Herbs & Plants

Shapla: (Water Lily)

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Ninféia (Nymphaea caerulea)
Image by Vivi RS/RJ via Flickr

Botanical Name: Nymphaea Lotus
Family: Nymphaeaceae (Water Lily Family)
Part Used : Flowers, Roots, Leaves, Stem
Habitat : Through out warmer parts of india,Bangladesh Burma and Sreelanka in tanks, ponds and ditches. Widespread all over South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia as well as further north in Zimbabwe, Zambia.

Other scientific names :Nymphaea pubescens Willd, Nymphaea lotus Blanco,Castalia pubescens Blume,Nymphaea nouchali

Common Names: Labas (Tag),Lauas (Tag.),Pulau (Tag.)Talailo (Bis.),Tunas (Bis., Tag.),Lotus lily (Engl), Water lily (Eng), Blue Water Lily, Blouwaterlelie, Kaaimanblom, Frog’s Pulpit, Paddapreekstoel, Blou Plomb, iZubu(Z) and Blue Lotus in Egypt

Synonyms: Nymphaea capensis Thunb., N. caerulea Sav., N. calliantha Conard,
N. mildbraedi Gilg., N. spectabilis Gilg., N. nelsonii Burtt Davy)

This lovely aquatic plant with sky-blue flowers is South Africa’s most commonly grown indigenous water lily.

It is a clump forming perennial with thick, black, spongy, tuberous rhizomes anchored in the pond mud by spreading roots. The water lily does not have true stems, the leaves are on long petioles (leaf stalks) that arise directly from the rhizome. The leaves are large and flat, rounded or oval in shape with notched margins, up to 40 cm in diameter, and cleft almost to the centre where the petiole is attached. They are relatively short lived and are replaced regularly throughout the growing season. They start out as a soft shiny green at the centre of the plant. As they age, the petiole lengthens, pushing the leaf towards the outer perimeter making room for the new growth, and they develop light brown or purple splashes which eventually cover the leaf, leaving only the veins green. They then start to die, turning yellow then brown and eventually disappearing under the water. One plant can spread over an area of about 1 m..

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The leaves show many interesting adaptations to their watery environment. The margins are slightly rolled inwards toward the uppermost side (involute) which helps keep the blades afloat. The underside of the leaf, which is continually wet, has a strong attraction to the water and this holds the leaf flat against the water. The veins act like a structural support for the leaves. The upper leaf surface is coated with a smooth waxy cuticle, which gives it the appearance of being leathery and shiny. This water-repellent waxy layer is of vital importance to the plant, not only to help prevent the leaf from sinking, but also to prevent the tiny stomatal pores, through which it breathes, from becoming clogged with dust. When water splashes onto the leaf surface, it forms rounded droplets that roll across the surface cleaning up the dust as they go. Clean dust free leaves are also better able to photosynthesise effectively.

The easiest method of propagation is division. Plants may be left in place for two years, but pot grown plants are best lifted, divided and planted in fresh soil each year for good results. The plants are best lifted and divided just before new growth commences in the spring (August). Pull or cut the fleshy roots (rhizomes) apart and replant immediately in fresh soil mixture. Each new plant should have at least one bud at the tip of the rhizome.

The blue water lily may be grown from seed, but this requires patience, for the plants take 3 to 4 years to flower. It is difficult to collect the seed, because the seed pods burst without much warning and the seeds disperse and sink quite soon. A common practice is to tie a muslin bag around the ripening pod. In this way after it bursts, the seeds cannot float away. The seed can be sown in spring and during summer (September-January). Finely sieved clean loam soil without any organic matter or fertiliser is best. Seed should be sown thinly, covered lightly with soil and then plunged into shallow water, no deeper than 2.5 cm, and placed in a sunny position. Germination should take 3-4 weeks The seedlings will look like fine grass at first, developing true leaves later. When the first two or three floating leaves appear the seedling should be pricked out and planted into individual containers and immersed back in the water. They may be submerged into deeper water and larger containers as they grow and lengthen.

Chemical constituents and characteristics:
The leaves and rhizomes contain an abundant amount of tannic acid; an alkaloid resembling nupharin; glucose; metaarabic acid; fat and ash.
The leaves contain myricitin, saccharose and phytosterin.
The juice is bitter and astringent has some narcotic properties.
Flowers are astringent and cardiotonic.

Uses : The rhizomes is cooling, sweet, bitter and tonic and is useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, dipsia and general debility. The flowers are astringent and cardiotonic. The seeds are sweet, cooling, constipating, aphrodisiac, stomachic and restorative. It has found uses both as a culinary delight and starchy food staple as well as being used internally as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders and jaundice. Leaf is used in cutaneous, subcutaneous parasitic infection, eye treatments, and pregnancy. Seeds are used in sauces, condiments, spices and flavorings.

Decoction of the juice used for gonorrhea.
Plant juice rubbed on the forehead and temples to induce sleep.
Powdered roots used as demulcent for piles; also for dysentery and dyspepsia.

Nymphaea caerulea (Blue Lotus) was held in very high esteem by the ancient Egyptians. Nymphaea Caerulea was commonly worshipped as a visionary plant and used symbolically to depict the origin of life. The Egyptians believed that the world was originally covered by water and darkness. A Blue Lotus sprang up from the water and opened its petals to reveal a young god, a Divine Child. Light streamed from the Divine Child to banish universal darkness. This child god was the Creator, the Sun God, the source of all life. When the Pharaoh known as King Tut was entombed, his body was covered in Blue Lotus flowers.

Nymphaea caerulea was smoked or drank after being soaked in water or wine, it acted as an intoxicant, aphrodisiac; permitted use was used only among the elect class in Egypt. It was revered as sacred and a taboo for the common people. It is now available through us via wholesale or through our list of reputable dealers.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Lotus Flower

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Name : Padma

Botanical Name: Nelumbo nucifera
Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Magnoliophyta


Order: Proteales

Family: Nelumbonaceae

Genus: Nelumbo

Species: N. nucifera

Other names: Blue lotus, Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, and sacred water-lily.

Bengali  Name : Padma Phul

Lotuses are 5 species of water lilies, three in the genus Nymphaea and two in Nelumbo; both genera are members of the water-lily family, Nymphaea lotus, the Egyptian white lotus, is believed to be the original sacred lotus of ancient Egypt. It and the Egyptian blue lotus, N. caerulea, were often pictured in ancient Egyptian art.

The common Egyptian “lotus” is actually correctly called a water lily: the white lotus opens at dusk, the blue water lilly opens in the morning.

The white lotus is a shallow-water, night-blooming plant with a creeping rootstock (rhizome) that sends up long-stalked, nearly circular, dark green leathery leaves, which float on the surface. The flowers, up to 25 cm (10 in) across, remain open until midday. The blue lotus is a smaller, less showy day-blooming plant.

Grows along lakes and rivers in wet soil.Now lotus flower is grown in most of the countries in the world.
Cultural Significance:
The lotus flower appeared in legends originating from ancient Egypt. It played an important part in ancient Egyptian religion. The pure white lotus flower, the only plant to fruit and flower simultaneously, emerges from the depths of the muddy swamp. Growing from the mud at the bottom of ponds and streams, the exquisite Lotus flower rises above the water and is usually white or pink with 15 or more oval, spreading petals, and a peculiar, flat seedcase at its center.

The lotus flower has been featured extensively throughout the art of ancient Egypt. In various works of art, you may see it held in the hand of a god or human, serving as a border to outline a section of the artwork, unfolding to reveal various gods or humans, and many other depictions. The ancient Egyptians from the 4th dynasty greatly valued the sacred lotus, in religious ceremonies and funerals. The ancient Egyptians developed the art of counting to a high degree, but their system of numeration was very crude. For example, the number 1,000 was symbolized by a picture of a lotus flower, and the number 2,000 was symbolized by a picture of two lotus flowers growing out of a bush.

Hindus associate the lotus (Padma) blossom with creation mythology, and with the gods Vishnu, Brahma, and the goddesses Lakshmi and Sarasvati. From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Hindu tradition. It is often used as an example of divine beauty, for example Vishnu is often described as the ‘Lotus-Eyed One’. Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. Particularily Brahma and Lakshmi, the divinities of potence and wealth, have the lotus symbol associated with them. In Hindu iconography, deities often are depicted with lotus flowers as their seats. In Hindi it is called कमल (Kamal) which is also a popular name for men, the female form is Kamala.

The lotus flower is quoted extensively within Puranic and Vedic literature, for example:

One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water. Bhagavad Gita 5.10

Borrowing from Hinduism, in Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of body, speech, and mind, floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. The Buddha is often depicted sitting on a giant lotus leaf or blossom. According to legend, he was born with the ability to walk and everywhere he stepped, lotus flowers bloomed.

Drawing in turn on these Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, the international Bahá’í community adopted this symbolism in the design of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.

The Chinese also revere the sacred lotus as a symbol of purity and elegance, and it is a common motif in ancient Chinese poetry. A famous statement about the lotus’ symbolism in Chinese culture is made by Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi: I love the lotus because, while growing from mud, it is unstained.

Click to see:>Padma
Lotus offers one of the highest spiritual vibrations amongst other flowers. It is a water plant growing in shallow ponds, lagoons, marshes and flooded fields. Of immense spiritual essence its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. It is found in parts of the Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Guinea and throughout India.

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The long stemmed lotus plant with its base on the muddy bottoms of the ponds bloom full to its glory above the water. It is usually white or pink with large attractive petals and a flat seedcase at its center. Leathery textured leaves, dark green in colour they are disc-shaped and up to 90 cm wide. It blooms at night. This plant is an aquatic perennial, but if its seeds are preserved under favorable circumstances, they may remain viable for many years. Lotus plant should be planted in spring, in sunny areas in medium or clay loam. Lotus is considered sacred among Buddhists and Hindus. It is the symbol of sun, of creation and rebirth and one of the important flowers used for the worship of Devi Durga.

The roots of Nelumbo nucifera are planted in the soil of the pond or river bottom, while the leaves float on top of the water surface. The flowers are usually found on thick stems rising several centimeters above the water. The plant normally grows up to a height of about 150 cm and a horizontal spread of up to 3 meters, but some unverified reports place the height as high as over 5 meters. The leaves may be as large as 60 cm in diameter, while the showy flowers can be up to 20 cm in diameter.

There are a number of different cultivars, the flower colours varying from snow white to yellow to a light pink. It is hardy to USDA Zone 5. The plant can be propagated from seeds or rhizomes. One of the oldest seeds that have yet been germinated into a viable plant was an approximately 1,300-year-old lotus fruit, recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.

Medicinal Uses:
The various parts of the lotus are prepared in many ways. Leaves are often used fresh to staunch bleeding and reduce fever as a poultice, and have been prepared in various ways to treat a wide variety of ills. These preparations include decoctions, alcohol extraction, boiling to paste and dried in tea.

Traditional medicine has used the lotus leaf, stamen, stem, flower and root to treat a wide variety of ills. Modern science has identified at least seven different chemical actions that support the traditional uses. The most potent of these are the astringent qualities and antibacterial action of the flowers and leaves. Lotus leaves also have an unusual quality that has been widely studied in Western science * the ability to remain dry in water. Among the conditions that the lotus leaf has been used to treat are piles, leprosy, parasites, fever, vomiting, infection, ringworm and sexually transmitted diseases.

The lotus is widely consumed as a food throughout southern Asia. There are no cautions connected with its use.

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



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