Water Lily – Kumuda Benefits, Side Effects, Research

Different types of water lilies are explained in Ayurveda. Among them, Nymphaea stellata and Nymphaea alba are most important. Almost all have been explained to have similar health benefits. 

Botanical name- Nymphaea alba Linn
Family- Nymphaeaceae
Names in different languages: 
English name- White water Lily
Hindi name- Koyi
Telugu name- Kauva Puvvu
Malayalam name- Kamod

Nymphaea alba

Nymphaea alba

Sanskrit Synonyms –
Shveta Kuvalaya, Shweta Jalaja  – Due to white colored water lily flowers
Kumuda, Abja, Abda, Ambhoda, Ambuja, Jaleruha, Somapriya – Born in water
Kairava, Pankaja, Kalhara, Kalhara, Kusheshaya Shyamavrunta, Neelavrunta, Chandrakanta Shashipriya

Nymphaea nouchali

Nymphaea nouchali


Major chemical constituents
Water lily Flower- Nymphalin(glucoside), Quercetin,Kaempferol, etc
Roots- Luteolin

Nymphaea nouchali

Nymphaea nouchali

Classical categorization
Charaka and Vagbhata – Mutra Virajaniya (group of herbs that impart natural color to the urine.)
Sushruta- Utpaladi
Bhavaprakasha – Pushpavarga
Dhanvantari Nighantu – Karaveeradi Varga

Nymphaea stellata

Nymphaea stellata

Types of water lilies:
Various Lily species are explained in Ayurveda with similar qualities.
White water lily – Nymphaea alba – Shveta Kuvalaya, Kumuda
Blue water lily – Nymphaea stellata – Neelotpala
Read water lily – Nymphaea rubra – Raktotpala

Water lily medicinal properties
Rasa (taste) – Madhura (sweet), Kashaya (astringent), Tikta (bitter)
Veerya – Sheeta
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Snigdha (unctuous, oily), Picchilla (stickiness)
Vipaka- Madhura – Undergoes sweet taste conversion after digestion.
Karma- Balances Pitta and Kapha Dosha
Part used- Rhizome, Flower,seeds, whole plant
Fresh juice of Rhizome 10-20 ml
seed powder 3-6 grams

water lily benefits

उत्पलानि कषायाणि रक्तपित्तहराणि च|
utpalāni kaṣāyāṇi raktapittaharāṇi ca| – Charaka Sutrasthana 27/115

Lotus and water lily are quite similar in uses. They are the best in
Sangrahika (absorbent, useful in chronic diarrhea, IBS, colitis) and Raktapitta (Bleeding disorders such as Ulcerative colitis, nasal bleeding, menorrhagia). To re-frame the above sentence,
Among the herbs that are useful as absorbent and in bleeding disorders, lotus and water lily are the best.
Lotuses and lilies are astringent and useful in bleeding disorders due to Pitta imbalance.

Kumudini – whole plant of Water lily –
The flower along with root, stem seeds combined is called as Kumudini, Kumudvati, Kairavika.
The quality of the whole plant is similar to Padmini (whole plant of lotus) –
Sheetala – coolant
Gurvi – Heavy to digest
Rooksha – dry
Madhura – sweet
Lavana – salt
Balances Pitta, Kapha Dosha and Rakta (useful in blood vitiation disorders)
Vata Vishtambakarini – causes constipation.

Water lily benefits: 
Hladi – good and comforting for mind and heart
Sheetala – Coolant
Indicated in
Raktadosha – blood impurity and vitiation disorders such as acne, skin diseases, bleeding disorders etc
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Shrama – tiredness, fatigue

water lily seeds:
Is useful to improve mood and to treat depression.
It is
Vatala – increases Vata Dosha
Vatala – increases Vata Dosha
Indicated in –
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Atisara – diarrhoea, dysentery

Soon after delivery, a drink made by milk – boiled with quarter part of water lily petals is administered to the mother. (reference: Sushruta Shareera Sthana 10)

Water lily side effects:
In some, it may cause constipation.
Can be used during pregnancy, lactation and in children.

Anti inflammatory activity of ethanolic extract of Nymphaea alba
Hepato-protective activity of N. alba
Anti-depressant activity of Nymphaea alba

Ayurvedic medicines with Kumuda / Utpala as ingredient
Darvyadi Kashaya
used in the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding with pain, leucorrhoea etc.
Phal Kalyan Ghrita – used in Ayurvedic treatment of male and female infertility.
Samangadi Churna – It is used in Ayurvedic treatment of bleeding hemorrhoids. It is a simple combination of six herbs.
Chandanadi Lauh – used in the treatment of chronic fever
Puga Khanda – used in the treatment of vomiting, gastritis, dizziness, abdominal pain etc.

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  1. How can the flowers be prepared for medicinal use?

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