Herbs & Plants

Nymphaea odorata

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Botanical Name: Nymphaea odorata
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Nymphaea
Species: N. odorata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Nymphaeales

Synonyms: Sweet Water Lily. Sweet-scented Water Lily. Water Nymph. Large White Water Lily.

Common Names: American white waterlily, beaver root, fragrant white water lily, fragrant waterlily, white water lily, sweet-scented white water lily, and sweet-scented water lily

Part Used for medicines: The fresh root.
Habitat: Nymphaea odorata commonly be found in shallow lakes, ponds, and permanent slow moving waters throughout North America where it ranges from Central America to northern Canada. It is also reported from Brazil and Guyana.
Nymphaea odorata is a perennial aquatic herb, grows to the surface of the water from a thick horizontal root-stock, stem absent, flowers growing on long peduncles and the leaves on separate petioles. Stipules deltoid or nearly reniform, emarginate; leaves always floating orbicular, smooth, and shining, dark green above, wine-colour beneath. Flowers large white, showy and fragrant, often 6 inches in diameter; sepals four elliptical scaphoid, nearly free; petals numerous; stamens indefinite; ovary large globular, depressed, eighteen to twenty-four-celled. Fruit a depressed globular, fleshy body; seeds oblong, stipulate. The flowers open as the sun rises, after a few hours gradually closing, being entirely closed during the midday heat and at night.

This plant is rooted from a branched rhizomes which gives rise to long petioles which terminate in smooth floating leaves. Since the leaves are subject to tearing by water and waves, they are round with a waxy upper coating that is water-repellent. The flowers also float. They are radially symmetric with prominent yellow stamens and many white petals. The flowers open each day and close again each night and are very fragrant. Once the flowers are pollinated, the developing fruit is pulled back under water for maturation.

It is cultivated in aquatic gardens as an ornamental plant. It is invasive and weedy on the west coast of North America.

Edible Uses:
The fragrant water-lily has both medicinal and edible parts. The seeds, leaves, flowers and rhizomes can all be eaten.

Constituents: The roots contain tannin, gallic acid and mucilage, starch, gum, resin, sugar, ammonia, tartaric acid, fecula, etc.

Chemical Compositions: The lignans nymphaeoside A and icariside E, and the flavonols kaempferol 3-O-alpha-l-rhamnopyranoside (afzelin), quercetin 3-O-alpha-l-rhamnopyranoside (quercitrin), myricetin 3-O-alpha-l-rhamnopyranoside (myricitrin), quercetin 3-O-(6′-O-acetyl)-beta-d-galactopyranoside, myricetin 3-O-beta-d-galactopyranoside and myricetin 3-O-(6′-O-acetyl)-beta-d-galactopyranoside can be found in N. odorata

Medicinal Uses:
The root is astringent, demulcent, anodyne, and antiscrofulous, used in dysentery, diarrhoea,gonorrhoea, and leucorrhoea externally. The leaves and roots have been used in form of poultice to boils, tumours, scrofulous ulcers and inflamed skin; the infusion is used as a gargle for ulcers in the mouth and throat. The rhizomes were also used by first nations to treat coughs and colds. The stem could be used to treat tooth aches if placed directly on the tooth.

The roots, in decoction, were much esteemed by Indian squaws as an internal remedy, and injection and wash for the worst forms of leukorrhea, its properties in this direction being due to its astringency.  A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of TB, chronic bronchial complaints, diarrhea, dysentery, gastrointestinal inflammation, gonorrhea, vaginal discharge, inflamed glands, mouth sores and to stop bleeding.  A poultice made from the roots is used in the treatment of swellings, boils, tumors, inflamed skin, vaginitis etc. The roots are harvested in the autumn once the plant has died down, and are dried for later use.  A complete cure of uterine cancer by a decoction and uterine injection has been recorded.   Very effective in dropsy, kidney troubles, catarrh of the bladder, or irritation of the prostate. Excellent for infant bowel troubles.  Heals inflamed gums. Externally, a poultice of the macerated root and/or leaves made for painful swellings, boils, ulcers, wounds, and cuts. Apply the powdered root, combined with flaxseed, as a poultice  to suppurating glands; its styptic properties were also fully known and utilized.  A tea made from the root makes a good gargle for irritation and/or inflammation in the mouth and throat, used as an eyewash, and a vaginal douche. As a lotion, it helps heal sores, makes skin soft and smooth. Both root and leaves are sometimes made into poultices for wounds, cuts, and bruises. A folk tradition, a mixture of root and lemon juice was used to remove freckles and pimples.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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