Lotus – Nelumbo nucifera Benefits, Side Effects, Research

Lotus is in use since the times of Sushruta. Lotus stalk was used as probe in surgical procedures. Its seeds, seed pod, petals, etc are used in Ayurveda treatment. Famous Ayurveda medicine Aravindasava is used in treating pediatric disorders.

Botanical name- Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn, (Nymphaea nelumbo Linn), Nelumbium speciosum
Family name- Nelumbonaceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Kamal
English name- Sacred Lotus
Kannada name – Padma, kamala, Taavare
Telugu name- Tamara Puvvu
Tamil name- Taamarai, Taavarai
Malayalam name- Tamara
Arabian name – Kati Sunnail, Katilun hal

Sanskrit synonyms

Padma, Nalina, Mahotpala, Pushkara,  Tamarasa, Kusheshaya, Saarasa, Sarasiruha,  Rajeeva, Shreegeha,
White lotus is called Pundareeka
Red lotus is called Kokanada
Blue lotus is known as Indeevara
Varija – Born in water
Pankeruha, Pankaja – born in mud
Shatapatra, Sahasrapatra – Lotus flower having many petals
Aravinda – Having circular petals
Jalaja, Ambhoruha – born in water
Bisa Prasuna – Having flowers with stalks

Dried Lotus Seed Head
Dried Lotus Seed Head

Major chemical constituents

Major chemical constituents of lotus :
Flower- Robinin(a glucoside)
Leaves- Nuciferine(alkaloid); Asmilobine& Lirinidine, Flavonoids,
Lotus Root- Isoliensinine; Neferine, Armepavine(Lotus seed)
Seeds contain 2 – 3 % of oil comprising of palmitic, myristic, oleic and linoleic acid.

lotus seed pod
lotus seed pod

Classical categorization

Charaka –
Varnya – Colour and complexion promoting  group of herbs
Mutravirjaniya – Group of herbs that impart proper color to urine
Sushruta- Utpaladi
Ashtanga Sangraha – Mutravirajaniya
Dhanvantari Nighantu, Raja Nighantu – Karaveeradi Varga
Bhavaprakasha – Pushpavarga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Oshadhi Varga

lotus seed
lotus seed

Medicinal properties

Lotus – Medicinal Properties:
Rasa (taste) – Kashaya (astringent), Madhura (sweet), Tikta (bitter)
Veerya – Sheeta – Cold potency
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Snigdha (unctuousness), Picchila (stickly)
Vipaka- Madhura – Undergoes sweet taste conversion after digestion.
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha.

Lotus with seed
Lotus with seed

Sanskrit verse

Lotus benefits Ayurveda

Part used, dosage

Part used:Whole plant (mainly flowers, seeds, lotus stem and tuber), Stamens (Padma Kesara)
Dosage: fresh juice of tuber 10-20 ml
Seed powder 3-6 g in divided doses per day.

Lotus and water lily are quite similar in uses. They are the best
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.

Benefits and uses

Satikta – slightly bitter
Madhura, Swadu – sweet
Kashaya – astringent
Sheeta – coolant
Tarpana – Nourishing, calming
Varnya, Varnakrut – improves skin colour and complexion

Indications

Indicated in:
Raktapitta  – bleeding disorders like nasal bleeding, Ulcerative colitis and menorrhagia
Shrama – tiredness
Arti – Bodyache
Bhranti – dizziness, psychosis
Santapa – Burning sensation
Visphota – skin boils
Daha – Burning sensation
Trushna – Excessive thirst
Visha – toxic conditions involving bleeding, boils, burning sensation and gastritis
Visarpa – Herpes
Diarrhea, dysentery, ulcerative colitis, IBS with diarrhea
Burning urination
useful in treating diabetes and neuropathy.

Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera

Pundareeka

White lotus is called Pundareeka and the red lotus is called Kokanada. 
Sheeta – coolant
Madhura – sweet
Kapha Pittajit – balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha
Red variety is lesser in qualities compared to white variety.

Padmini

Lotus with its root, stalk, leaves, and fruit is called as Padmini or Bisini. Padmini is
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.

Lotus benefits

Samvartika

 Fresh leaves of Lotus – Samvartika –
Hima – coolant
Tikta – bitter
Kashaya – Astringent
Indicated in:
Daha -burning sensation
Trushna – excessive thirst
Mutrakruchra – Difficulty in urination, dysuria
Guda Vyadhi – piles, fistula
Raktapitta – bleeding disorders

Karnika

Karnika – Lotus seed pod, Seed Head
Hindi name – Kamal Ka chatta
Marathi name – Dhangud, Dapani
Gujarati name – Dheetela 
Tikta – bitter
Kashaya – astringent
Madhura – sweet
Laghvi – lightness
Hima – coolant
Mukha Vaishadyakrut – brings clarity to mouth, cleanses mouth
Useful in:
Trushna – excessive thirst
Asra – Blood vitiation disorders
Kapha Pittanut

Lotus seeds

Lotus seeds – Kamala Beej, Padmabeeja, Kamalaksha
In Hindi, it is called Kamal Gatta
Nutritious, sweet, causes Snehana – oily, Raktasangrahi (improves blood cell count), Garbhasthapaka – promotes safe pregnancy and coolant.  

Lotus stamens

Lotus stamens – Kinjalka, Padma keshara
Sheetala-coolant
Vrushya – Aphrodisiac
Kashaya – astringent
Grahi – absorbent
Kaphapittahara
Indicated in
Trushna – thirst
Daha – Burning sensation
Raktarsha – bleeding piles
Visha – toxic conditions
Shotha – inflammatory conditions.

Lotus stalks

Lotus stalk – Mrunala – Kamalanala
Hindi name – Murar
Sheetala
Madhura – sweet taste
Swadu Paka – Undergoes sweet taste conversion during digestion
Vrushya – Aphrodisiac
Pittahara – balances Pitta
Daha, Asrahara – useful in burning sensation and blood imbalance disorders.
Guru – heavy to digest
Durjara – Hard to digest
Stanyaprada – improves lactation
Anila-Kaphaprada – increases Vata and Kapha Dosha.

Lotus rhizome

Lotus rhizome – Kamala Kanda – Shaluka
Sangrahi – absorbent
Madhura – sweet taste
Rooksha – dryness
Quite similar to lotus stalk in qualities.

Because of its Pitta pacifying property, lotus is extensively used in treating psychosis, maniac disorder and bipolar disorders.

Use in surgery, panchakarma

Use of Lotus in surgery and Panchakarma
While doing Swedana – sweating treatment, the eyes and heart region  of the patient is covered with lotus leaves and petals. This is because, sweating treatment induces sweat, a pitta activity. The patient may feel excess burning sensation during the procedure especially in head, eyes and heart region. Lotus being a coolant, negotiates the excess hotness of the treatment.
This method of keeping lotus over the said areas is especially indicated in coward patients and in people with Pitta Dosha body type.
Lotus stalk was used as probe in surgeries for sinuses.

Lotus for health

How to use lotus for health :
To get the above benefits, lotus flower, stem or stalk is made into small pieces. Water is boiled separately. To the boiled water, when it is still in hot condition, the lotus pieces are added and kept for 2 hours. Water: lotus ratio should be 4:1.
After two hours, it is macerated and filtered. This drink preparation method is called as Phanta, FYI).
This drink is taken in a (adult) dose of 25 ml once or twice a day.
In high pitta condition, a small piece of jaggery (3- 5 grams) or sugar candy can be added to this drink.

Lotus seeds – used in the above manner is useful in vomiting, menorrhagia and hiccups.

Use in pregnancy

During unexplained bleeding during pregnancy (threatened abortion), Lotus stamens – half a gram per day is administered along with butter.
A drink made out of lotus stamens is also administered for the same purpose.

Lotus for headache

A paste made out of lotus petals is useful to relieve headache. Lotus, along with water lily, cardamom etc is explained by Charaka as group of herbs, the paste of which is useful to relieve headache. (Reference: Sutrasthana 3/24)

In the same chapter, Charaka includes Sacred lotus in group of herbs – cream, useful in relieving burning sensation (as in diabetic neuropathy)  (3/26,27)

Side effects, research

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

Research:
Cardi-protective activity of flower extract
Phytochemical profile

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurveda medicines

Ayurveda medicines with lotus as ingredient:
Aravindasava –
General health tonic, appetizer (improving hunger) for children.
Satavaryadi Ghrita – used in the treatment of urinary tract disorders, difficulty in urination etc.
Chandanadi Thailam – 
Natural coolant oil. It is used to relieve burning sensation, dizziness.
Usirasav –  used in treating bleeding disorders, skin diseases etc.
Gopanganadi Kashayam – 
An  Ayurveda water decoction, used in the treatment of Pitta type of fever.

Lotus root

Lotus root, raw

Taste – astringent, sweet, bitter
Properties – light, unctuous
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata neutral
Pitta balancing
Kapha balancing

Lotus root, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt

Taste – astringent, sweet, bitter
Properties – light, unctuous
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata neutral
Pitta balancing
Kapha balancing

Lotus root, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt

Taste – astringent, sweet, bitter, salty
Properties – light, unctuous
Potency – not very cold (salt is hot in potency)
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata neutral
Pitta nourishing (salt is Pittakara)
Kapha balancing

Seeds, lotus seeds, dried

Taste – mild sweet, astringent, bitter
Properties – heavy (lotus seeds are light in nature, but becomes heavy as it is dried)
Potency – cold (water plant)
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata nourishing (due to increased heaviness due to drying)
Pitta balancing
Kapha nourishing (as it is heavy)

Seeds, lotus seeds, raw

Rasa – mild sweet, astringent, bitter
Guna – light
Veerya – cold (water plant)
Vipaka – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata neutral
Pitta balancing
Kapha neutral

6 thoughts on “Lotus – Nelumbo nucifera Benefits, Side Effects, Research”

  1. Hi doctor,
    In the title How to use Lotus for health, which part of the lotus is used to make the phanta?

    Reply

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