Madonna lily: mother of all lilies

The ancestral flower with healing powers

A big bunch of stylish lilies looks great on your sideboard, but do you realise what you’ve just put in that vase? Nowadays, we use flowers to brighten our home and make people happy, but things were different in the past.  Back then, they were mainly interested in the functional value of these scented blooms, particularly turning the flower into healing oils and balms. Today, the flowers that we use in bouquets have a lot less healing magic. Let’s go back to the roots of the lily to wonder at the powers that Mother Nature has given the mother of all lilies. Hello Madonna lily! 

From the virgin Mary to the Madonna lily

The Madonna lily used to have medicinal properties and in 1150 monastery gardens were packed with them. As this lily also symbolises purity and virginity, it was often depicted in paintings of the Virgin Mary, hence the name Madonna lily. 

The Madonna lily pharmacy

Every part of the flower was used: flowers, leaves, roots and bulbs. The flowers were transformed into useful oil or balm and the leaves and roots were mixed with wine or honey and used as a salve. The list of things for which this lily could be used is almost endless: 

  • The Romans rubbed an extract from the pickled bulbs of the Madonna lily into their feet. It softened the skin and corns disappeared. A lily bulb cooked in milk soon cured chilblained hands and feet, and the ointment also got rid of boils.
  • Egyptian ladies use the Madonna lily for gynaecological problems. They also use the mucus from the bulb to treat inflammations and burns, amongst other things.
  • Before we could just grab a plaster from the first-aid kit, lily leaves were placed on damaged skin to heal wounds.
  • Rashes and spots used to be generously treated with lily water and lily ointment.
  • Vain men with a receding hairline coated their heads lavishly with a mixture made from the ash of the burnt roots of the Madonna lily mixed with honey.  

MR.LILIUM shaving soap

Today we have used the expertise of food designer Katja Gruijters and grower Gerben Ravensbergen from Lilies of Life to create a shaving soap with a hint of lily: MR.LILIUM. We used a descendant of the Madonna lily, the ‘Eyeliner’ lily, because of its antiseptic properties.

Don’t try using lilies yourself – we’ve done it for you.  Stick to displaying them beautifully in a vase, since the lilies that you can buy in the shops are not suitable for human consumption, as a treatment for medical problems or to enhance your beauty.

Want to find out more about MR.LILIUM and how you can win this exclusive shaving soap? Go to LINK.