Common names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus,
Nelumbium speciosum , Nymphaea nelumbo
Lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family – Nelumbonaceae. The Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.) and Nymphaea nelumbo, among others.This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.
Lotus is the national flower of India. Both Hindus and Buddhists regard it as a sacred symbol and use it not only in offerings but also in countless art forms. The Lotus is native to Asia and In wild flourishes in a wide range of climates from India to China and northeast Australia. Lotus cultivated in different parts of the world as an aquatic plant.
No other plant figures so prominently in Asian religions as the Lotus.
In the classical written and oral literature of many Asian cultures the lotus is present in figurative form, representing elegance, beauty, perfection, purity and grace, being often used in poems and songs as an allegory for ideal feminine attributes.
Warm-temperate to tropical climates, in a range of shallow (up to about 2.5 m deep) wetland habitats, including floodplains, ponds, lakes, pools, lagoons, marshes, swamps and the backwaters of reservoirs. Sometimes mistaken for the water-lily, the lotus has a distinctively different structure. Most notably through the obconical (ice-cream cone-shaped) receptacle in the centre, into which numerous free carpels are sunken.
The flowers, seeds, young leaves, and “roots” (rhizomes) are all edible. The petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food also. Though Petals, leaves, and rhizome can also all be eaten raw, but there is a risk of parasite transmission it is therefore recommended that they be cooked before eating.
Lotus roots have been found to be rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, and manganese,
Nutritional value of Lotus:
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) :
Energy – 278 kJ (66 kcal)
Carbohydrates – 16.02 g
Sugars – 0.5 g
Dietary fiber -3.1 g
Fat – 0.07 g
Protein – 1.58 g
Water – 81.42 g
Thiamine (vit. B1) – 0.127 mg (11%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) -0.01 mg (1%)
Niacin (vit. B3) -0.3 mg (2%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) -0.302 mg (6%)
Vitamin B6 – 0.218 mg (17%)
Folate (vit. B9) – 8 μg (2%)
Choline – 25.4 mg (5%)
Vitamin C – 27.4 mg (33%)
Calcium – 26 mg (3%)
Iron – 0.9 mg (7%)
Magnesium – 22 mg (6%)
Manganese – 0.22 mg (10%)
Phosphorus – 78 mg (11%)
Potassium – 363 mg (8%)
Sodium – 45 mg (3%)
Zinc – 0.33 mg (3%)
Flowers used in heart diseases, helps to stop bleeding, pounded petals for syphilis; for cosmetic unguents (Java); the flower stalk with other herbs also used to treat bleeding from the uterus.
Lotus rhizome is very good source dietary fiber; 100 g flesh provides 4.9 g or 13% of daily-requirement of fiber. The fiber, together with slow digesting complex carbohydrates in the root help reduce blood cholesterol, sugar, body weight and constipation conditions .
Lotus seeds used for urinary disorders, including urinary stones, kidney inflammation, and urinary tract infection; it is also used for disorders of the reproductive organs, such as prostatitis and leucorrhea
The embryonic seeds for high fever, cholera (Chinese), nervous disorders and insomnia; the seeds to stop vomiting, relieve indigestion and diarrhoea or just as a tonic.
Seeds is also used in a therapy for weak digestion leading to diarrhea., many skin maladies and leprosy
The rhizomes or leaves are used with other herbs to treat sunstroke, fever, diarrhoea, dysentery, dizziness, vomiting of blood, haemorrhoids. The whole plant is used as an antidote to mushroom poisoning
Reference and further reading :
1. Prokiti Somogra – Prof. Dizen Sharma,Dhaka
2. Edible medicinal and non-medicinal plant – T.K.Lim
3. Useful plants of Bangladesh – Dr.Tapan Kumar