Suppression

Lotus

Category: Medicines - plant based

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

 

Nelumbo known by the common name lotus or Water lotus, is a plant in the Nelumbonaceae family. There are two similar living species in the genus:

  • The Sacred lotus Nelumbo nucifera  is better known. Native to Tropical Asia, it is commonly cultivated in water gardens and is found as far afield as Queensland in Australia.  It is also used in Chinese medicine and cooking. This species is the national flower of Egypt, India and Vietnam. In other words it is a widespread plant growing all over Asia, parts of Australia and parts of Africa. It is also known as the Rose of India
  • The American lotus Nelumbo lutea is native to North America and the Caribbean - Eastern United States, Mexico, Greater Antilles, and Honduras. 

This description will concentrate on Nelumbo Nucifera. Having said this, horticultural hybrids have been produced between these two geographically separated species, which makes identification and chemical analysis difficult.

Botanically, Nelumbo nucifera may also be referred to by its former names, Nelumbium speciosum or Nymphaea nelumbo.   It is not related to water lilies despite the old name.

Background

A bit of history

The effects of lotus were known to the ancient Greeks and Ancient Egyptians amongst many others.  The Odyssey described well the land of the Lotus Eaters. 
Why do we talk, for example, of the ‘lotus’ position.  If you think about it, the seated position has no obvious links with a lotus at all, but of course if the Hindu holy man sat with his lotus brew and drank a sip in that position, we have a more meaningful association, although its symbolism also comes into play here.
In Hindu religious literature, Surya is often depicted with two hands holding a lotus. Vishnu, the Indian god known as the preserver, is depicted as a blue bee resting on a lotus flower.
The ‘Sahasrara chakra’ has a special place in much Hindu and eastern religious thought.  It is the name given to the crown chakra.  It is symbolized by a lotus with one thousand petals.  So there is a very direct link here between Hindu spiritual experience and the lotus flower. 

The chemical analysis

It is difficult to show just what a very complex plant the lotus is, without showing its chemical composition, so in the following table I will list the chemicals as they are recorded in the Dr Duke database.  You should be able to see that the rhizome might be better classified as a food, the flower has its own very unique properties and the seed is highly nutritious - both rhizome and seed contain a good supply of vitamins and minerals - and thus might also be better thought of as a food. [β-carotene is a precursor (inactive form) to vitamin A] .

Lotus appears to be an extraordinarily good source of the amino acids regarded as essential for humans - phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine. Additionally, cysteine (or sulphur-containing amino acids), tyrosine (or aromatic amino acids), and arginine are always required by infants and growing children.  I have indicated in green the aminoacids the plant contains.  They are almost a complete food.

From Dr Duke’s database of plants and chemicals

Part of Plant

Chemical showing low and high ppm

Flower

HYPEROSIDE                                  

ISOQUERCETIN               

KAEMPFEROL-3-GLUCURONIDE               

LUTEOLIN                        

MERATINE                                     

QUERCETIN                                    

QUERCETIN-3-GLUCURONIDE                 

 

Rhizome

ALANINE             540        2585     

ARGININE           880        4210

ASCORBIC-ACID 15

ASH                     9700      68000

ASPARAGINE                   20000

ASPARTIC-ACID               3690      17655

BETA-CAROTENE            

CALCIUM            450        3704

CARBOHYDRATES 120000           824880

CYSTINE              220        1055

FAT                      1000      6790

FIBER                  8000      49383

GADOLEIC-ACID  20        95

GLUTAMIC-ACID 1390   6650

GLYCINE             1560      7464

HISTIDINE          380        1820

IRON                     7           70

ISOLEUCINE       540        2585     

KILOCALORIES   560        2680

LEUCINE             690        3300

LINOLEIC-ACID 140        670

LINOLENIC-ACID 60        285

LYSINE                 940      4500

MAGNESIUM     200        1215

METHIONINE     220        1050

MUFA                 200        955

MYRISTIC-ACID                                           

NIACIN                             21          130

OLEIC-ACID        140        670

PALMITIC-ACID               280        1340

PALMITOLEIC-ACID 20   95

PHENYLALANINE 470      2250

PHOSPHORUS   1000      4785

POTASSIUM       3820      34925

PROLINE             1360      6500

PROTEIN             26000   167000

PUFA                   200        955

RAFFINOSE                                     

REDUCING-SUGARS 15600          96296

RIBOFLAVIN       0.6         3.7

SERINE               600        2870

SODIUM             395        1935

STACHYOSE                                   

STARCH              92500   570988

STEARIC-ACID   10          50

SUCROSE            4100      25309

TANNIC-ACID                                

THIAMIN            2.2         14

THREONINE       510        2440

TRIGONELLINE                             

TRYPTOPHAN    200        955

TYROSINE           290        1390

VALINE               550        2630

WATER                             750000 838000

 

Seed

ALANINE             2390      7242

ARGININE           3380      10242

ARSENIC                           0.11

ASCORBIC-ACID                                          

ASH                     9000      52000

ASPARTIC-ACID 5050      15303

BETA-CAROTENE 0.06    0.18

CALCIUM            590        13333

CARBOHYDRATES 139000           762000

COPPER                            17

CYSTINE              540        1636

ERUCIC-ACID     310        939

FAT                      2000      27000

FIBER                  10700   131000

GADOLEIC-ACID 120      364                     

GLUTAMIC-ACID 9570   29000

GLUTATHIONE                             

GLYCINE             2210      6697

HISTIDINE          1150      3485

IRON                   9.5         71

ISOLEUCINE       2050      6212

ISOLIENSININE                             

KILOCALORIES   630        3900

LEUCINE             3260      9879

LIENSININE                                     

LINOLEIC-ACID 2850      8636

LINOLENIC-ACID 270      818

LOTUSINE                                       

LYSINE               2640      8000

MAGNESIUM     560        2650

MANGANESE                   125

METHIONINE     720        2182

MUFA                 1040      3152

MYRISTIC-ACID               10          30

N-NOR-ARMEPAVINE                                 

N-NORNUCIFERINE                                     

NEFERIN                                         

NIACIN               4            78

NUCIFERINE                                   

O-METHYLCORYPALLINE                                          

OLEIC-ACID        620        1879

OXOUSHINSUNINE                                      

PALMITIC-ACID               770        2333

PHENYLALANINE 2060   6242

PHOSPHORUS    590        7130

POTASSIUM       3670      16652

PROLINE             3440      10424

PRONUCIFERINE                                          

PROTEIN             41300   242000

PUFA                   3120      9454

RIBOFLAVIN       0.4         2.6

SERINE               2520      7636

SFA                      880        2667

SODIUM             10          490

THIAMIN            1.5         7.5

THREONINE       2000      6060

TRYPTOPHAN    590        1788

TYROSINE           1000      3030

VALINE                2660      8061

WATER                             143000 80200

ZINC                    28

 

Rest of Plant

1-(P-HYDROXYBENZYL)-6,7-DIHYDROXY-1,2,3,4-TETRAHYDROISOQU...   Plant                   

2-HYDROXY-1-METHOXYAPORPHINE      Plant                  

4'METHYL-N-METHYLCOCLAURINE          Leaf                    

ANONAINE         Leaf                    

CALCIUM            Fruit      1360      1511

CARBOHYDRATES           Fruit      666000 740000

CERYL-ALCOHOL             Leaf                    

CETYL-ALCOHOL              Leaf                    

D-CATECHIN      Root                   

D-GALLOCATECHIN        Root                   

D-PRONUCIFERINE         Leaf                    

DEHYDROANONAINE     Leaf                    

DEHYDRONUCIFERINE   Leaf                    

DEHYDROROEMERINE   Leaf                    

DL-ARMEPAVINE             Leaf                    

DL-N-NORARMEPAVINE               Stem                   

FAT        Fruit      24000   26667

FIBER    Fruit      26000   28889

GLUCOLUTEOLIN             Leaf                    

HIGENAMINE    Plant                   

ISOLIENSINE      Plant                   

KAEMPFEROL    Plant                   

LEUCOCYANIDIN             Leaf                    

LEUCODELPHINIDIN       Leaf                    

LIRIODENINE     Leaf                    

LIRIODENINE     Stem                   

LOTUSINE-CHLORIDE     Embryo              

LUTEOLIN-7-GLUCOSIDE              Embryo              

N-METHYLCOCLAURINE               Leaf                    

N-METHYLISOCOCLAURINE         Leaf                    

NELUMBINE       Leaf                    

NELUMBOSIDE Leaf                    

NEO-CHLOROGENIC-ACID           Root                   

NORNUCIFERINE             Leaf                    

NUCIFERINE       Leaf                    

PHOSPHORUS    Fruit      2940      3267

PROTEIN             Fruit      172000 191111

REDUCING-SUGARS        Fruit      24000   26667

ROBININ             Plant                   

ROEMERINE       Leaf                    

RUTIN   Embryo              

SUCROSE            Fruit      41000   45556

 

Seeds and leaf - If we take just some of the chemicals as an example, Nuciferine, in the seeds and leaf, has a calming sedating effect.

Flowers - The stamens of the flowers appear to be AchE inhibitors.  Acetylcholinesterase, also known as AChE is an enzyme that degrades the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine (often abbreviated ACh) is a neurotransmitter that is the body’s answer to deep relaxation and the meditative state, as such an AchE inhibitor has the effect of boosting any of this endogenous neurotransmitter we have in our bodies.  It stops the degradation process and in some senses acts a bit like Acetylcholine itself.  If you follow the link you will be able to see what Acetylcholine and AchE inhibitors do in detail, but Acetylcholine in simplified terms helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system – it acts as a relaxant. 

It is also worth adding that the plant also appears to have considerable antiviral activity.

Sacred lotus and the Mysteries

In the days of the Ancient Egyptians and the Mystery religions when sexual stimulation was key to obtaining a spiritual experience, Lotus flowers were regarded as sacred, because if your parasympathetic nervous system is active, men get an erection, but they don’t get ejaculation because it takes an excitatory response to get the ejaculation.


Nelumbo nucifera diamond Blue

The importance of the lotus from the point of view of Mystery religions is well summarised by the fact that it appears to be a natural contraceptive for women.    Nelumbo nucifera seeds have been used as an antifertility agent in females by the local tribes of Rajasthan [in India] especially of Udaipur district for some time and the Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine Vol 6 2008 ‘Effect of Nelumbo nucifera seeds on the reproductive organs of rats’ – Anja Mutreja Msc et al,  reported that their use was well justified by clinical proof [at least in rats].

Method

This is advice from a site which sells lotus extract, and it makes interesting reading because apart from being useful advice, hints at medical uses as yet undiscovered for the flowers, or at least they may be known but no papers on Pubmed seem to cover them

Using Lotus flower extract

  • Do not use  if you are on diabetes type drugs.  Theoretically, lotus may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Do not use it if you have low blood pressure.  Although few adverse effects in humans seem to have been reported for lotus, it will  lower blood pressure.
  • Do not use Lotus if you are using  blood thinners,  and caution is advised in patients taking agents that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Do not take with Ginkgo biloba.  Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba.  This may be because they both have anti-platelet action.
  • Do not use it if you are on tablet or other drugs for lowering blood pressure – for the same reasons as above, the plant itself lowers blood pressure.
  • You should not use Lotus when you are pregnant or breast feeding principally because there is a lack of available scientific evidence on all its effects.
  • Although cannabis and alcohol seem to work with lotus without causing problems, all other combinations are best avoided.

Advantages

Lotus appears to be a plant with a huge potential as a food and medicine, but used in its plant form, not as an extract or essence.

Disadvantages

  • Research seems to have lagged behind anecdotal and historical use making any recommendation about its use difficult
  • There have sadly been cases where so called lotus extract is not lotus extract, the market is not regulated
  • The flowers may be addictive if not treated strictly as a medicine, to be used only when needed, and with the extracts it is very easy to overdose

Finally, I want to comment on [its] addictive potential. It does efficiently decrease anxiety and does have slight pain reducing properties.
I have a large amount of it around, [and] there isn't a day that goes by that I don't use it and there never seems to be a mood that does not accept its use. It reminds me somewhat of Cocaine in that I don't typically like to stop using it once I start, …..As for the addictive qualities, I have actually used it enough to develop a mild withdrawal syndrome. The withdrawal noted was characterized by anxiety and restlessness. …. The symptoms were only decreased by more use of the Lotus flower. Although I do not believe it to be very addictive, it does have some addictive qualities.

Hmmmmmm.

References and further reading

  • Selective cholinesterase inhibitory activities of a new monoterpene diglycoside and other constituents from Nelumbo nucifera stamens - Jung HA, Jung YJ, Hyun SK, Min BS, Kim DW, Jung JH, Choi JS;  Division of Food Science and Biotechnology, Pukyong National University, Busan 37, Republic of Korea. "………... N. nucifera stamens-derived compounds potentially exert their primary … effects as AChE inhibitors rather than BACE1 inhibitors".

Related observations