ALAINN: “BEAUTIFUL, FINE, LOVELY”. (IRISH) OLD IRISH ÁLAIND‎

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(Nymphaea candida)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Nymphaea candida
Nymphaeaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The following reports refer to the related N. alba and probably also apply to this species[K].

    The rhizome is anodyne, antiscrofulatic, astringent, cardiotonic, demulcent and sedative[4, 7, 9, 240]. A decoction of the root is used in the treatment of dysentery or diarrhoea caused by irritable bowel syndrome. It has also been used to treat bronchial catarrh and kidney pain and can be taken as a gargle for sore throats[254]. Externally it can be used to make a douche to treat vaginal soreness or discharges. In combination with slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) or flax (Linum usitatissimum) it is used as a poultice to treat boils and abscesses[254]. The rhizome is harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use[254].

    The flowers are anaphrodisiac and sedative[254]. They have a generally calming and sedative effect upon the nervous system, reputedly reducing the sex drive and making them useful in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and similar disorders[254].

    A complete cure of uterine cancer by a decoction and uterine injection has been recorded[4].

    According to one report the plant is not used in modern herbal practice, though it has been quoted as a remedy for dysentery[9].

  • Edible Use

    The following reports refer to the related N. alba and probably also apply to this species[K].

    Root – cooked. Eaten when several years old[2, 5, 145]. It contains up to 40% starch, 6% protein[7, 114].

    The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[7].

    Seed – cooked. It contains about 47% starch[114].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse in pots submerged under 25mm of water. Prick out into individual pots as soon as the first true leaf appears and grow them on in water in a greenhouse for at least two years before planting them out in late spring. The seed is collected by wrapping the developing seed head in a muslin bag to avoid the seed being lost. Harvest it 10 days after it sinks below the soil surface or as soon as it reappears[200]. Division in May. Each portion must have at least one eye. Submerge in pots in shallow water until established[56].
A water plant requiring a rich soil and a sunny position in still or slowly moving water[56, 200]. It is best grown in 2 – 2.5 metres of water[200]. Prefers a pH between 6 and 7[200]. Dislikes acid conditions according to another report. Plants are hardy to about -20¡c[187]. There are two basic types of plant in this genus:- ‘crawlers’ are species with horizontal roots that often spread freely, with new plants being formed at intervals along the root. These species are useful for naturalising, but they do not flower very freely in the cool summers of Britain[214]. ‘clumpers’ have vertical roots, they form slowly spreading clumps and produce offsets around the crown. These forms flower much more freely in Britain[214]. A very ornamental plant[1].
Europe, southwest Asia, Himalayas, China and Siberia.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.