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Observations placeholder

Sacred lotus leaves - HIV antiviral effects



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Extracted from The sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)– phytochemical and therapeutic profile - Dr Pulok K. Mukherjee1,2,*, Debajyoti Mukherjee1, Amal K. Maji1, S. Rai1 and Michael Heinrich2  Article first published online: 8 JAN 2010  DOI: 10.1211/jpp.61.04.0001  2009 Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

The leaves are large and orbicular, 20–90 cm in diameter and non-wettable. Leaves are of two types: aerial and floating, and are petiolated and entirely glaucous. The aerial leaves are cup-shaped whereas the floating leaves are flat. The petioles of the aerial leaves are erect, smooth, greenish or greenish brown in colour with small brown dots and are sometimes rough. The aerial leaves are usually 24–33 cm in length, and the floating leaves 23–30 cm. Odour is distinct; fractures are fibrous. The young leaves are eaten as vegetables and used in traditional medicine.

Traditional uses

The leaf juice is used for the treatment of diarrhoea, and Glycyrrhiza spp leaf decoction is used for the treatment of sunstroke. The dried leaf is used in summer heat, to invigorate the function of the spleen and to arrest bleeding by reducing heat in the blood. The leaf extract has diuretic and astringent properties, and is used to treat fever, sweating and as a styptic. The leaves are used in the treatment of haematemesis, epistaxis, haemoptysis, haematuria, metrorrhagia, hyperlipidaemia and obesity. Primarily they are used for clearing heat, removing heatstroke, cooling the blood and to stop bleeding.  The stem is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a diuretic, anthelmintic and to treat strangury, vomiting, leprosy, skin diseases, nervous exhaustion and diarrhoea.

Pharmacology and toxicology

Cardiovascular activity

Two alkaloids that act as serotonin antagonists, namely asimilobine and lirinidine, were isolated from the leaves of N. nucifera. Both alkaloids inhibited serotonin-induced contractions in isolated rabbit aorta. Another alkaloid, nelumbine, which acts as a cardiac poison, was also reported to be present in leaves and petioles of the plant.

Antiviral activity

The 95% ethanol extract has been reported to show anti-HIV activity (EC50 < 20 μg/ml). Some anti-HIV principles, including (+)-1(R)-coclaurine, (–)-1(S)-norcoclaurine and quercetin 3-O-β-D-glucuronide, were found in N. nucifera leaves.  Both (+)-1(R)-coclaurine and (–)-1(S)-norcoclaurine showed potent anti-HIV activity, with EC50 values of 0.8 and < 0.8 μg/ml, respectively, and therapeutic index values above 125 and 25, respectively, whereas quercetin 3-O-β-D-glucuronide was less potent (EC50 2 μg/ml). Other potent anti-HIV bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids such as nuciferine, liensinine, negferine and isoliensinine have also been isolated from the leaves of N. nucifera, with EC50 values below 0.8 μg/ml and therapeutic index values of 36, > 9.9, > 8.6 and > 6.5, respectively.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Viral infection