Botanical Source.—This plant has a perennial root or bulb, composed of imbricated fleshy scales, from which arises a thick stem 3 to 4 feet in height. The leaves are scattered, lanceolate, and narrowed at the base. The flowers are large, snow-white, campanulate, smooth inside, and borne in a terminal raceme (W.).
History.—This is an exotic, a native of Syria and Asia Minor, and is much cultivated in this country on account of its beautiful white flowers, which have long been regarded as the emblems of purity, and which appear in June and July. The bulb is the part used; it is inodorous, but has a mucilaginous, amarous, rather unpleasant taste. Mucilage enters largely into its constitution, together with a small quantity of an acrid substance, which disappears by heat. Water extracts its virtues.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Meadow lily, or white lily, as it is sometimes called, is mucilaginous, demulcent, tonic, and astringent. Useful in leucorrhoea and prolapsus uteri, the decoction taken internally and employed in injection; it is more decided in its effects when combined with senecio. Boiled in milk, it forms an excellent poultice for ulcers, external inflammations, tumors, etc. The recent root is stated to have been useful in dropsy. Ɣ The flowers are very fragrant, which property they communicate to oily or fatty bodies, forming liniments or ointments useful to relieve the heat and pain attending local inflammations; oil obtained from the petals is reputed efficient in pains of the womb, and in otitis.
Related Species.—Lilium tigrinum or Tiger lily. The tiger lily, so-called from the fact that the flowers are spotted after the manner of the skin of the tiger, is a native of Japan and China, but has been widely cultivated as a garden plant. The flowers, which appear in July and August, are large and borne in a pyramidal cluster at the top of the stem. They are of a dark-orange hue and marked with somewhat elevated black or deep crimson spots. A tincture of the plant, in flower, is used quite largely by homoeopathic physicians, to whom it was introduced by Dr. W. E. Payne.
Ɣ Tincture of tiger lily has acquired considerable of a reputation as a remedy for uterine irritation and congestion, its effects being slowly produced. It has relieved the nausea of uterine irritation, and the nausea of pregnancy, and excellent results are reported of its efficacy in congestive dysmenorrhoea. It is reputed a leading remedy for chronic ovarian neuralgia, being indicated by darting, burning pains in the ovaries. When pelvic weight and prolonged lochia accompany a tardy recovery from parturition, this remedy promises relief, and much testimony points to its value in relieving the bearing-down sensations incident to uterine prolapse. The dose is from 1/8 drop to 5 drops of a strong tincture of the fresh plant. The remedy deserves a careful study. Vomiting, purging, and drowsiness were the symptoms produced in a little girl poisoned by the pollen of tiger lily (Wyman, 1863).
Phormium tenax, Forster. New Zealand flax, New Zealand hemp. Nat. Ord.—Liliaceae. A tall flowering plant, indigenous to some of the South Pacific Islands and introduced into other countries, and frequently found in hot-houses. The leaf-fibers constitute the silky appearing and cream-colored, tough New Zealand flax, used for cordage. The roots and leaf-bases, in concentrated decoction, with the addition of carbolic acid, have been employed as a surgical dressing in amputations and other fresh wounds. It is said to reduce or prevent excessive suppuration (Monckton). It needs further investigation.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.