Nuphar lutea, N. polysepala

Common Name: Yellow Pond Lily, Alligator Bonnet, Bullhead Lily
Family: Nymphaeaceae 
Part/s Used: Root, rhizome  
Energetics: Cooling
Taste: Mildly sweet, sour, bitter, 
Actions: Anti inflammatory, astringent, demulcent, tonic
Organ System Affinity: Urinary, Reproductive 
Planet: Moon
Element: Water 

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture (ratio & alcohol %): Fresh: 1:2 -1:3 95%
Drops: 10-60  Times a day: 3x

Tea: Decoction (weak)  
Ounces: 4-8  Times a day: 3x

Habitat and Botanical Description:

Yellow Pond Lily is an aquatic perennial that grows in the shallower parts of ponds, lakes, marshes, and slow-moving rivers in the cool, high mountains. Its spongy rhizomes anchor into the muddy floor and give rise to long stout stems attached to floating heart shaped “lily pads” that are wavy along the margins.  The lotus like yellow green flowers emerge on separate stem stalk and bloom may through October, partially opening in the morning and closing at night.

Medicinal Uses:

Yellow pond lily is a reproductive structural tonic that enhances the tone of the uterus. It is an effective tonic when there is heat and inflammation. It is a long term treatment of endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids, cervical dysplasia.  Hot pain in ovaries and mid cycle bleeding pain or anytime you are bleeding when you are not supposed to. It decreases excess menstrual bleeding and postpartum bleeding. It also makes an excellent sitz bath for the vaginal and rectal tissues.

Yellow pond lily has an affinity for the pelvic region. It is cooling for the urinary tract in both men and women. It tones the bladder and reduces inflammation.  Useful for swelling of the prostate, testicular inflammation, and cysts on testicles. Yellow pond lily and other lilies can be used for damp relaxation tissue state when there is a leakage of fluids specifically seminal fluids.  When there is passive leakage from the body, nutrients are lost and can led to dry atrophy over time. Examples of passive leakage include premature ejaculation, bed wetting, incontinence

Yellow pond lily is unique in that it is both an astringent as well as a demulcent. It is useful for heat and inflammation for the mucosal tissues throughout the body and because of its demulcent properties, will not over dry. Yellow pond lily is excellent for hot lower GI conditions and ulcerations such as IBS, crones and colitis.  Useful for rectal inflammation and hemorrhoids (for internal use an enema of tea, for external use sitz bath).

Use a poultice of the rhizome as a topical anti inflammatory for joint pain, acute flare up of arthritis. It has a cooling effect similar to cucumber on the skin. 

Energetically the yellow pond lily gives us clarity to our deepest desire without the confusion of emotions that get in the way. It gives us strength when we start to outgrow our old emotional patterns and helps connect us with who we truly are.


During cancer season, make your way to open water. Dive down and feel for thick roots. Grab and then pull up. The rhizomes are spongy. Rinse and clean with a brush, slice and dry. The seedpods are about the size of a fig and mature early fall. 


Avoid use with cold, congested stagnation. Dull, achy pain. Strictly for use for excess heat, where cooling is needed.


  • Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Santa Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press; 1993
  • Sinadinos, Christa. The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine. Fieldbrook, CA; 2020
  • Sinadinos, Christa. Northwest School for Botanical Studies Course. Lecture Notes; 2014
  • Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise herbal: A complete guide to old world medicinal plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 2008

Disclosure: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.