Lotus seeds, called Lian Zi (莲子) in Chinese, were brought to China 2,000 years ago and now are commonly used in food, mainly Chinese soups and desserts, as well as medicine. In Buddhist traditions, the “Sacred Lotus” is a symbol of vitality and purity.
Oh-So-Young! Lotus Anti-Aging Properties
Lotus seeds contain the anti-aging enzyme L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, which helps to repair damaged proteins, according to the Kushi Institute, a macrobiotic website. Due to that many cosmetic companies are including the seeds in their anti-aging blends. Daike Tian states that they contain kaempferol, a natural flavonoid which prevents inflammation, which helps repair aging gum tissue.
Modern pharmacological uses of lotus seeds
Western scientists are researching lotus properties thoroughly. There are studies on anti-oxidation in lotus seed in the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging. They are/have :
- Powerful antioxidants and help fight inflammation and aging
- Inhibitory effect on nasopharynx cancer (head and neck cancer)
- Lower blood pressure
- Significant cardiac effects-antiarrhythmic effects
- Great tonic, especially for bedridden patients, postpartum woman, or the frail elderly
- Can help control sexual desire, ie. arrest emission of semen at night
- The lotus seed with plumule can get rid of freckles
- Can help fight the herpes 1 virus
Traditional Chinese Medicine
As Chinese herb lotus is used mainly for the spleen, heart and kidneys, since they:
- Tonify Spleen & Kidneys (chronic diarrhea due to deficient spleen, spermatorrhea and leukorrhea due to deficient kidneys)
- Nourish Heart (excessive dreams, insomnia, forgetfulness, agitation)
- Help to strengthen the digestive process & stop diarrhea
- Stabilize essence (lotus seeds strengthen the kidneys where the essence stores, so once kidneys are tonified the essence is strengthened)
- Calm the spirit-have sedative or calming properties, and are therefore used to treat insomnia or restlessness (read about stress and anxiety)
- are used to treat sexual conditions
Lotus seeds are astringent, so they can decrease abnormal fluid leakage from organs such as the spleen, kidney and heart. Men are given lotus seeds as part of treating deficient kidney function related to sexual problems.
In the summer when it’s hot and humid (called pathogenic heat in China) our bodies are affected, especially heart, which can cause agitation, restlessness and sleeplessness (insomnia). The inner part of the lotus seeds, the bitter greens or embryos, are considered “cooling,” and are used to treat the heart for that. Read my post on how to stay healthy this summer following simple Chinese Medicine rules.
The lotus embryo, or heart of the lotus seed, benefits the heart because of its bitter and cooling properties. The bitter parts are said to include the isoquinoline alkaloids, which have antispasmodic and calming effects, which help dilate blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure.
Delicious & Nutritious
Lotus seeds are sweet-tasting and according to the website NutritionData.com, are:
1) good source of protein, magnesium, thiamine, potassium, and phosphorus
2) have among trace elements of iron and zinc
3) are low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol
Eating 1 oz. (30 grams) of raw lotus seeds provides 94.3 calories. While it is a very small sample size it is a low-fat and cholesterol-free snack. Lotus seeds contain no sugar but do provide 18.3 g of carbohydrates and 4.4 g of protein as well as 4.6% and 5.6% of the daily values of calcium and iron, respectively.
Preparation and Eating
The seeds can be eaten raw, but outside of Asia usually can be bought in dried form. Typically, Asians roast the seeds or use them to prepare traditional foods such as “moo pies,” or red bean and lotus seed soup.
1. Lotus seeds porridge
Strengthens spleen to stop diarrhea, benefits kidneys to nourish the essence & calms the spirit by nourishing the heart
- diarrhea caused by deficient spleen
- frequent urination
- spermatorrhea and leukorrhea caused by deficient kidneys
- palpation, dysphoria and insomnia caused by deficient of heart
Ingredients: lotus seeds 20g, sticky rice 100g, brown sugar 15g.
Cooking steps: Soak lotus seeds for 20mins, wash the sticky rice, add plenty of water and then cook seeds with rice until they are soft and sticky. Finally add brown sugar and cook another 5-10mins.
Eat warm on an empty stomach.
2. Goji berry lotus seed soup
Tonifies kidneys and liver, nourishes heart blood, clears eyes & calms the spirit.
- blurry of eyes
- poor appetite caused by liver and spleen deficiency
Ingredients: lotus seeds 250g, goji berry 30g, brown sugar amount depends on the sweetness you like
Cooking Steps: Soak lotus seeds for 20mins, wash goji berries, mix, add plenty of water, cook until they are soft or cook thoroughly, finally add brown sugar.
3. Gingseng lotus seeds soup
Tonifies Qi, strengthens spleen, nourishes heart and calms spirit.
Suits: people who are after severe disease (after surgery or with long term illness), who suffer from:
- low energy
- low immune system
- poor appetite
- spontaneous sweats, night sweats, insomnia, excessive dreams,
- sense of suppression in the chest caused by deficient spleen
Ingredients: lotus seeds 15g, Gingseng 10g, crystal sugar 30g(rock candy)- you can get all ingredients in Asian market.
Cooking Steps: Put lotus seeds and gingseng in a pot, add water and soak for 30mins. Then add rock candy and cook it for an hour.
You can eat lotus seeds and drink the soup. Gingseng can be cooked twice; you can eat it when it’s cooked second time.
Because lotus seeds have antidiarrheal properties, people with indigestion or constipation should avoid them.
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