In August 2004, Daike Tian entered Auburn University as a Graduate Research Assistant to pursue a Doctor of Science degree in Horticulture, receiving his PhD August 9, 2008. He embraced the AU Lotus Project, Alabama USA, which studies the feasibility of growing lotus as an alternative food and ornamental crop in the southern United States. His thesis is titled Container Production and Post-harvest Handling of Lotus (Nelumbo) and Micropropagation of Herbaceous Peony (Paeonia). Abstract | Dissertation We are pleased to present previously unpublished extensions of Daike's thesis in this issue, including The Versatile and Valuable Lotus, Experiments with Lotus Propagation and a fabulous Nelumbo Image Gallery.

Read about Daike Tian >

Its usefulness goes far beyond its pretty face --

The Versatile and Valuable Lotus
A review of the literature
Its uses:
Ornamental | Cultural and Tourism

Culinary | Medicinal | Even More

by Daike Tian, PhD, China and USA
Click images to enlarge

Ornamental Values

Nelumbo nucifera is widely cultivated in Asian countries as an ornamental. The ornamental value of lotus was appreciated in China at least 6,000 years ago. The Asian lotus is the National Flower of India and Vietnam, and one of ten famous Chinese flowers. However, N. lutea (American lotus) is not cultivated as widely as Asian lotus for ornamental purpose.

Lotus is often planted in water gardens, ponds, and shallow lakes to make a beautiful landscape. It is also planted in big jars for ornamental purposes. Recently, more flowering lotus varieties are planted in containers of different sizes.

< N. nucifera | N. lutea >

Small lotus, also called bowl lotus or tea-cup lotus, may be planted in small containers, even in rice bowls or tea cups, and used for indoor decoration. 

Lotus as a cut flower is not as popular as other traditional flowers like roses, carnations, lilies and tulips. However, it is frequently used in Buddhist countries (Thailand, India, and Nepal etc.) and can also be seen in other Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea. Lotus is one of the top three cut flowers behind orchid and jasmine and accounts for 11% of cut flower production in Thailand (Sahavacharin, 1998). Dried lotus flowers, flower petals, seedpods and leaves also are used for decoration.

Cultural and Tourism Values

Asian lotus has a long history related to religion and plays an important role in Buddhist countries. Lotus is one of the favorite objects for the writers, poets, painters, and photographers. Sacred lotus benefits public education and tourism. In Japan, many people are attracted to visit the Ohga lotus which originated from a 2000-year old seed. In China, the lotus-related theme parks (Shanshui Lotus World and China Waterlily World) are very attractive to tourists.


Food & Culinary Uses

Eastern lotus (N. nucifera) is one of the major vegetables in Asian countries, predominantly in China, Japan and Korea. The major edible parts of lotus are enlarged rhizomes (often called "roots") and seeds. Rhizomes are produced from rhizome-lotus varieties with or without flowers, and seeds from seed-lotus varieties. The current status of lotus food products was reviewed by Zhu and Xia (2002).

Lotus rhizomes are sold whole or in cut pieces, fresh, frozen, or canned. Rhizomes can be eaten raw or prepared for salad, but are mostly cooked in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Fresh rhizomes can be stir-fried after being sliced, stewed with pork, chicken or other kinds of meat, or steamed with sweet rice. They can be soaked in syrup or pickled in vinegar. Products like canned salted rhizomes, fresh-frozen rhizomes, and dried rhizome powder have developed very recently and rapidly in China. Glazed lotus rhizomes are also available in the market. Other products such as lotus rhizome juice (beverage), yogurt vinegar, and wine are under development in China (Zhu and Xia, 2002; Zhang et al., 2002; Liu, 2007).

Lotus seeds can be eaten raw unripened by peeling off the seed coat and removing the bitter "lotus heart" (green embryo). Ripe seeds are often dried after removing both seed coat and bitter embryo and then used in cooking, especially in many kinds of soups. Glazed lotus seeds and other seed-related desserts such as "Lotus Moon Biscuit" are available. Roasted seeds can be used as a coffee substitute and embryos are used as tea.


 

Underground tender lotus rhizome runners (unexpanded rhizomes) and young shoots are not often used as a vegetable, but can be seen in dishes in some places. Lotus flower petals are sometimes used in cooked dishes to add special flavor or in soups as a garnish, but are more often used as tea. The stamens are used to flavor tea.

Lotus leaves are mainly used as a wrapper for food cooking or for food storage. They are also used as a flavor. Lotus leaf has more than 800 years of history as a mouth-sealing material for wine jars and currently it is still used for storage of "Shaoxin Yellow Wine" in China. Several tons of dried lotus leaves are consumed each year (Guan et al., 2001). 

American lotus (N. lutea) has been, in a limited way, used as source of food. The tubers and roots can be boiled as a starchy food. The nuts are roasted like chestnuts and used in soups or ground into meal. The terminal shoots can be collected and dried to use as winter food (Walpole Island Heritage Centre, 2008).  

Medicinal Uses

N. nucifera has a very long history as a traditional medicine in Asia and all parts of plants can be used for medicine. The medicinal characteristics of lotus are recorded Compendium of Materia Medica by a Chinese doctor, Shizhen Li in 1548. Several well-known traditional Chinese medicine formulas include lotus seeds as an important component: Sheng Ling Baizhu San, first described in the Hejiju Fang (1110 A.D.) which tonifies the spleen and aids circulation of moisture, and Jinsuo Gujing Wan, first described in Yifang Jijie (Analytic Collection of Medical Formulas, by Ang Wang, 1682), which has been made into a popular patent remedy.

The whole plant has some antihemorrhagic effect, but the rhizome nodes are relied upon for that purpose specifically. The active component for reducing bleeding is not yet established, though quercetin and other flavonoids may play a role by improving capillary wall strength.

Lotus seeds are classified as astringents, being sweet and neutral, and benefiting the spleen, kidney, and heart. The seed has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels and to relax the smooth muscle of the uterus. The sweet taste and nourishing qualities of the seeds are responsible for benefiting the spleen and help stop diarrhea associated with qi deficiency. The astringent quality helps prevent loss of kidney essence, so the seeds are used to treat weak sexual function in men and leukorrhea in women. The seed also has calming properties that alleviate restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia (more so in the whole seed with embryo). Lotus embryo ("Lianzixin" in Chinese, heart of the lotus seed), is classified as bitter and cold and benefiting the heart. It dispels pathogenic heat from the heart to treat fidgets and spontaneous bleeding due to heat. The bitter components are isoquinoline alkaloids with sedative and antispasmodic effects. The alkaloids dilate blood vessels and thereby reduce blood pressure.

The flower is used for abdominal cramps, bloody discharges, bleeding gastric ulcers, excessive menstruation and post-partum hemorrhage. Lotus stamen is sweet, astringent, and neutral, benefiting the heart and kidney. It is mainly used for preventing discharge, such as treatment of leukorrhea or for frequent urination. The stamen contains flavonoids and a small amount of alkaloids. The fruit is used for agitation and fever. 

Lotus leaves are bitter but neutral, and are said to benefit the stomach, spleen, and liver. They are used for treatment of summer heat syndrome and dampness accumulation. The leaves also contain the alkaloids with hypotensive effects. Lotus leaf has become popular for lowering blood lipids and treating fatty liver. It is commonly combined with crataegus, which promotes blood circulation and lowers blood fats, for that purpose. Lotus leaf juices are used for diarrhea and sunstroke when mixed with licorice.

 

The rhizome nodes are astringent and neutral, benefiting the liver, lung, and stomach. They are mostly used to control bleeding. Lotus stems are used medicinally in the same way as the leaves for treatment of summer heat and used also to treat tightness in the chest due to obstruction of qi circulation.

The literature reporting on lotus-related medicinal functions has been increasing rapidly, and more and more chemicals and their functions have been identified in N. nucifera. The discovered medicinal compositions of lotus mainly include eight categories: flavonoids, penolics, akaloids, triterpenoids, polysaccharides, superoxide dismutase (SOD), fiber, and volatile oils (Zhou et al., 2007). The medicinal uses of Nelumbo have been recently reviewed by (Liu and Feng, 2005; Sridhar and Bhat, 2007; Zhou et al., 2007; Bramwell et al., 2008). The following major medicinal functions of Nelumbo are evidenced based on modern scientific studies.

Anti-aging Effect: Extracts of lotus seeds have effects on anti-aging. Obvious increase of T lymphocyte in thorax cortex was found in the powdered lotus-seed fed mice (Ma et al., 1995). Semen nelumbinis polysaccharide from lotus seeds obviously increased the activation of CAT, SOD, and GSH-PX in blood, and decreased the level of LOP in plasma, brain and liver homogenate of aging mice, therefore semen nelumbinis polysaccharide had a good anti-aging activity (Miao et al., 2005). Kaempferol, a natural flavonoid from lotus seeds as well as other plant sources was a functionally novel agent which was capable of preventing inflammation by down-regulation of iNOS and TNF-a expression via NF-jB inactivation in aged gingival tissues (Kim et al., 2007).

Anti-Alzheimer's Disease: The six Indian medicinal plants with acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity are screened by Mukherjee et al. (2007) and N. nucifera extracts showed a weak inhibition of acetylcholinesterase with IC50 values of 185.55±21.24 mg/ml.

Antibacterial: E. coli was inhibited by substances from leaf, stem, and flower of N. nucifera and Staphylococcus aureus is inhibited by extracts from leaf (Carlson et al., 1948).

Anticancerous Effects: Recently, anticancerous effects of neferine and liensinine are becoming hot topics and many related reports have been published. The influence of neferine on vincrisine-induced gastric carcinoma (SGC) apoptosis was detected by MTT method (Shi et al., 2003). The results showed 2.5, 5, and 10 umol/l of neferine enhanced vincristine to inhibit the proliferation of SGC7901 cells and 10 umol/l neferine increased SGC apoptosis induced by vincristine (0.1, 0.5, 2, 4 mg/l). Bao et al. (2003) studied the synergistic anticancer effects of neferine combined with anticancer agents on Saos 2 cell lines and its mechanisms. Dong et al. (2004) investigated reversal effect of neferine on resistance to vincristine in human multidrug-resistant gastric carcinoma cell line SGC7901/VCR. Neferine also has the enhancing effects in cisplatin chemotherapy for mice C57BL/6trans-planted with Lewis lung carcinoma (Huang et al., 2005). Li et al. (2005) investigated the effect of neferine on cell apoptosis induced by cyclophosphamide in mice Lewis lung carcinoma. The difference in growth inhibitory rates were significant between CTX+Nef group (80.08%) and CTX group (58.95%) which significantly higher in Nef group 6.78% (P<0.01). The death rate of carcinoma cells was 53.5% in CTX+Nef and 25.92% in CTX group which were significantly higher than that in both Nef and NS groups (7.09%, 5.63%). Enhancing anitumor effect of neferine on adriamycin treated osteosarcoma was reported by Bao et al. (2006). Xiong et al. (1999) reported liensinine from lotus inhibited endothelin-stimulated proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells and expression of protooncogenes. The similar results were found in Ang II induced vascular smooth muscle cells in pigs (Xiao, et al., 2003).

Antidiarrhoeal Effects: Extract of N. nucifera rhizomes showed significant inhibitory activity against diarrhoea induced by castor oil in rats and inhibited PGE significantly, and induced enteropooling in rats. It also showed significant reduction in gastrointestinal motility following charcoal meal in rats (Mukherjee et al., 1995b).

Anti-hyperglycemic and Anti-diabetic Effects: Extract of lotus flowers significantly depressed hyperglycaemia levels and produced hypoglycaemia and an improvement of glucose tolerance in normal rabbits (Huralikuppi et al. 1991ab). Chronic administration of plant extracts (the test drugs) to normal rats did not produce a sustained fall of fasting blood sugar levels although daily doses caused hypoglycaemia as an acute effect. The test drugs showed acute and chronic effects in suppressing hyperglycaemia, but were less potent than standard drugs. However, the test drugs significantly improved glucose tolerance in these animals. Murkherjee et al. (1995a) reported the methanol extract of the rhizome of N. nucifera possessed favorable hypoglycaemic activity in hyperglycaemic animals taking chlorpropamide as a standard. Mukherjee et al. (1997b) also reported that oral administration of the ethanolic extract of lotus rhizomes markedly reduced the blood sugar level of normal, glucose-fed hyperglycemic and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. The extract improved glucose tolerance and potentiated the action of exogenously injected insulin in normal rats. When compared with tolbutamide, the extract exhibited activity of 73 and 67% of that of tolbutamide in normal and diabetic rats, respectively. The methanolic extracts of N. nucifera flowers were reported to decrease the blood glucose levels significantly (P<0.001) in streptozotocin-nicotinamid induced type-II diabetes in rats (Rafiullah et al., 2006).

Anti-HIV: Anti-HIV benzylisoquinoline alkaloids and flavonoids were isolated by Kashiwada et al. (2005) from the leaves of N. nucifera and the 95% EtOH extract of N. nucifera leaves was found to display significant anti-HIV activity (EC50<20 mg/ml, TI > 5).

Anti-inflammatory Effects: The anti-inflammatory activity of the methanol extract of N. nucifera rhizome at doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg and betulinic acid at doses of 50 and 100 mg/kg (p.o.), showed significant anti-inflammatory activity in both the models of inflammation in rats. The effects produced are comparable to that of phenylbutazone and dexamethasone, two prototype anti-inflammatory drugs (Murkherjee et al., 1997a). Kaempferol, a flavanoid, is a functionally novel agent which was capable of preventing inflammation in aged gingival tissues (Kim et al., 2007).

Anti-obesity and Anti-hyperlipidaemia: Onishi et al. (1984) reported that extracts of three species suppressed serum lipids elevation in rats: Lonicera japonica > Akebia quita > N. nucifera. However, total cholesterol in the liver did not show any reduction in the groups receiving Nelumbo extracts. A decoction of Cratagus cuneata, N. nucifera and Gynostemma pentaphylla was reported by La Cour et al. (1995) and showed reduction of triglyceride and cholesterol in rats and Japanese quails. When fat-induced mice were fed by lotus residuals, rhizome nodes, and lotus shoots, respectively, for 4 weeks, the weight was significantly decreased by feeding lotus nodes and shoots. Ohkoshi et al. (2007) reported that dietary supplement of the N. nucifera leaf extract (NNE) resulted in a significant suppression of body weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet. The lipolysis was stimulated in the white adipose tissue of mice and the beta-adrenergic receptor pathway was involved in this effect. NNE also was found to cause a concentration-dependent inhibition of the activities of a-amylase and lipase, and up-regulated lipid metabolism and expression of UCP3 mRNA in C2C12 myotubes (Ono et al., 2006). NNE prevented the increase of body weight, parametrial adipose tissue weight and liver triacylglycerol levels in mice with obesity induced by a high-fat diet because it impaired digestion, inhibited absorption of lipids and carbohydrates, accelerated lipid metabolism and up-regulated energy expenditure. Consequently, NNE was beneficial for the suppression of obesity. Rhyu et al. (2007) reported N. nucifera extract of leaf, stem, and seed significantly inhibited the proliferation of 3T3-L1 preadipocyte, and the leaf and stem extracts showed significant changes on fat accumulations of adipocyte.

The effects of lotus extracts on anti-hyperlipidaemia have been supported the functions of chemicals in lotus. Shi and Hu (1998) reported that dose dependent neferine showed significant inhibition in human platelet aggregation in both normal subjects and patients with hyperlidimemias and was more effective than the drug aspirin. Therefore neferine may benefit prevention of the hyperlipidaemia related disease. The positive effects of liensinine on anti-hyperlidimemia and anti-peroxidation of lip in rats also were reported (Wang et al., 2005).

Antioxidant and Free Radical Scavenging: The antioxidant activities of Nelumbo have been widely studied recently. The antioxidative activity of oligomeric procyanidins from lotus seedpods was reported by Ling (2001) and Ling et al. (2005). The 0.1% procyanidins had a strong antioxidant activity in a soybean oil system, better than BHT at the same concentration, and inhibited lipoxygenase activity by >90% at a concentration of 62.5 mg/ml, with an IC50 value of 21.6 mg/ml. The procyanidins had IC50 inhibitory values rate to OH of 10.5 mg/l and a scavenging effect on O2 of 17.6 mg/l. Extracts from lotus knots (LRK) and whole rhizomes (LR) were investigated for their antioxidative capacity (Hu and Skibsted, 2002). LRK exhibited high antioxidative capacity, as measured by each of four different methods. LR, however, only showed a significantly high scavenging activity for small carbon-centered radicals, as measured by the ESR method. Total phenol content in the plant extract correlated with the antioxidant capacity, except for the scavenging of carbon-centered radical. Lotus rhizomes knot, as a waste during food production, will be a potential material for extracting antioxidants.Wu et al (2003) observed a dose-dependent protective effect of methanol extract of lotus leaves against reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced cytotoxicity. The extract exhibited scavenging activities on free radicals and hydroxyl radicals, and metal binding ability as well as reducing power, and also exhibited concentration-dependent antioxidant activities against hemoglobin-induced linoleic acid peroxidation and Fenton reaction-mediated plasmid DNA oxidation. Ethanol extracts from N. nucifera seeds showed potent free radical scavenging effects with a median inhibition concentration at 6.49 mg/ml (Soln et al., 2003). Hydro alcoholic extract of N. nucifera seeds showed significant antioxidant nature in both liver and kidney of Swiss mice (Rai et al., 2006). Yen et al. (2006) observed that all extracts of lotus seeds by water, ethyl acetate, or hexane are potent peroxynitrite scavengers, capable of preventing the nitration of tyrosine. Lotus seed extracts possibly acted as chemopreventers through reduction of excess amounts of nitric oxide (NO). Because boiling water gave higher yields of extracts than other organic solvents, boiling water extracts of lotus seeds (WELS) exhibited stronger antioxidant activity (Yen et al. 2005). The WELS showed significant chelating binding on ferrous ions and marked interaction with hydrogen peroxide. Phenolic acids were conjectured to be responsible for the antioxidant activity of WELS. The WELS showed neither changes on lipid peroxidation nor DNA damage in human lymphocytes with or without inducement by hydrogen peroxide. A Korean traditional lotus liquor (Yunyupju) made from lotus flowers and leaves showed dose dependent antioxidant activities and reached a plateau (about 80% inhibition) when the concentration of lotus liquor exceeded 25 mg in a modified linoleic acid peroxidation (Lee et al., 2005). This lotus liquor also has a potent superoxide radical scavenging activity. DPPH Radical scavenging activities and cytotoxic effects of hot water extracts from N. nucifera was also studied by Hong et al. (2007).

Comparative studies on antioxidant activities of Nelumbo and other species have been reported by several researchers. Bor et al. (2006) investigated the antioxidant activities and nitric oxide (NO) scavenging effects of 25 species. Results showed water extracts from Asian lotus, Jew's ear, shiitake, eggplant, and winter mushroom showed stronger antioxidant activity and free-radical-scavenging ability than those from other vegetable extracts. The scavenging effects of vegetable extracts on NO derived from sodium nitroprusside were in decreasing order of water spinach > Indian lotus > eggplant and garland chrysanthemum. Hutadilok-Towatana et al. (2006) investigated antioxidative and free radical scavenging activities of ten methanol extracts from various parts of seven medicinal plants, only that prepared from sacred lotus leaves exhibited a pronounced activity in the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging assay with an IC50 of 90 mg/ml, compared with an IC50 of 30 mg/ml for the butylated hydroxytoluene control. This extract was also found to be the most potent in removing the superoxide anion radical and in inhibiting the 2,2'-azo-bis-(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride-induced erythrocyte hemolysis and lipid peroxidation in a rat brain homogenate. In 12 pasteurized and sterilized Thai health beverages, Asian-lotus-rhizome drink showed the highest significantly antioxidant capacity in both equivalents to trolox and equivalents to ascorbic acid but not in the PCL test (Abdullakasim et al., 2007). Liao et al. (2007) compared effects of blood circulation regulation and antioxidant activity for 45 traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, and N. nucifera (1300 mmol TE/g leaf) was listed one of the top 6 herbs with highest antioxidant activity. The antioxidant effects of lotus rhizome powder extracted by solvents with different polarities were compared by Yang et al. (2007). All extracts exhibited higher antioxidant activity coefficient than that of ascorbic acid, but the total phenolic yield and antioxidant activity of lotus rhizome extracts were significantly affected by the properties of the extracting solvents.

Antipyretic Effects: The ethanol extract of stalks of N. nucifera showed significant antipyretic activity in both yeast induced pyrexia rats and control at the oral doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg in rats (Sinha et al., 2000). In control, a dose of 200 and 400 mg/kg was found to significant lower normal body temperature up to 3 and 6 hrs, respectively, after administration. In the body temperature-elevated group induced by yeast treatment, the extract showed dose-dependent on lowering body temperature up to 4 hrs at both doses. The results of lotus stalk extract were comparable to that of paracetamol, a standard antipyretic agent.

Antiviral Effects: Kuo et al. (2005) reported that NN-B-5 from the seed ethanol extract of N. nucifera significantly blocked multiplication of herpes simplex virus type 1 in HeLa cells without apparent cytotoxicity. The mechanism of antiviral action of NN-B-5 seemed to be mediated, at least in part, through inhibition of immediate early transcripts.

Cell Proliferation Effects: Xiong et al. (1999) reported inhibitive effect of liensinine on endothelin-stimulated proliferation of vascular smooth muscles cells and expression of oncogenes. Proliferation of hypertrophic scar fibroblasts in vitro can be inhibited by neferine at dose of 10-100 mg/ ml (Liu and Li, 2002) and autoimmune disease of MRL/MpJ-lpr/lpr mice was inhibited by (S)-Armepavine from N. nucifera by suppressing T cell proliferation through T cell immune responses to the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (Liu et al., 2006). The anti-proliterative effects of isoliensinine, a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid extracted from lotus embryos, showed on porcine coronary arterial smooth muscle cells induced by angiotensin II (Xiao et al., 2006).The anti-proliferation was related to the decrease of over-expression of growth factors PDGF-b, bFGF, proto-oncogene, c-fos, c-myc, and hsp70.

Diuretic Activity: The methanol extract of the rhizomes induced significant diuresis in albino rats and the dose dependent effects were observed in urine volume and electrolyte excretion (Mukherjee et al., 1996b).

Enzyme Inhibited Activity: Reverse transcriptase inhibitory activity of the plant extracts was determined in 57 Thai herbs and species by using Moloney Murine leukemia virus reverse transcriptase reacting with 3H-dTTP and radioactivity measured with a scintillation counter (Suthienkul et al. 1993). Eighty-one percent (46/57) of hot-water extracts and 54% (31/57) of methanol extracts showed inhibitory activities. At a concentration of 125 mg/ml, Nelumbo hot-water extracts, had a relative inhibitory ratio (IR) of 74% (the six highest) and Nelumbo methanol extract exhibited an IR value of 54% (the third highest). A methanol extract of the stamens of N. nucifera showed an inhibitory effect on rat lens aldose reductase (Lim et al., 2006).


Hepatoprotective Effects: Hepatoprotective effects of ethanol extracts from N. nucifera (ENN) seeds were tested by the carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and aflatoxin B1 (AFB1)-induced hepatocyte toxicity models (Sohn et al. 2003). ENN showed potent free radical scavenging effects with a median inhibition concentration of 6.49 mg/ml. Treatment of hepatocytes with ENN inhibited both the production of serum enzymes and cytotoxicity by CCl4. The genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of AFB1 were also inhibited by ENN in dose-dependent manners. These hepatoprotective effects of ENN against CCl4 and AFB1 might result from its potent antioxidative properties. The metabolic products and pathway of neferine have been investigated in rat liver (Jiang, 2003; Jiang et al., 2006; Huang et al., 2007).

Hypotensive Effects: The anti-herperglycemic effect of lotus was earliest found by Chen et al. (1962) who reported liensinine, an alkaloid from lotus-seed embryo, possessed a hypotensive activity of short duration in animals (cats and dogs), whereas the effects of its 2 quaternary ammonium salts were more powerful and lasting. Liensinine was more effective in decreasing diastolic blood pressure (BP) than systolic BP (Chen et al., 1995) and its major functional target was the peripheral vascular (Chen et al, 1962; Chen et al., 1995). The hypotensive activity also was found in neferine, another alkaloid from lotus embryo (Hu et al., 1990; Ge et al., 1995; Yu and Hu, 1996). The antihyperglycemic effect of iosoliensinine was reported by Lu et al. (2006) in rats.

Immunomodulattory Effects: (S)-armepavine may be an immunomodulator for the management of autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, as it suppresses T cells proliferation (Liu et al., 2006).

Psychological Effects: The methanolic extract of rhizomes of N. nucifera was found to cause a reduction in spontaneous activity, decrease in exploratory behavioral pattern by the head dip and Y-maze test, reduction in muscle relaxant activity by rotarod, 30° inclined screen and traction test and potentiated the pentobarbitone induced sleeping time in mice significantly (Mukherjee, 1996c).

Other Medicinal Uses: Nelumbo is used for extraction of ingredients of cosmetics and beauty (Ito, 2005). A cosmetic, "Lotus Flower X", has been developed from the lotus flower in Japan. The lotus flower essence has many uses and is called the spiritual elixir to help in meditation by calming the mind and improving concentration (Shah, 2002). It particularly heals the tendency toward spiritual pride, or the illusion that one is "spiritually correct or superior" (Kaminski and Katz, 1994). Nelumbo starch can be effectively used in tablet technology (Mukherjee et al., 1996a). The binding and disintegrating properties of starch isolated from rhizomes of N. nucifera can meet the requirements of in vitro parameters. The amounts of Nelumbo starch required as binding and disintegrating agent was only half of the amount of maize and potato starch. Therefore, lotus starch is a potential binding alternative of tablets. 


Other Values:

Nelumbo has high ability to assimilate macro-nutrients and heavy metals. Therefore it is a good bioindicator and efficient aquatic species for nutrition removal and decontamination. The self-cleansing property of the leaves -- "Lotus-effect" -- is of great technological interest. By transferring this effect to artificial surfaces, yielding surfaces that can be cleaned by a simple rainfall, numerous technical applications are possible.  

The dried stalks and seedpods are good media for mushroom production. Because of high starch content in lotus rhizomes and increasing requirement for green energy, lotus is a potential source of biofuel. The residues of lotus rhizomes can be used in fiber production (Cai et al., 2004).
References     

 Container Production and Post-harvest Handling of Lotus (Nelumbo) and Micropropagation of Herbaceous Peony (Paeonia) by Daike Tian Abstract | Dissertation

Experiments with Lotus Propagation

Nelumbo Image Gallery

Auburn University Lotus Project

Profile - Daike Tian, China and USA

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