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unpublished extensions of Daike's thesis in this issue, including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
Its usefulness goes far beyond its
pretty face --
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
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
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,
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
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
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 >
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
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
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
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.
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).