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Nymphaea odorata : White pond lily
by Robin Dipasquale
Medical Herbalism 11(3):6-7
Synonyms: Nymphaea alba, Nuphar alba, Water-lily, white pond lily, sweet pond lily, water nymph
Asian species: Nymphaea lotus (N. rubra, N.stellata); Nelumbo nucifera (Nymphaea nelumbo, Nelumbium speciosum); Nuphar japonicum, Nuphar pumilum]
Part used: rhizome (gather in the fall), seed, flower for EO
Taste: mucilaginous, slightly pungent, slightly bitter
Constituents: Tannic acid and Gallic acid - anti microbial and astringent
Alkaloids - bitter taste, typically the most potent and [potentially] toxic aspect of a plant. May act on the CNS
Mucilage, sterols, flavonoids, glycosides also present.
Actions: Antiseptic, astringent to mucus membranes, removes toxins from the tissue, not overly drying, styptic, demulcent, vulnerary - healing to skin wounds and ulcerative conditions, tonifying - improving tone and function, anodyne, anti-inflammatory - internally and externally
Culpepper says this plant is under the influence of the moon, indicating cooling, moistening, and yin promoting properties.
Preparations and their dosages according to Dr. Christopher
decoction - 1-2 tbsp. or more
fluid extract - 1/2-1 fluid tsp. (30-60 drops) infusion - 2-4 tbsp. 3-4 times/day between meals powder - 2 grams (1/2 tsp.)
tincture - 1/2-1 fluid tsp. (30-60 drops)
Both Michael Moore and Professor John King suggest larger doses of the decoction - 2-8 cups/day - plus douche
In addition to application with a douche, White pond lily can be used internally, as a gargle, or poultice.
Juliette de Bairacli Levy states that the preparation of the root is to slice it, place in cold water, heat gently for 5 minutes (in order to preserve the mucilage properties, do not bring to a boil ).
Keep in mind the cooling and moistening actions.
inflammation of the uterus, prolapse of uterus, relaxed vagina - internal p0 dosage plus vaginal injection
leukorrhea - decoction or infusion as vaginal injection
catarrh of the bladder, lingering congestion (decoction)
kidney disorders (decoction)
prostate irritation, chronic with gummy discharge (decoction)
mouth and throat subacute and chronic inflammation periodontal disease, thrush, canker sores, tonsillitis, pharyngitis
poultice of roots and leaves topically, powder of root with flax seed ground and slippery elm, or decoction or infusion as a gargle.
ulcerations including venereal ulcers (powdered root dusted on the surface)
stagnation and swelling in lymphatic structures
sore eyes, opthalmia ( infusion as a wash)
wounds, cuts - leaves bruised and applied directly
sunburn - leaves or flowers wll decrease heat and swelling
menstrual cycle complaints, can clear pelvic congestion, alleviate PMS and ease menstrual flow
used to pacify the pita dosha in ayurveda
in TCM, aids the liver, lung, and stomach meridian and in controlling bleeding
Homeopathic proving showed the following results: Mentals: excessive moral sensibility, pain on witnessing the suffering of animals, great impatience at slightest contradiction.
Physical weakness, restlessness, diminution of strength, headache, weariness in stomach, slow digestion, wind colic, diarrhea in early a.m., impotence or excessive sexual desire, sexual exhaustion, aggravated from sex, especially in males, nocturnal emissions.
Matthew Wood speaks of Nymphaea odorata and its actions being related to the TCM diagnosis of Kidney Yin Deficiency. Fluid is Yin and a deficiency of fluid would result in the inability of the body to cool and moisten itself. This excess heat condition can bring about irritation, over excitement, night sweats, diarrhea, and loss of sexual fluids. Weakness and debility of the isolated area or of the whole being would result.
Menomini Indians believed the Nymphaea
odorata and other pond lilies
belong to the spirit of the underneath, the
underworld. The underwater
horned serpent is the symbol for the primal
waters of the world. The Menomini
Indians believed the water lily generated the
fog hovering over lakes.
This is representative of the water lily
bringing the forces from below
and the forces from above together to make
visions of importance.
The water lily is able to bring together the earth energy where it has its roots, the air element where the leaves and flowers reside, and the water element, the pathway of the stems. In our bodies, the integration of the earth element from our root chakra with the air and ether element from the higher chakras may be assisted by the water lily through balancing the water element. The heart, which resides along the pathway, must be open.