This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Lilium Album Pharm. Edinh. Lilium album slore erecto & vulgare C. B. Lilium can-didum Linn. White lily: a plant with a single straight round stalk, clothed with oblong, acuminated, thick, smooth, pale green, ribbed leaves, which have no pedicles; bearing on the top several elegant, naked, white, upright, hexapetalous, bell shaped flowers, which open successively, and are followed each by an oblong triangular capfule, divided into three cells full of brownish seeds: the root is a single bulb, composed of fleshy scales, with several fibres at the bottom. It is perennial, a native of Syria and Palestine, common in our gardens, and flowers in June.
The flowers of the white lily have a pleasant sweet smell, and a slightly mucilaginous taste. Their odorous matter is of a very volatile kind, being totally dissipated in drying, and totally carried off in evaporation by rectified spirit as well as water: both menstrua become agreeably impregnated with it by infusion or distillation, but no essential oil has been obtained, though many pounds of the flowers were submitted to the operation at once. The principal use of these flowers is for flavouring expressed oils; which, by insolation with fresh parcels of them continued about three days each time, are sup-pofed to receive from them, along with their smell, an anodyne and nervine virtue. The distilled water has been sometimes employed as a cosmetic.
The roots also have been used chiefly for external purposes; as an ingredient in emollient and suppurating cataplasms: they abound with a strong mucilage, and do not seem to have much active matter besides. Gerard indeed relates, that several persons were cured of dropsies, by the constant use, for a month or six weeks, of bread made of barley-meal with the juice of white lily roots: but there are examples of similar cures being obtained by the use of common dry bread; and probably in one case, as well as in the other, abstinence from liquids was the remedy.
Oleum lili-orum, fufi-num, etc.