Lotus seeds originate from the lotus flower and are a very versatile food, they can be eaten raw, cooked or even popped like popcorn and eaten whilst at the movies, with recent studies showing they can have a powerful use in TCM to treat various sexual conditions, it is also known as lotus nut or Lian Zi. According to legend, consuming it could make people become immortal and young.
The seeds are also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to relieve the diarrhoea and improve the health of the spleen. Traditionally, lotus seeds were used to treat people with sleeping disorders such as insomnia, and are also known to be effective in alleviating restlessness. This is due to the natural sedative and calming effects of the seeds.
As the name implies, it refers to the mature seeds of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn., which is a plant in the family nymphaeaceae. Its scientific name is Semen Nelumbinis. In China place of origin include Hunan, Fujian, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. Habitats are ponds and lakes. The lotus seed pods are harvested in autumn when the fruits are ripe. And then take the seeds out, remove the peel, dry, and use raw. And nowadays on the market people can find many lotus flower seeds products, such as lotus seed tea, oil, tincture, mooncake, kheer, flour, congee, dessert, curry, candy, drink, extract, paste, and so on.
Dried lotus seeds are sold widely in Asian markets. They are hardy and rough in texture and hence must be soaked in water overnight. They can be added to various dishes such as soups. Fresh lotus seeds are sold with the seed heads. They must be broken to remove each seed and then eaten. The shell of the fresh seeds should be removed before eating. Crystallized lotus seeds are made by cooking the seeds in syrup and then drying them. One of the most common uses of lotus seeds is lotus seed paste which is used in Chinese pastries and in Japanese cakes and desserts.
Lotus seeds are popular for their nutritional benefits and healing properties. They are commonly used in Chinese medications and also in various recipes. Lotus seeds contain L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, an enzyme with anti-ageing properties. It is known to help in repairing damaged proteins. The seeds contain kaempferol, a flavonoid known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to help in repairing aging gum tissue. The astringent properties of lotus seeds make them beneficial for the kidneys. They help to regulate the energy levels of the body.
The seeds cause dilation of the blood vessels and thus help in controlling blood pressure levels. The seeds are sometimes combined with other herbs in order to treat urinary ailments such as prostatitis and reproductive diseases.
These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs.
Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture or Herbs treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here.