Lotus Flowers


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Lotus - plant profile

Lotus, sacred lotus, Indian lotus, Chinese water lily, Egyptian bean (English)
Kanwal, kamal (Hindi)
Ambuja, padma, pankaja, kamala (Sanskrit)
Padma (Bengal)
Suriyakamal (Gujarat)
Ambal, thamarai (Tamil)

Botanical name: Nelumbo nucifera
Family: Nelumbonaceae. Nelumbo is the only genus in this family.

The plant
Lotus is a water plant growing in the mud of shallow ponds, lagoons, marshes and flooded fields. It is native to parts of the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Guinea. It can grow to a height of up to 6 m depending on the depth of water.

Rhizomes - firmly anchored in the mud beneath the water surface, the lotus plant has long stems to which the leaves and flowers are attached. The crisp rhizomes are eaten in a variety of savoury dishes in India. The rhizomes are pocketed with air tunnels so that, when sliced, each disc looks like a piece of Swiss cheese or a snowflake.

Leaves - disc-shaped and up to 90 cm wide. They either float on or protrude above the surface of the water. They have long leaf stalks that are scattered with small bumps. Both leaves and leaf stalks are eaten as vegetables in India.

Flowers - large and attractive with lots of petals. They tend to be rosy-pink or white coloured. They are sacred in Buddhist and Hindu religions and are frequently represented in South Asian art and literature. They are sometimes eaten as a vegetable in India.

Seeds - hard and dark brown. They can vary in shape from round or oval to oblong. They are sometimes eaten in India. Lotus seeds are also the oldest viable seeds ever recorded.

Folk medicine
The main use for lotus in folk medicine is associated with the astringent properties of its flowers. It is frequently used in the treatment of diarrhoea and cholera. In India, honey made by bees visiting lotus flowers is said to be a tonic called 'padmamadjhu' or 'makaranda' and is used for eye disorders. The large leaves are sometimes used as 'cold bed-sheets' to treat high fever and burning of the skin.

Roots and rhizomes have been used for treating smallpox, throat conditions, loss of skin pigmentation, coughs, diarrhoea and dysentery. One preparation involves mixing boiled rhizomes with sesame oil and rubbing it on the head to cool all parts of the head including the eyes. Leaves and stems have been prepared in a variety of ways to treat piles, leprosy, parasites and vomiting. Various parts of the flower including the petals have treated diarrhoea, cholera, fever, liver conditions, bronchitis, skin eruptions, snake bites and scorpion stings. To treat coughs, syrup is made using the dried flowers. Fruits and seeds have been used to soothe inflamed mucous membranes, lower fever and get rid of bad breath. Some sources state that the seeds, taken orally with a rice wash for 7 days, can increase female fertility.

Lotus - other uses
Lotus flowers were once a source of highly prized perfume in South Asia.

If require Lotus flowers large qty and its extract.
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