Nymphaea odorata

It is very confusing to learn that a dozen different common names may refer to the same herbs. Yet, everyone thinks that their name is the right one for the particular herb.

About a hundred a fifty years ago a group of men set out to put herbs in separate categories, and give them Latin names that would identify them according to their families, their genus and their species. In the late 1700s or the early 1800s, botanist Richard Salisbury gave the white pond water lily the Latin family name of Nymphaeacea. He said the lily flower reminded him of the Greek fairies or nymphs that lived in pools of water and hid under the lily pads. The “aeaceae” on the end of the name denotes that this is a family name. If this white pond lily were a true lily it would belong to the Liliaceae family and it would grow from a bulb instead of a horizontal root or rhizome and it would like to grow on fairly dry ground. Almost everyone has seen the white pond lily that grows on a pond, or pool, or nera stagnant water. It is a perennial plant that has a beautiful white flower that is very fragrant. That is where the species name odorata comes from. The flower lies on the water or sometimes hides under the edge of a lily pad. The big, multi-petaled blossom blossom blooms from June until September. The leaf of this white lily is round and leathery and deeply notched at the base. The root or rhizome grows in the mud or muck, which makes it very healing. The root contains tannins and gallic acids that are astringent. The mucilage and starches and demulcent. It also contains gums, resins, sugars, ammonia and tartaric acid. Besides being astringent, which tightens tissue, it is a demulcent that softens tissue, and an anodyne that relieves pain. The root, when used as a poultice, is antiscrofulous which helps fight tuberculosis of the lymph glands, and helps overcome dysentery, diarrhea, gonorrhea and leucorrhoea. The leaves and roots has been used against ulcers of the mouth and throat. Many old-time herbalists and Native Americans used a decoction, or a concentrated tea, made from the white pond lily root. When used as a douche four or five times a day it helps to overcome uterine cancer.

A lady in one of our herb classes told of an experience that her mother had with cancer in the female organs. She said her mother used the white pond lily root to make a decoction for a douche and then drank a lot of the tea. She said she changed her diet to just fruits and vegetables and drank some chaparral tea also. Soon there was no trace of the cancer.
When I was a kid, my dad made my mom a great, big fish pond under the weeping willow tree. It was about two feet high and built out of broken field stones and had a flagstone seat all around the top. He put a half dozen big white pond lilies in the pond along with some huge goldfish. Pretty soon the lilies filled the whole pond. It sure smelled good around there.
Then, when I was a teenager, we had a neighbor lady that had a similar problem of uterine cancer. It went on for years and years. It is just too bad that we did not know about giving her some of those white pond lily roots to help her problem; because we sure had a lot of lilies and would have liked to have shared some with her.

Too bad we do not know a lot more about herbs and flowers and even vegetables. If we did, we would most likely be a lot healthier.

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