Lotus – It’s Cultural And Medicinal Significance


     Lotus signifies the cultural heritage – having spiritual , ornamental and medicinal value . It is the national flower of India . In Ayurveda it’s medicinal properties are described in detail .

DESCRIPTION :

Family : Nymphaeaceae

Latin Name : Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn

English name : Lotus

Hindi name : Kamala

Sanskrit Name : Padma

Synonyms :  Padma , Pankaj , Abja , Jalodbhava , Saaras , Ambho ruh ,                                    Panke ruh (that is grown in water ) 

                       Sahasrapatra , Shatpatra , Shatdal  ( has numerous petals )

                      Nalin , Arvind , Mahotpala , Kamala ,Kusheshaya , Taamrasa ,                           Sarasi ruh , Bis prasoon , Rajiv , Pushkar .

Names of different varieties of Lotus :

                            White Lotus : Pundarika / Shvet kamala ( Nymphaea lotus )

                            Blue Lotus : Indivar / Utpala / Pushkara ( Nymphaea                                                                     nouchali var. caerulea )

                            Pink Lotus : Padma ( Nelumbo nucifera )

( A yellow flowered species – Nelumbo lutea Willd is native to North America )

According to the blossoming , two types are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts :

  • Surya vikasi : These blossom in morning and close in evening .

  • Chandra vikasi : These blossom in evening and close in morning . 

THE PLANT :

        It is an aquatic plant with slender , elongated , branched , creeping rhizome , sending out roots at the nodes . Leaves peltate 60 – 90 cm in diameter , much raised out of water . Flowers solitary , large , fragrant , pink or white with centrally located yellow , conical torus in which carpels are shrunken . Fruits ovoid , nut like  achenes .

lotus flower

            Flickr

MYTHOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE :

         It is mentioned in Rigveda as Pundarika . It is considered as a symbol of divine beauty , prosperity , enlightenment , purity and fertility in Hinduism .

          In Bhagwad Gita , it is stated that the individual who performs his duties without attachment is like lotus leaf that is untouched by water . In Upanishads , the lotus signifies the method of interior meditation and the revelation of the Atman ( soul ) within oneself . 

padmanabh

        In the epic Mahabharata , Brahma , the creator , is described as having sprung from the lotus that grew out of lord Vishnu’s navel ( Padmanabha ), when the deity lay absorbed in meditation .

        The Goddess Lakshmi , who symbolizes wisdom , wealth and fertility sits on lotus flower , holding the same in two of her four hands .The lotus seat and pedestal have an almost universal appreciation with the figures of Hindu mythology .

         The rosary made of seeds of lotus is used for prayer .  

OTHER SIGNIFICANCE OF LOTUS :

  • In Yoga , Lotus Position or Padmasana is used for meditation and other sitting poses . In this pose , body remains steady for longer periods and mind remains calm .

  • In Atharvaveda , human heart is compared with lotus .

  • In Ayurveda ,the ovulatory period in females is depicted with the example of opening and closing of lotus .

  • Padma is associated with Sahasrasaar chakra .

  • Literature  : In Kumar sambhavam , written by poet Kalidasa , the arms of Parvati  are compared with Mrinal ( the peduncles of lotus ) .

  • Culinary Uses :           i) Stems are used as vegetable , pickle .

                                          ii) Seeds are eaten raw or parched called phool                                                             makhana .

                                        iii) Leaves are used for wrapping the food which is to                                                    be steamed .

  • Fragrant flowers yield good quality honey . It is called Makranda or Padma madhu .

  • Dried seed heads are used in flower arrangement for decoration .

AYURVEDA :

       PROPERTIES OF LOTUS :

            Taste : Sweet

            Properties : Cold , dry

            Potency : Cold

           Post digestive property : Sweet

LEAVES ( SAMVARTIKA ) : The leaves are bitter , cooling and diuretic. Useful in burning sensation , hyperdipsia , fever , haemorrhoids and leprosy .

       Prolapse of rectum : Tender leaves of lotus plant mixed with sugar are given .

       Threatened abortion : Leaves of lotus and blue lotus mixed with honey and sugar , taken with milk are useful .

lotus-leaves

FLOWERS : These are sweet , astringent , refrigerant and cardiotonic . Useful in diarrhoea , fever , hepatopathy , hyperdipsia , internal injuries , bronchitis , vitiated conditions of pitta .

              Diarrhoea with blood : Goat’s milk processed with lotus , utpala (Nymphoea nouchali Burm) and lajjalu ( Mimosa pudica ) mixed with honey and sugar is used for drinking , eating and sprinkling .

              Dysuria : Decoction of lotus ,utpala (Nymphoea nouchali Burm) , shringataka ( Trapa bispinosa ) is helpful .

             Eye diseases : Cow’s milk boiled with lotus , instilled in eyes removes redness , haemorrhage , pain , wound , inflammation .

TORUS ( KAMAL KARNIKA / BIJAKOSHA / VARAATAK ) : It is acrid , astringent & sweet in taste , cold ,  light , mouth freshner , alleviates thirst , blood disorders , kapha and pitta .

lotus torus

              Flickr

SEEDS ( KAMAL GATTA / PADMABIJA ) : It is nutritious , sweet , cold , unctuous , astringent ,aphrodisiac , helpful during pregnancy , in clotting of blood  .

           It is used as a food .

           In cough caused by pitta , one should use powder of lotus seeds mixed with honey .

           Its gruel is useful in vomiting , hiccough and leucorrhoea .

STAMENS ( KINJALKA / KESAR ) :   It is astringent in taste , is cold , aphrodisiac , alleviates kapha , pitta , thirst , burning sensation , bleeding piles , inflammation .

           Its powder with candy sugar is helpful in menorrhagia , haemoptysis .

           Bleeding piles : Regular use of butter mixed with sugar and stamens is helpful .

           Diarrhoea with fever : Utpala ( Nymphoea nouchali Burm) , pomegranate bark and stamens of lotus taken together with rice water should be given .

          Dysentery : Stamens of white lotus pounded with rice water and mixed with sugar candy is indicated .

STEM ( KAMAL NAAL / BIS / MRINAL ) :  It is sweet , cold , heavy , dry , heavy to digest , aphrodisiac , astringent .  

            It increases lactation , vata , kapha and alleviates pitta , blood disorders , burning sensation , stomatitis .

            Intrinsic haemorrhage : Duralabha ( Fagonia Arabica ) , Parpata (Fumaria officinali ), Lotus stalk – these combined or separately are helpful.

            Alcoholism : One should take lotus stalk , lotus stem , pippali                   ( long pepper ) , and haritaki ( Terminalia chebula ) mixed with honey .

 

 ROOT ( KAMAL KAND / SHALUKA / KARHAATAKA ) : Lotus root cooked in oil with cow’s urine should be used in retention of urine associated with severe pain .

PADMINI (  BISINI / KAMALINI ) : It is the blossomed flower with roots , stem , leaves , fruit . It is cold , heavy to digest , sweet and salty in taste ,  dry , obstructs vata  . It alleviates pitta , blood disorders and kapha .

               As a rasayan – ghee processed with the paste of stalk , stem , stamens , leaves and seeds of lotus along with pieces of gold and milk is known as pancha vrinda ( having five parts of lotus ) , it promotes strength , virility and intellect .

RESEARCHES :

       ACTIVE  PRINCIPLES :

    Amino acids : Alanine , arginine , asparagine, cysteine ,  glycine ,histidine,  isoleucine , leucine , lysine , methionine , proline , tyrosine , tryptophan

     Vitamins : Ascorbic acid , beta carotene , niacin , riboflavin , rutin , thiamine

     Minerals : Calcium , copper , iron , magnesium , manganese , phosphorus , potassium , sodium

     Others : Carbohydrates , fat , fiber , protein , glutathione , isoquercetin , quercetin , kaempferol

For complete of article : http://www.spiceflair.com/lotus-its-cultural-and-medicinal-significance/

Lotus – A potential nutraceutical source : 

http://www.ijat-aatsea.com/pdf/JUN_V3_07/13-IJAT2007_07-R.pdf

5 thoughts on “Lotus – It’s Cultural And Medicinal Significance

  1. Pingback: Lotus – It’s Cultural And Medicinal Significance | Drnilima's Blog

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