Convallaria majalus Anhang
[W. Boericke/Presented by Sylvain Cazalet]
Grows everywhere in the woods. Its blossoms are bell-shaped with four or six divisions and a corresponding calyx. They are small plants with broad roots and stem leaves. It is a span high and the two leaves are-broad and streakless. The fragrant flowers appear in May, the red berries in September. The root is fibrous and creeping, spreads rapidly and when powdered excites sneezing. An extract of the root is purgative. The name is very old.
It occurs in the Bible. Great joy comes to those who wear it. In the flower language it means, "you are modest ; renewed luck." In the middle ages this spring flower was used as a remedy and highly treasured as a panacea.
It was claimed that the Mayflower would strengthen the brain, nerves and nervous tissue, hence it was used for all diseases of the head, as vertigo, epilepsy, sleeping sickness, melancholia, strokes, etc. It was used in the form of an extract or tincture. These cephalic properties were later forgotten and towards the end of the eighteenth century it was used only for the composition of sneezing powders. However, it remained popular in Russia and was commonly used as a diuretic. In 1880, Convallaria was first brought to the notice of the orthodox medical profession as a remedy for cardiac valve affections by Trotsky. Two facts predominated from the results of
the physiological experimentations in Russia and later corroborated in Paris, viz., the regularization and augmentation in energy of the cardiac contractions, and second, diuresis
Convallaria is one of the newer Homopathic remedies, not being mentioned in our literature previous to 1883, and for that reason is not to be found in Allen's "Encyclopedia" or Hering's "Guiding Symptoms."
This may be one of the reasons why it is not more often used. Even the Allopaths value it more highly than many of us do, as I shall attempt to show a little later.
But I can assure you that Convallaria is a very potent remedy in heart conditions when certain indications are present, and finds its place as the much needed remedy for cardiac support when there seems little else to offer except digitalis and yet digitalis is plainly not indicated.
It is not my purpose now to go into the indications for digitalis and yet I cannot refrain from remarking the digitalis is used far too often when it is not indicated. Certainly a pulse regular in force, rate and rhythm does not indicate digitalis and yet how of ten in cases of early myocarditis with dyspna on exertion and slight dema of the extremities do we see digitalis prescribed for such cases despite the regular pulse. How much better we would do by the patient if we noted their symptoms carefully and gave them Cactus, Cratęgus, Adonis, Iberis or Convallaria as the symptoms seemed to indicate.
Dr. W. Lenneker in an article appearing in the Therapeutic Gazette of Detroit says that he has been using the fluid extract of Convallaria extensively in all kinds of heart affections excepting fatty degeneration of the heart, and sums up his experience by staling that "Convallaria in itself is one of the best tonics for the stomach ; it gives tone to the stomach and increases the appetite, and what is more, it exerts a tonic effect upon the intestinal mucosa, increasing the action of the bowels in a great many people."
Shoemaker: "In small doses Convallaria strengthens the heart's action. In larger quantities it restrains excessive cardiac activity. It has been found of service in mitral insufficiency. It quickly relieves the dyspna and palpitation and after having been given for two or three days may be discontinued for a week or more without recurrence of symptoms.
"Convallaria seldom disagrees with the stomach and no cumulative action has been observed. As a rule the appetite and digestion seem to improve under its use and regular action of the bowels is promoted.
"Germain-See mentions its use in the following pathological conditions. He highly recommends it in simple cardiac arrhythmias ; in palpitation resulting from a state of exhaustion of the vagus nerve (the most frequent cause of palpitation) ; in mitral stenosis, especially when accompanied by failure of compensation on the part of the left auricle, the cardiac force augments, visibly under Convallaria as the syhygmograph testifies. In mitral insufficiency where there is pulmonary congestion and in dilation of the heart without fatty degeneration Convallaria is indicated. In all cardiac affections indifferently from the moment that cardiac inflammations appear Convallaria has an action efficient, prompt, and certain".
Ellingwood: (eclectic) even enlarges on the above indications for Convallaria.
It is evident from numerous clinical works that Convallaria is an excellent substitute for digitalis in those conditions where digitalis is not specifically indicated and yet empirically prescribed.
Convallaria is better tolerated, does not accumulate in the system, does not increase the blood-pressure (although I realize that this is a mooted question in pharmacology), and finally if its effect is slow, it is less fleeting. This latter point I have personally demonstrated to my satisfaction. Once a patient is under the influence of Convallaria he may be kept comfortable for months at a time.
S. Solis-Cohen: "Convallaria is recommended in place of digitalis, which as regards its action on the heart and blood vessels it closely resembles, when for any reason it is deemed advisable to suspend the administration of the latter for a period and yet not leave the heart without any support".
Homopathic indications for Convallaria:
Dyspna with inability to lie down is the leading indication for the selection of the remedy. Around this symptom most of the other revolve. Dyspna caused by walking or ascending stairs or a hill even when there is no organic lesion or but slight involvement.
Convallaria is a valuable remedy for weak heart with more or less irregularity and with or without valvular lesions.
It is always to be thought of in dyspna with pulmonary stasis, hyperstatic congestion and cyanosis. It is useful for dilation of the heart due to emphysema. It is also indicated in dropsical conditions with scanty urine and constipation.
The patient needing Convallaria will often complain of a feeling as if the heart beat throughout the chest. Also a sensation as if the heart ceased beating and then started again suddenly.
Tongue is usually broad and thick with a dirty coating. There is a coppery metallic taste. The abdomen is sensitive. Clothes feel tight. Bladder feels full. In females soreness in the uterine region with sympathetic palpitation of the heart. Generalized aching in back, wrists, hands, ankles and toes. The modalities are better in the open air and worse in a warm room.
I use Convallaria in the tincture -usually 20 drops in ½ glass of water and one teaspoonful every two hours. In old chronics I prescribe 5 drops of the tincture 3x daily.