Clochette des Bois, Constancy, Convallaria, Convallaria Herba, Convallaria majalis, Convall-Lily, Gazon de Parnasse, Jacob's Ladder, Ladder-To-Heaven, Lily, Lirio de los Valles, Lis des Vallées, Lys des Vallées, May Bells, May Lily, Muguet, Muguet de Mai, Muguet des Bois, Our Lady's Tears.
Lily-of-the-valley is a plant. The root, underground stem (rhizome), and dried flower tips are used to make medicine.
Lily-of-the-valley is used for heart problems including heart failure and irregular heartbeat. It is also used for urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, weak contractions in labor, epilepsy, fluid retention (edema), strokes and resulting paralysis, eye infections (conjunctivitis), and leprosy.
Store lily-of-the-valley in well-sealed containers and protect from light.
How does it work?
Lily-of-the-valley contains substances that have activity on the heart muscle. It can affect contractions, heart rate, and excitability.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Heart failure and other heart problems.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Kidney stones.
- Weak contractions in labor.
- Fluid retention.
- Infection of eye (conjunctivitis).
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Lily-of-the-valley might be safe for most people when used under proper medical supervision. But, it is UNSAFE when used for self-medication. Since lily-of-the-valley can affect the heart and other systems, the dose must be carefully chosen and side effects checked by a healthcare professional. If you swallow lily-of-the-valley accidentally, get medical treatment right away. Lily-of-the-valley can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, abnormal heart rhythm, headache, decreased consciousness and responsiveness, and visual color disturbances.
Heart disease: Don't self-medicate with lily-of-the-valley if you have heart disease. It is UNSAFE to use unless you are under close medical supervision.
Low levels of potassium (potassium deficiency): Don't use lily-of-the valley if you are potassium deficient. Lily-of-the-valley contains chemicals called cardiac glycosides that can cause the body to lose potassium. This could make potassium deficiency worse. If your potassium level gets low enough, it can harm the heart.
Calcium supplementsInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.
Lily-of-the-valley can stimulate the heart. Calcium might also affect the heart. Taking lily-of-the-valley along with calcium might cause the heart to be too stimulated. Do not take lily-of-the-valley along with calcium supplements.
Digoxin (Lanoxin)Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.
Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Lily-of-the-valley also seems to affect the heart. Taking lily-of-the-valley along with digoxin can increase the effects of digoxin and increase the risk of side effects. Do not take lily-of-the-valley if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin) without talking to your healthcare professional.
Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids)Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.
Lily-of-the-valley might affect the heart. Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body. Low potassium levels can also affect the heart and increase the risk of side effects from lily-of-the-valley.
QuinineInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.
Lily-of-the-valley can affect the heart. Quinine can also affect the heart. Taking quinine along with lily-of-the-valley might cause serious heart problems.
Antibiotics (Macrolide antibiotics)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Lily-of-the-valley can affect the heart. Some antibiotics might increase how much lily-of-the-valley the body absorbs. Taking lily-of-the-valley along with some antibiotics might increase the effects and side effects of lily-of-the-valley.
Some antibiotics called macrolide antibiotics include erythromycin, azithromycin, and clarithromycin.
Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Taking some antibiotics called tetracycline antibiotics along with lily-of-the-valley might increase the chance of side effects from lily-of-the-valley.
LithiumInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Lily-of-the-valley might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking lily-of-the-valley might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
Stimulant laxativesInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Lily-of-the-valley can affect the heart. The heart uses potassium. Laxatives called stimulant laxatives can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the chance of side effects from lily-of-the-valley.
Some stimulant laxatives include bisacodyl (Correctol, Dulcolax), cascara, castor oil (Purge), senna (Senokot), and others.
Water pills (Diuretic drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Lily-of-the-valley might affect the heart. "Water pills" can decrease potassium in the body. Low potassium levels can also affect the heart and increase the risk of side effects from lily-of-the-valley.
The appropriate dose of lily-of-the-valley depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for lily-of-the-valley. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publ, 1997.
Burnham TH, ed. Drug Facts and Comparisons, Updated Monthly. Facts and Comparisons, St. Louis, MO.
Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler's Honest Herbal, 4th ed., Binghamton, NY: Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.