instead of endangering our health.
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The benefits of lily of the valley are attributed to its laxative, diuretic, purgative, sedative, antipyretic, and antispasmodic properties. It works the best as a cardiac tonic and may help treat heart ailments and lower blood pressure. Lily of the valley essential oil has its applications in aromatherapy too and is often used to treat depression, headache, apoplexy, and epilepsy and stimulate your memory. This herb may also ease chest pain caused due to spasms of coronary arteries and is good for digestion and lung conditions like asthma. Moreover, it may lighten your skin and treat wounds/injuries without leaving scars. However, lily of the valley does have a few side effects, and it can be poisonous if not used in the right quantities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is lily of the valley used in medicine?
Not yet. Despite its many bioactive compounds, its use in medicine has been confined to folk remedies for heart disorders and urinary tract infections.
Is lily of the valley toxic to humans?
Yes. If consumed in excess amounts, it may cause accidental poisoning due to the presence of the cardiac glycoside convallatoxin.