Chinese Water Lily
Chinese Water Lily (Lian Zi Xin, He Ye, Lian)
Botanical Name: Nelumbo nucifera
Not to be confused with blue lotus (Nymphaea caerulea), the Chinese water lily/lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It is held sacred by the Buddhists, Hindus, and Ancient Egyptians. Lotus can treat coughs, ease menses, and kill and hinder cancer cells associated with lung cancer. All parts of this species of lotus are edible and are common ingredients in many Asian dishes. Lotus is popular for its anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The seeds and stamens are primarily used for medicinal purposes rather than foods, even though they are also edible.
Below is an overview of Chinese Water Lily (Lian Zi Xin, He Ye, Lian), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Chinese Water Lily (Lian Zi Xin, He Ye, Lian).
Western Name: Chinese Water Lily
Also Known As: Sacred Lotus, East Indian Lotus, Hindu Lotus, Oriental Lotus
Organs/Systems: Digestion, Stomach, Heart
Key Actions: Anthelmintic, Anti-aging, Alkaline, Anti-inflammatory
Medicinal Uses: Diarrhea, inflammation, acne, cough, cancer, blood sugar regulation, palpitations.
Pin Yin: Lian Zi Xin, He Ye, Lian Feng
Also Known As: Leaf – He Ye. Fruit – Shi Lian Zi. Seed – Lian Feng, Lian Zi, Shi Lian Zi. Petiole – He Geng. Stamen or Stems – Lian Xu/He Geng. Rhizome – Ou Zhi. Plumule (Seed Embryo) – Lian Zi Xin. Receptacle – Lian Fang. Rhizome (Root) Node – Ou Jie. Node Carbon – Ou Jie Tan.
Meridians: Heart, Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Lung, Stomach
Key Actions: Seeds/Lian Feng – Tonifies the Spleen, Tonifies Jing (Essence). Seed Embryos/Lian Zi Xin – Tonifies the Heart, Clears Heat, Calms Shen. Leaves/He Ye – Builds Blood, Regulates Menses, Tonifies the Lungs, Clears Heat. Rhizome (Roots) and Nodes/Ou Zhi – Nourishes Blood, Stops Bleeding, Removes Blood Stagnation, Benefits the Liver, Lung and Stomach, Stops Bleeding. Stamens/Lian Xu – Benefits the Heart and Kidney.
Medicinal Uses: Seeds/Lian Feng – Loss of appetite, stops diarrhea, astringes excess leakage of fluids, leukorrhea, sexual dysfunction in men. Seed Embryos/Lian Zi Xin – Anxiety, tonifies the cardiovascular system, insomnia, palpitations, restlessness. Leaves/He Ye – Infertility, respiratory disorders, calms the effects of Summer Heat (excessive sweating, dehydration and lack of urination). Rhizome (Roots) and Nodes/Ou Zhi – Menses, infertility. The nodes are specifically used to stop bleeding even though other parts of the lotus may also stop bleeding. The nodes are considered the best for this. Stamens/Lian Xu – Prevents discharge, leukorrhea, frequent urination.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Whole Plant, Flower, Seed, Flower Stamen, Pod, Leaf, Plumule
Flavors/Temps: Seeds – Astringent, Sweet, Neutral. Plumule or Seed Embryos/Lian Zi Xin – Very Bitter, Cold. Stamen or Stems/Lian Xu – Sweet, Neutral in nature. Leaves/He Ye – Bitter, Neutral. Receptacle/Lian Fang – Warm in Nature. Rhizome Node/Ou Jie – Neutral in Nature. Leaves/He Ye – Bitter and Neutral.
Caution: Overdose can cause nausea.
History/Folklore: Buddhists, Hindus, and the Ancient Egyptians all consider the lotus flower to be a symbol of prosperity, fertility, and a symbol of the inner soul or being, blossoming and transcending the mundane secular life and joining with the divine and consciousness itself. It is a symbol of Tantric meditation and the Ancient Greeks used the image in their architecture and art. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the many different parts of the plant have been used as a culinary vegetable and the seeds and leaves also as medicines.
The lotuses American relative, Nelumbo petapetala, was used by the Native American Indians.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine soaking lotus seeds (Lian Zi) in warm water for a few hours and then adding honey or rock sugar) to taste,and simmering till the lotus seeds are well done is a common remedy for treating diarrhea. The seeds of both the red and white lotus are able to reduce inflammation. The seeds can also be powdered and mixed with honey to treat sore throats and coughs. Typical dosage of the seeds used alone is about 30 grams, used in combination with other herbs the dosage will typically be 6-15 grams. Inside the seed is a green embryo that is quite bitter, it is usually removed before the seed is prepared as a food product.
Recent research suggests that lotus plumule contain polysaccharides with significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The organic compound neferine, found in lotus seed embryos/lian zi xin has been found to kill and hinder the spread of lung cancer cells. It continues to be studied for further use in the treatment of lung cancer and other cancers. The seed embryos are bitter and cold and benefit the heart, dispelling pathogenic heat.
Lotus stems (Lian Xu) are full of minerals and nutrients including high levels of vitamin C and potassium and are enjoyed in salads and side dishes. The stamens are more astringing than the seeds, but lack the seeds tonic properties.
Lotus roots (Ou Jie) also contain these nutrients and can be boiled for 10 minutes and then enjoyed. The perforated rhizome that grows in muddy water is a common ingredient in Chinese stir fries. All parts of this species of lotus are edible and are common ingredients in many Asian dishes, popular for their anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They are common in many Asian dishes.
The whole plant has the ability to balance fluids (astringing tissue that needs toning while moistening tissue that has become too dry and brittle.
For treating acne caused by the buildup of greasy sebum on the skin which clogs pores and causes acne, you can add lotus to green tea and apply to the face, significantly reducing the amount of sebum on the surface of the skin.
Lotus leaves (He Ye) have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to effectively regulate the menses and stop excess bleeding. Recent scientific research supports this application and function of lotus leaves. Lotus root juice or soup can help prevent anemia after menstruation helping to build blood back up. The leaves are also eaten as an edible food wrap in making dim sum filled with meat, rice and peanuts.
The rhizomes or roots (Ou Jie) are sold whole or cut into pieces and consumed as a vegetable in China and Japan. The dried flowers are used in cooking such dishes as “Mandarin Duck and Lotus Flowers.” The fresh flowers are commonly used as a decoration in food dishes.
A number of wild animals feed on the plant and fish find refuge in the underwater stalks of the plant.
Potassium, Alkaloids, Rich in Vitamin C and B, High in Protein, Asparagine, Neferine, Iron, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese, Sodium, Fiber.
When roasted, lotus seeds become crisp and crunchy like popcorn.
The seeds are candied and made into a paste used for filling a popular dessert called “moon cakes.”
Fresh is Best
The fresher the stamen, the more potent it is. Bitter or very dry stamens should be avoided.
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