Most of the time, we appreciate flowers for their beauty and fragrance, but there are more than a few ornamental plants that also have medicinal properties and one of them is the white lily (Lilium candidum). Praised for its pure appearance, in the early days of Christianity the white lily was dedicated to the Madonna and it thus came to be known also as the Madonna lily. But the white lily is not just a symbol of purity, it is also an agent of purification, from eyes and skin, to heart and mind. Traditionally it was mostly used externally, but some scientific studies have also revealed antiviral and antiproliferative properties.
- Antiviral: A study published in New Biotechnology in 2009 demonstrated that a Lilium candidum leaf extract had a strong inhibitory effect on Herpes Simplex Virus-1 and a moderate inhibitory effect on Herpes Simplex Virus-2.
- Antiproliferative: The results of a study on the antitumor activity of Convolvulus galaticus, Crocus antalyensis, and Lilium candidum extracts, published in Journal of Medicinal Food in 2012, indicated that “these plant extracts have cytotoxic effects on human breast carcinoma cell line MCF-7 cells and that this cytotoxic effect comes from p53-mediated stimulation of apoptosis”.
- Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant: A study on the clinical effects of a Pfaffia paniculata, Ptychopetalum olacoides B. and Lilium candidum L. associated copound on periorbital hyperchromia (“dark circles”), published in Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2009, concluded that “the reduction in the inflammatory process as well as the antioxidant protection against deleterious elements may be considered as an integral approach to preserve the integrity of vascular endothelium, preventing the hemodynamic congestion that culminates in the formation of ‘dark circles’ around the eyes.”
- Insomnia, nightmares
- Anxiety, nervousness, memory problems
- Sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma
- Heart arrhythmia, palpitations, heart insufficiency
- Sensitive eyes, ocular pain, conjunctivitis
- Pharyngitis, laryngitis, cough
- Dry, irritated or sensitive skin, couperose
- Wounds, cuts, boils, burns, mammary cracks, nail infections
Preparation and administration
- For internal use
- Petal infusion: Add 1 teaspoon of ground petals in a cup of hot boiled water and let steep for 15 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups a day.
- Bulb decoction: Add 1 teaspoon of ground bulb in 300 ml of water and boil for 10 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups a day.
- Petal tincture: Add 1 part petals in 5 parts alcohol 70% and let it macerate for 15 days, shaking the recipient 3-4 times a day. Take 1 teaspoon in a glass of water, 3 times a day.
- For external use
- Petal water (especially for eye problems): Add 2 teaspoons of ground petals in a cup of cold water and let them macerate for 8-10 hours. Sift and wash the eyes with the water.
- Bulb oil (especially for ear problems): Add 50 g of ground bulb in 500 ml of sunflower oil and boil for 3 hours using a bain-marie. Put 3-4 drops in each ear.
- Bulb poultice (especially for wounds, cuts, boils and burns): Boil the bulbs and use them warm to bandage the affected area.