This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis. Official in Austria, France, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, and the eighth U. S. P. The National Formulary lists it.
The pharmacology is so similar to that of digitalis that it will be considered under that drug. But convallaria adds to its digitalis action a cathartic influence, and it is probably due to that fact that the drug is less cumulative than is digitalis. The active principle is convallamarin, a very active agent, to be used with great care.
Unfortunately, most preparations of this drug are inferior. A truly representative preparation is a most dependable and reliable substitute for digitalis in practically all of its indications. See "Digitalis." In cardiac dropsy it has served admirably in my hands, and when digitalis disagrees or fails in effect - which it sometimes does without apparent reason - convallaria may be a real life-saver. The difficulty consists in procuring uniform and reliable preparations.
Give a good fluidextract in doses of 2 to 10 minims, or convallamarin 3/4 gr. by mouth and 1-12 to 1-3 gr. by injection subdermally.