Blue Lotus (Nymphaea caerulea)

Botanical Name :Nymphaea caerulea
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Nymphaea
Species: N. caerulea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Nymphaeales

Common Name :Lotus, Blue,Blue Egyptian water lily or sacred blue lily, also known as the Egyptian Blue Lily,Blue Lotus,

Habitat :Its original habitat may have been along the Nile and other locations in East Africa. It spread to other locations, however, already in ancient times, like the Indian Subcontinent and Thailand.

Description;
The leaves are broadly rounded, 25-40 cm across, with a notch at the leaf stem. The flowers are 10-15 cm diameter. Reports in the literature by persons unfamiliar with its actual growth and blooming cycle have suggested that the flowers open in the morning, rising to the surface of the water, then close and sink at dusk. In fact, the flower buds rise to the surface over a period of two to three days, and when ready, open at approximately 9-9:30am and close about 3pm. The flowers and buds do not rise above the water in the morning, nor do they submerge at night. The flowers have pale bluish-white to sky-blue petals, smoothly changing to a pale yellow in the centre of the flower.
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Floral symbolism
Ancient Egyptian funerary stele showing a dead man, named Ba, seated in the center, sniffing a sacred lily.Reports in the literature by persons unfamiliar with its actual growth and blooming cycle have suggested that the flowers open in the morning, rising to the surface of the water, then close and sink at dusk.[citation needed] In fact, the flower buds rise to the surface over a period of two to three days, and when ready, open at approximately 9–9:30 am and close about 3 pm. The flowers and buds do not rise above the water in the morning, nor do they submerge at night. The flowers have pale bluish-white to sky-blue or mauve petals, smoothly changing to a pale yellow in the centre of the flower.

It was considered extremely significant in Egyptian mythology, since it was said to rise and fall with the sun. Consequently, due to its colourings, it was identified, in some beliefs, as having been the original container, in a similar manner to an egg, of Atum, and in similar beliefs Ra, both solar deities. As such, its properties form the origin of the lotus variant of the Ogdoad cosmogeny. It was the symbol of the Egyptian deity Nefertem.

 

Properties and uses:
In modern culture, blue lotus flowers are used to make various concoctions including blue lotus tea, wine and martinis. Recipes for such drinks involve steeping or soaking the petals, about 10–20 grams for up to three weeks. Blue lotus ‘tea’ is prepared by boiling the entire flowers for 10–20 minutes.

Recent studies have shown Nymphaea caerulea to have mild psycho-active properties. It may have been used as a sacrament in ancient Egypt and certain ancient South American cultures. Eating Blue Lotus can act as a mild sedative. Nymphaea caerulea is distantly related to, and possesses similar activity to Nelumbo nucifera, the Sacred Lotus. Both Nymphaea caerulea and Nelumbo nucifera contain the alkaloids nuciferine and aporphine. The mildly sedating effects of Nymphaea caerulea makes it a likely candidate (among several) for the lotus plant eaten by the mythical Lotophagi in Homer’s Odyssey.

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This lotus is used to produce perfumes since ancient times; it is also used in aromatherapy.

Used in aromatherapy, Nymphaea caerulea is purported to have a “divine” essence, bringing heightened awareness and tranquility. Some sources cite it as an antispasmodic similar to copal resin.

Medicinal Uses:

The entire plant is used in medicine.  The Sacred water lotus has been used in the Orient as a medicinal herb for well over 1,500 years.  The leaf juice is used in the treatment of diarrhea and is decocted with liquorice (Glycyrrhiza spp) for the treatment of sunstroke.  A decoction of the flowers is used in the treatment of premature ejaculation. The flowers are recommended as a cardiac tonic. A decoction of the floral receptacle is used in the treatment of abdominal cramps, bloody discharges etc.  The flower stalk is used in treating bleeding gastric ulcers, excessive menstruation, post-partum hemorrhage.  The stamens are astringent and used in treating urinary frequency, premature ejaculation, hemolysis, epistasis and uterine bleeding.  A decoction of the fruit is used in the treatment of agitation, fever, heart complaints etc.  The seed is used in the treatment of poor digestion, enteritis, chronic diarrhea, insomnia, palpitations etc.  The plumule and radicle are used to treat thirst in high febrile disease, hypertension, insomnia and restlessness.  The root starch is used in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery etc, a paste is applied to ringworm and other skin ailments. It is also taken internally in the treatment of hemorrhages, excessive menstruation and nosebleeds. The roots are harvested in autumn or winter and dried for later use.  The root nodes are used in the treatment of nasal bleeding, hemoptysis, hematuria and functional bleeding of the uterus.  The plant has a folk history in the treatment of cancer, modern research has isolated certain compounds from the plant that show anticancer activity.   The leaves, which have antipyretic and refrigerant properties, are used against symptoms of summer-heat, such as headache, respiratory congestion, chronic thirst, and dark scanty urine.  The peduncle relieves stomachaches, calms restless fetus, and controls leukorrhea.
An aphrodisiac for both men and women as well as a general remedy for all illness enhancing sexual vigor and general good health. A tonic like ginseng, pain reliever like arnica, circulation stimulant richer than ginkgo biloba, and sexual stimulant richer than Viagra. It creates a feeling of well being, euphoria and ecstasy, as well as being widely used as a general remedy against illness, and is still used as a tonic for good health, consumed as an extract, 6-12 drops or up to 1 tsp to 1 Tbs in juice taken 1 to 3 times daily.  Traditionally,  fresh Blue Lotus was made into a tea or drank after being soaked in wine, usually followed by a cigarette made of the dried plant material.  Dried flowers are sometimes smoked for a mild sedative effect.   By itself, Lotus produces an opiate-like intoxication. Traditionally, Nymphaea caerulea was drunk after being soaked in warm water or wine, while the dried flowers were also smoked. About 5 grams of dried petals steeped in small amount of alcohol for a few hours to a week is said to have a synergistic effect with the Lotus, producing a euphoria. The overall effect of this combination is a narcotic empathogenic experience. According to recent studies, Blue Lily was found to be loaded with health-giving phytosterols and bioflavonoids. It turned out to be one of the greatest daily health tonics ever found.

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Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nymphaea_caerulea
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/139664/
http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/08/post-37.html
http://www.treknature.com/gallery/Asia/Vietnam/photo84293.htm

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/139664/

http://psychoactiveherbs.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=52_127&products_id=306&osCsid=9eadd1bef28b39cf098b4a6844a7056f

http://www.thefloweringgarden.com/nymphaea-caerulea.htm

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