Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn

Botanical Name: Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn

Sanskrit Name: Kamala

Family Name: Nelumbonaceae

Description

Vernacular names :

Common name – Lotus

  1. Hindi – kamal
  2. Kannada – kamala, tavaraggade
  3. Malayalam – thamara
  4. Tamil – ambal, thamara
  5. Telungu – kalung, erra , tamara
  6. Oriya – padam

Synonyms

Padama, Bisaprasuna, Pankaja, Pankeruha, Ambhoruha, Puskara, Satapatra,   Aravinda, Varija, Tamarasa

Ganas in classical texts:

Charaka: mutravirajaniya

Susruta: utpalaadi

Vagbhata: mutravirajaniya

Introduction

It is a perennial aquatic herb bearing the famous red lotus flowers. It is found in the fresh water ponds and lakes in india.

It is extensively described and used in the brihat trayi texts, almost all the nighantu granthas have delineated ‘kamalam’. It is famous for its coolig effect and anti – haemmorrhagic property.

The white variety of lotus is considered to be “ pundarika”. Similarly the red variety is known as “kokanada” and blue variety as “indivara”. Therefore 3 varieties of Kamala are given in the texts.

Varieties :

  1. White variety
  2. Red variety
  3. Blue variety

Botanical details

A handsome aquatic herb with stout, creeping rhizome found throughout India, ascending up to 1,800 m. Leaves peltate, 60- 90 cm. or more in diam., orbicular, glaucous :   petioles very long, smooth or with small prickles ; flowers solitary, large, white or rosy ; fruit-torus large, top-shaped, 5-10 cm. diam., spongy, with many (to-3o) uniovulate carpels sunk separately in cavities   on   the upper side ; carpels maturing into ovoid nut-like achenes.

Distribution

  1. nucifera is a native of China, Japan and possibly India. It is commonly found growing in ponds, tanks and jheels ; it is often cultivated for its elegant sweet-scented flowers. Many cultivated races with flowers ranging in colour from white to   deep rose and variegated leaves are known in Japan. Lotus is cultivated in China and Japan, in terraced fields, for its edible rhizomes and seeds.

Chemical constituents

Flower robinin (a glucoside),

Leaves – nuciferine (alkaloid); asmilobine & lirinidine
Root   – isoliensinine; neferine, armepavine (seeds).

Properties

Rasa – kasaya, madhura, tiktha

Guna – laghu, snigdha, pichila

Virya – sita

Vipaka – madhura

Karma – kapha- pitta hara, mutravirajiniya, varnya, garbhasthapaka

Indications

  • Raktapitta – bleeding disorders like nasal bleeding, Ulcerative colitis and menorrhagia
  • Shrama – tiredness
  • Arti – Bodyache
  • Bhranti – dizziness, psychosis
  • Santapa – Burning sensation
  • Visphota – skin boils
  • Daha – Burning sensation
  • Trushna – Excessive thirst
  • Visha – toxic conditions involving bleeding, boils, burning sensation and gastritis
  • Visarpa – Herpes
  • Diarrhea, dysentery, ulcerative colitis, IBS with diarrhea
  • Burning urination
  • useful in treating diabetes and neuropathy.

Part used

Whole plant , stamens

Dosage

Fresh juice of tuber – 10-20ml, seed powder 3-6g

Therapeutic uses

  • Gudabhramsa- Tender leaves of lotus plant must be taken with sugar
  • Krmidanta- Root of lotus may be chewed
  • Balatisara- Stamens of lotus are pounded with rice water and given alongwith sugar candy juice (V.S.)

Preparations

Aravindasavam

Other uses and references

  • The flowers of nucifera are used for ornament and as offering in temples. Cut flowers stand transportation if picked as buds one or two days before opening. They were once used as the source of a perfume, Lotus Perfume, which was highly prized ; the present-day lotus perfume is a blend of patchouli, benzoin and storax with phenylethyl and cinnamic alcohols. The honey from bees which visit lotus flowers is reported to possess tonic properties and considered useful for affections of the eye. The leaf stalk   yields   a   yellowish   white   fibre (Porterfield,J. N.Y. bot. Gdn, 1941, 42, 280 ; Khan, Pakist. J. For.,
    1958, 8, 342 ; Kirt. & Basu, I, 117).
  • Young leaves, petioles and flowers of the plant are eaten as vegetables. A kind of arrowroot is preparedfrom the fleshy rhizomes ; it is aromatic and sweet, and is reported to be not only nutritious but also tonic ; it is given to children in cases of diarrhoea, dysentery and dyspepsia.
  • A paste of the rhizome is applied in ringworm and other cutaneous affections.
  • Carpels are demulcent and nutritive and are used to check vomiting. A sherbet prepared from the plant
    is used as a refrigerant in smallpox and is reported to stop eruption.
  • The milky viscid juice of leaf and flower stalks is used in diarrhoea. Saline extracts of stem, leaves and flowers possess bacteriostatic action against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (Burkill, II, 1539-4o ; Porterfield, Bot., 1951, 5,o ;   Kirt.   & Basu, I, 118-19 ;Nadkarni,   I, 844 ; Nickell, Econ. Bot., 1959, 13, 281).

Research studies

  • The 50% ethanolic extract of rhizome showed CNS depressant effect and potentiated barbiturate – induced hypnosis in
    It also showed   diuretic activity in rats (Dhawan et al., 1977).
  • Neuciferine behaved as a dopamine- receptor antagonist like other neuroleptics which exhibit a chlorpromazine-like pro-file of activity while, its degraded product atherospermimine acted as a dopamine-receptor agonist (Bhattacharya et al., 1978).
  • Acetone extract of seeds showed antimutagenic activity ,11,,un,,I   some common mutagens in Ames test. It decseased the iiiiikwonie activity of aflotoxin B1 by 5% (Chem. Abstr. I990, 112, 539264)

Use of Lotus in surgery and Panchakarma

While doing Swedana – sweating treatment, the eyes and heart region of the patient is covered with lotus leaves and petals. This is because, sweating treatment induces sweating, a pitta activity. The patient may feel excess burning sensation during the procedure especially in head, eyes and heart region. Lotus being a coolant, negotiates the excess hotness of the treatment.

This method of keeping lotus over the said areas is especially indicated in coward patients and in people with Pitta Dosha body type.

Lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn) stalk was used as probe in surgeries for sinuses.

Other medicinal uses

  • Lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn) seeds used in the above manner is useful in vomiting, menorrhagia and hiccups.
  • Lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn) use in pregnancy:

During unexplained bleeding during pregnancy (threatened abortion), Lotus stamens – half a gram per day is administered along with butter.

A drink made out of lotus stamens is also administered for the same purpose.

  • Lotus for headache:

A paste made out of lotus petals is useful to relieve headache. Lotus, along with water lily, cardamom etc is explained by Charaka as group of herbs, the paste of which is useful to relieve headache. (Reference: Sutrasthana 3/24)

 

In the same chapter, Charaka includes Sacred lotus in group of herbs – cream, useful in relieving burning sensation (as in diabetic neuropathy) (3/26,27)

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