Convallaria Flowers. N. F. IV. Convallariae Flores. Lily-of-the-Valley Flowers.—It is described in the N. F. as "the dried inflorescence of Convallaria majalis Linne (Fam. Liliaceae), without the presence of more than 5 per cent. of foreign matter. From 15 to 25 cm. in length, peduncle dull-green or suggesting purplish-green, and more or less angled; flowers white, when old drying to a brownish color, usually from ten to twenty in number, borne in a more or less secund raceme on recurved pedicels which are usually from a half longer than their flowers to twice their length, each pedicel subtended by a whitish, ovate, acute bract about half its length; flowers from 6 to 8 mm. in length and rather broader, bell-shaped, six-parted, the segments ovate, obtuse, and slighly recurved; stamens six, included, adnate to the base of the corolla; style columnar, three-grooved. Odor agreeable; taste sweetish, then somewhat acrid. The powdered drug is light yellowish-brown and, when examined under the microscope, exhibits ellipsoidal or nearly spherical pollen grains with a smooth exine layer and occasionally with a convex rupture through the walls; calcium oxalate in raphides up to 0.04 mm. in length; fragments of tissue from the corolla composed of nearly iso-diametric parenchyma cells with broadly elliptical stomata up to 0.04 mm. in length; fragments from the anther lobes, many of the coils having reticulate walls; few fragments of the short filaments with cells containing calcium oxalate; fragments of the stigma, rough and warty, with adhering pollen grains; portions of the bracts composed of thin-walled elongated cells, a few vascular bundles and stomata; tissue of the peduncle and pedicel composed of fragments of the epidermis with cells tapering at each end about 0.20 mm. in length and 0.0,3 mm. in breadth with elliptical stomata between the ends; sub-epidermal cells with yellowish-green plastids; tracheae about 0.021 mm. in width, spiral and with simple pores; sclerenchymatous fibers few, with lignified walls and simple pores. Convallaria Flowers yield not more than 12 per cent. of ash." N. F. For constituents and uses, see Convallaria Root.
Convallaria Root. N. F. IV. (U. S. P. VIII.) Convallariae Radix. Lily-of-the-Valley Root. Lilium Convallium. Muguet, Fr. Cod. Maiblumen, G. Convallaria, Mughetto, It. Convalaria, Lirio de los valles, Sp.—It is described by the N. F. as "the dried rhizome and roots of Convallaria majalis Linne (Fam. Liliaceae). Rhizome horizontal, elongated, usually branched, cylindrical, variable in length, from 1 to 3 mm. in diameter; externally yellowish-white or pale brown, with a few circular stem. scars, and from the under and side portions at the nodes usually arise from three to five thin, tortuous, dark brown, branching root's; fracture short or fibrous; internally whitish. Odor faint; taste sweetish, becoming bitter and acrid. Under the microscope, transverse sections of the rhizome of Convallaria Root show an epidermal layer with a thick outer layer of cutin; a hypodermal layer of a single row of collenchyma; a cortex made up of about twenty rows of parenchyma cells, some of which contain starch and raphides of calcium oxalate; a prominent endodermis, the radial and inner walls of which are strongly thickened and lignified; inside the endodermis is an interrupted circle of collateral fibro-vascular bundles, the woody portion of which has in cross section the shape of the letter V; inside the circle of bundles is another interrupted circle of fibro-vascular bundles of the concentric type, the sieve tissue being surrounded by the xylem; the parenchyma cells of the pith separated by large intercellular spaces. Under the microscope, transverse sections of the root of Convallaria show a hairy epidermal layer, a hypodermis of a single row of cells; a cortex of about six rows of cells, some of which contain starch, raphides of calcium oxalate, and oil; the cells of the endodermal layer resemble those of the rhizome; fibro-vascular bundles mostly five. The powder is dark brown, tending to cake on standing, consisting chiefly of cellular fragments and a few starch grains and raphides of calcium oxalate; cells of endodermis with slightly oblique ends and considerably thickened, lignified porous walls; fragments of tracheae with spiral and scalariform thickenings, or with porous walls; starch grains single or compound, mostly nearly spherical, and from 0.003 to 0.012 mm. in diameter; raphides of calcium oxalate few, from 0.02 to 0.045 mm. in length. Convallaria Root yields not more than 10 per cent. of ash." N. F.
The ordinary lily of the valley of the gardens is primarily a native of Europe, but may be found in America escaped from gardens, and a plant which grows wild in the higher Alleghenies from Central Virginia to South Carolina seems to be identical with it. G. F. Walz found in lily of the valley convallarin and convallamarin. (A. J. P., 1859, p. 5,77.) Convallarin is in colorless, rectangular prisms, scarcely soluble in water, but sufficiently so as to render the solution acrid and to cause it when shaken to foam like soap and water. It is easily dissolved by alcohol. Its composition is represented by the formula C34H62O11, and it is a glucoside, decomposed by long boiling with diluted acids into sugar and convallaretin. Convallamarin is a white powder, very bitter and afterwards sweetish, soluble in water and alcohol, but not in ether. This also is a glucoside. Its composition is C23H44O12, and it is decomposed by heating with diluted sulphuric acid into sugar and convallamaretin, the formula of which is C20H36O8. For preparing convallamarin, Tanret modifies Waiz's method, as follows. An alcoholic tincture made from the whole plant is precipitated with lead subacetate and filtered; the excess of lead is removed with diluted sulphuric acid, avoiding the use of more than is necessary, and, after neutralizing, the tincture is distilled, the last portion of alcohol being driven off in the open air; then the cooled and filtered liquor is treated with tannin, care being taken to keep the liquid neutral by cautiously adding a diluted solution of sodium carbonate. A compound of tannin and convallamarin is precipitated, which, after washing, is dissolved in 60° alcohol, the solution decolorized with charcoal, decomposed with zinc oxide, filtered, and evaporated to dryness. In this way convallamarin is obtained nearly white, and having the appearance of ordinary digitalin. To free it from the salts that are sometimes carried down by the tannin precipitate, it is a good plan to redissolve it in 90° alcohol, filter, and then evaporate. One kilo-gramme of the fresh plant collected in the first days of August yielded two grammes of convallamarin. (P. J. 1882, p. 423.) Taken internally the flowers are said to be emetic and cathartic, and their extract purges actively in the dose of half a drachm. They were formerly used in epilepsy and against worms. The root, which is also bitter, has similar purgative properties, and in powder is said to be sternutatory. Haensel obtained 0.058 per cent. of an aromatic volatile oil from the leaves of Convallaria majalis. (Ph. Centralh., 1901, 495.)
Convallaria has long been used in Russia as a popular remedy for the relief of dropsy. While there is considerable divergence of statements as to the exact effects of this drug upon the circulation, it seems to be well established that it arrests the frog's heart in systole and produces the other phenomena characteristic of the digitalis group of drugs. Dose, of either the flowers or root, five to ten grains (0.32-0.65 Gm.).
Convallaria Polygonatum L. (Polygonatum uniflorum Gilib.; now P. officinale (L.) All.) Sealwort. Solomon's Seal. Sceau de Salomon, Genouillet, Fr. Weisswurzel, Salomon's Siegel, G. (Fam. Liliaceae.)—A perennial, herbaceous European plant, whose root is inodorous. It is said to be emetic. In former times it was used externally in bruises, especially those about the eyes, in tumors, wounds, and cutaneous eruptions, and was highly esteemed as a cosmetic. At present it is not employed. The berries and flowers are said to be acrid and poisonous. Polygonatum multiflorum L. (All.) (C. multiflora L.), which grows in Europe and Asia, is analogous to the preceding in properties. (See John H. Rauch, In. Dis., 1849.)
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.