The Calming and Healing Effects of Sacred Lotus
The Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is not only pleasing to the eyes. The plant contains natural compounds that give it numerous healing powers – to both the body and the mind.
What is Sacred Lotus?
The hypnotically beautiful Sacred Lotus flower is certainly pleasing to the eyes. Depending upon the location and genetics, lotus flowers can be white, pink, yellow or even rainbow-colored.
The leaves, stem, seeds, roots and flowers of the lotus have been used medicinally for thousands of years. The Mandarin name for the Sacred Lotus (seed) is Lian Zi and its Japanese name is Renshi, and in Korean, Yoncha.
Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic texts indicate the stems and leaves of the plant are helpful for stomach aches, ulcers and intestinal cramping, increasing circulation, and improving the condition of the heart (cardiotonic). It is also known for strengthening the spleen.
The seeds and flowers of the lotus flower – and to a lesser degree the leaves – also have a range of other effects. These include being hypnotic and calming. The seeds contain alkaloid constituents that relax the nerves and the muscles. They also promote sleep. Restlessness and nervousness – even depression – have been treated traditionally using the seeds, flowers and leaves of the Sacred Lotus.
Then you have the roots of the lotus. These have been used to treat numerous infections, including intestinal infections and diarrhea. The dried roots have also been used for various issues of bleeding as well.
These are not theoretical uses either. These are recorded uses of the plant in clinical settings. Science has been recently confirming these uses.
Sacred Lotus’ calming effects
Researchers have confirmed the hypnotic and sedative effects of the lotus plant. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers created extracts from the lotus leaf. They tested neurotransmitter production in the brain after the extract, and found that the alkaloids of the plant increased the production of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), along with serotonin, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and dopamine.
The researchers stated:
“These data demonstrated that the alkaloids from lotus leaf exert sedative-hypnotic and anxiolytic effects via binding to GABA receptor and activates the monoaminergic system.”
Another study found that an extract of the flower of the Sacred Lotus had elements that bound to several key receptors in the brain and nervous system known for encouraging relaxation: two cannabinoid receptors, and four opiod receptors.
A study from several Japanese universities, including the Yokohama College of Pharmacy extracted two special alkaloids from the Sacred Lotus: liensinine and isoliensinine. Each of these were found to have anti-depressant effects.
The researchers concluded:
“These data suggest that liensinine and isoliensinine from Nelumbo nucifera Gaertner have antidepressant-like effects and that antidepressant-like effects of liensinine and its analogues are closely related to serotonergic mechanisms.”
Another study found that an extract from Sacred Lotus seeds inhibited acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase enzymes. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are used to treat a myriad of conditions, from tachycardia, to Alzheimer’s and other dementias, to Parkinson’s and schizophrenia.
They also found 19 medicinal constituents in the seeds, including saponins, flavonoids, steroids, alkaloids, terpenoids and cardiac glycosides.
Numerous medicinal effects of Sacred Lotus
Continuing research over the past decade has found that Sacred Lotus produces a number of medicinal effects in the body. These include general anticancer and antioxidant effects, as well as improving the health of the liver, kidney and skin. Some of these effects are simply because Sacred Lotus is an extreme free radical scavenger. But other effects follow its complex blend of medicinal constituents.
As this research is analyzed and condensed, we find that Sacred Lotus’ additional medicinal benefits include:
• protecting the liver against damage
• reducing liver fibrosis
• reducing the effects of UV radiation
• anti-aging effects on the skin
• inhibiting the growth of several types of cancers
• promoting skin health
• increasing wound healing
• enhancing cognition
• reducing kidney inflammation
• reducing oral infections
• aiding diabetes treatment
• discouraging obesity by reducing fat conversion
• reducing inflammation
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Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn our health around. As I drove home that night, I realized this knowledge should be available to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”