Convallaria majalis (Liliaceae)
LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY, MAY LILY, MUGET
The flowering tops and root have
a similar, but safer, effect on the heart to Digitalis and are given by
herbalists for heart failure and fluid retention.
The apothecaries of the middle ages recognized the value of this herb in "disorders of the heart and vital spirits".
Its renown in the treatment of faints, poor memory, "convulsions of all kinds and swimming in the head" may also stem from its beneficial effect on the heart and hence
the blood circulation to the brain. A native of Europe, North America and northern Asia, where it grows in the drier parts of shady woods, it has an underground stem,
oval leaves, and fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers in spring.
Flowering tops, root.
Glycosides, including convallarin, convallatoxin, and convalloside; flavonoids; asparagin.
Improves the heart's pumping action; increases urine production.
It has a similar action to Digitalis but is less toxic. Used in cardiac failure,
as it helps the heart beat more strongly and efficiently. The diuretic effect also helps to relieve oedema (swelling due to fluid retention) associated with cardiac failure.
In Chinese medicine, related species are used as a tonic.