May lily of the valley is an amazingly delicate and beautiful flower. However, all parts of it are poisonous. The alluring scent of lily of the valley attracts many birds and animals, for some of which acquaintance with the flower leads to death. For humans, and especially for small children, lily of the valley is also dangerous. To avoid the toxic effects of the plant, you need to be careful and remember about safety measures.
Lily of the valley. General information
May lily of the valley belongs to the genus of herbaceous flowering plants. It is a flower with large oval dark green leaves about 10 cm long and about 5 cm wide. The leaves grow from a thin rhizome. The fragrant lily of the valley flowers are white, bell-shaped, with six bent teeth. After the flowers ripen, the lily of the valley produces fruits in the form of glossy, spherical red berries up to 8 cm in diameter. The plant bears fruit from June to July. Lily of the valley grows mainly in Europe, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, China and North America. In Russia, lily of the valley can be found in Siberia, the Far East and some regions of the European part of the country. The plant loves shaded areas in deciduous, pine and mixed forests with well-moisturized soil.
May lily of the valley belongs to medicinal plants. Grass, flowers and leaves must be collected, but in limited quantities, since the lily of the valley is listed in the Red Book. The plant is used as a choleretic, antispasmodic, diuretic, antipyretic, sedative, diuretic, vasodilator and anti-inflammatory agent.
Toxic effect of lily of the valley
All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans. It is impossible to use preparations based on lily of the valley on your own. Only a doctor can decide on the appropriateness of treatment with this plant. The fact is that lily of the valley contains cardiac glycosides, derivatives of strophantidine and strophantidiol: convallotoxin, convalloside, convallotoxol and about 10 other substances. One of the glycosides, convallarin, is known to irritate the intestinal and renal mucosa. The rest cause damage to the cardiovascular and central nervous system, as well as the gastrointestinal tract. With mild poisoning with lily of the valley juice, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and stomach pain occur. In severe poisoning, a violation of the heart rhythm is possible, as a rule, a slowdown in the pulse. Unexplained excitement, blurred vision, convulsions, loss of consciousness testify to the defeat of the nervous system. Death may occur due to sudden cardiac arrest. Lily of the valley poisoning is especially difficult for children, who are attracted by the bright red berries of the plant. At the first manifestations of poisoning - nausea and vomiting - you should immediately rinse the stomach and do an enema.
It is also noted that the plant is poisonous to birds and some animals. Birds, as a rule, do not tolerate the toxic effects of lily of the valley, which is fatal. But some animals use lily of the valley berries without health consequences. These include sika deer and elk. The scent of lily of the valley attracts foxes too. It is noticed that this animal loves to hide in the lily of the valley thickets, inhaling its aroma and eating berries.