Related Terms

  • Adenine, alkaloids, aporphine, arbutin, ascorbic acid, asimilobine, astragalin, bean of India, benzylisoquinoline, beta-ionone, beta-sitosterol glucopyranoside, bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids, carbohydrates, catechin, chungyang, coclaurine, flavonoids, gallic acid, garam, geranyl acetone, hexahydrofarnesyl acetone, hyperin, hyperoside, inchisa, Indian lotus, isoliensinine, isoquercetin, isorhamnetin glycosides, kaempferol, lian fang, lian xu, lian zi, liensinine, lirinidine, lotus leaf extract, lotusine, methyl gallate, muan, myo-inositol, neferine, negferine, Nelumbium spp., Nelumbo spp., Nelumbonaceae (family), norcoclaurine, nuciferine, nuciferone, O-nornuciferine, pentadecyl acrylate, phenolics, procyanidins, pronuciferine, quercetin, red lotus, rutin, sacred lotus, sacred water-lily, saponins, triterpenoids, tryptophan, vitamins.
  • Note: This monograph does not include plants from the Lotus or Nymphaea genera, as these are distantly related plants from other plant families.

Background

  • Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) has been used throughout Egypt, the Middle East, India, and China since ancient times, primarily as a food, but also as a medicine. The flowers, seeds, leaves, fruit, and rhizomes of the lotus are all edible. The petals of the flower are used as a wrap for foods in Asia, and the rhizome is a common ingredient in soups and stir-fries.
  • Lotus flowers, leaves, seeds, and fruit have been used traditionally to treat a variety of conditions, including diarrhea, abnormal bleeding, poor digestion, fever, and insomnia. There is not enough scientific research on the use of lotus for treatment of any condition.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (18 years and older):

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for lotus in adults.
  • Children (younger than 18 years):

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for lotus in children.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

  • Allergies

    • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to lotus, its constituents, or related species from the Nelumbonaceae family.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • Lotus may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
    • Lotus may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
    • Lotus may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with low blood pressure and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that lower blood pressure.
    • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery or if taking sedatives or CNS depressants.
    • Use cautiously in patients with constipation and stomach distension (swelling).
    • Use cautiously in patients taking drugs, herbs, or supplements to treat arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
    • Use cautiously in women trying to become pregnant.
    • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
    • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to lotus, its constituents, or related species from the Nelumbonaceae family.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • Lotus is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • Lotus may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
    • Lotus may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
    • Lotus may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
    • Lotus may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, CNS depressants, sedatives, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
    • Lotus may also interact with antibiotics, anticancer agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antiobesity agents, antivirals, calcium channel blockers, cholesterol-lowering agents, drugs that affect the gastrointestinal system, drugs that affect the immune system, drugs that may damage the liver, drugs that treat irregular heartbeat, fertility agents, fever reducers, and laxatives.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Lotus may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
    • Lotus may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
    • Lotus may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
    • Lotus may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements such as sedatives.
    • Lotus may also interact with antibacterials, anticancer agents, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antiobesity agents, antioxidants, antivirals, cardiac glycosides, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, fertility agents, fever reducers, herbs and supplements that affect the cardiovascular system, herbs and supplements that affect the gastrointestinal system, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, herbs and supplements that may damage the liver, herbs and supplements that treat irregular heartbeat, and laxatives.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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  • Wu, M. J., Wang, L., Weng, C. Y., and Yen, J. H. Antioxidant activity of methanol extract of the lotus leaf (Nelumbo nucifera Gertn.). Am.J.Chin Med. 2003;31(5):687-698.
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