Nelumbo nucifera: Classification, Origin, Characteristics, Cultivation, and Medicinal Uses


Kingdom                           Plantae

Division                             Magnoliophyta

Class                                   Magnoliopsida

Order                                  Proteales

Family                                Nymphaeaceae

Genus                                 Nelumbo Adans

Species                               Nelumbo nucifera


The aquatic perennial Nelumbo nucifera belongs to the Nelumbonaceae family and is known by a variety of names (e.g. Indian lotus, Chinese water lily, and Sacred lotus). The lotus blossom is often featured in religious writings and art, as well as literature and oral traditions of numerous Asian nations, as a symbol of beauty and purity in both Hindu and Buddhist religions. The lotus is known as Nadro in Kashmir, and the Shia people of Kashmir celebrate the Nadru festival on March 21st each year. Lotus seeds are offered as a vegetable or as a raw material for Ayurvedic medication manufacture in Indian markets (kamal gotta). The alkaloid in lotus seeds and roots is said to be beneficial to health. Lotus is a significant and widely cultivated cash crop in many Asian countries, owing to the high edible and medicinal benefits of its leaves, seeds, and rhizomes.

Red Lotus


Although the lotus is indigenous to India, it was once widely distributed throughout Persia, Egypt, and Asia. It was first introduced to Europe in the 18th century as a type of water lily, and it is now seen in modern botanical gardens all over the world. In Australia, China, India, Iran, and Japan, lotus plants are widely grown. It was produced on 40,000 hectares in China in 1999 as an industrial crop. Lotus was brought to Japan from China and has been grown there for over 1000 years. It is widely distributed in India, and even Himalayan lakes at altitudes of up to 1400 m are known to have it.

White Lotus

General Characteristics

1. Lotus is a rhizomatous aquatic herb with a thin, elongated, branching, creeping stem that has nodal roots.

2. Leaves are enormous, both aerial and floating, orbicular (20-90 cm) and concave to cup-shaped; petioles of aerial leaves are erect and robust white, while those of floating leaves are weak. Aerial leaves have a length of 24 to 33 cm while floating leaves have a length of 23 to 30 cm.

3. Petioles are long, rough, and have small definite prickles; petioles are smooth, greenish, or greenish-brown in color with small brown spots, the scent is pronounced, and breakage is fibrous.

4. Flowers are white to rose, sweet-scented, solitary, hermaphrodite, with a diameter of 10-25 cm; ripe carpels are 12 mm long, ovoid, and glabrous; ripe carpels are 12 mm long, ovoid, and glabrous.

5. Ovoid fruits with nutlike achenes, seeds are black, firm, and ovoid.

6. The plant grows up to about 1.5 meters in height and up to 3 meters in horizontal length.

7. Its roots are anchored in the muddy bottoms of water bodies, and the average leaf is 60 cm in diameter and glides across the water’s surface.

8. Flowers are Solitary, big, and capable of reaching a diameter of 20 cm. Sepals, petals, and stamens are spirally arranged passing gradually one into another, growing from the nodes of the rhizomes, sheathing at the base, 1-2 cm long, green or blackish green, rigid and thick, smooth or rough due to the presence of numerous little distributed prickles.

9. The seeds have a diameter of 1 cm and a length of 1.2-1.8 cm, and they are contained in a woody receptacle that resembles a showerhead.

10. Fruit is a collection of non-dehiscent nutlets. Ripe nutlets are ovoid, roundish, or oblongish in shape, measuring up to 1.0 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, with a hard smooth brownish or greyish black pericarp that is weakly longitudinally striated, pedunculated, and one-seeded.

11. The lotus plant spreads through anaerobic sediments at the bottom of the water body by a creeping rhizome. Rhizomes have nodes that create leaves.

12. Rhizomes have a diameter of 0.5 to 2.5 cm and are 60-140 cm long, 0.5 to 2.5 cm broad, yellowish-white to yellowish-brown in colour, smooth longitudinally striated with brown patches, and 60-140 cm long. There are nodes and internodes in the network.

Lotus in Pond


Seeds of the sacred lotus can be grown. Long-lived seeds have extraordinarily tough coverings, one end of which must be filed away before germination to represent the endosperm. To grow a tuber large enough to survive their first winter, the seedlings require a lot of light. Separation can also be used to propagate plants in late winter, right before the growing season begins. This difficult process is completed while the plants are dormant, during repotting. It’s possible to find numerous tubers in a huge pot after a mounting season. The growth tips must not be injured, thus the excrement must be carefully rinsed away and the growing tips identified. The propagation material should include a growing tip with a constricted area behind it, followed by a tuber, another constricted region, followed by a tuber, and finally, a different thin section with a tuber behind it, all of which can be severed. This substance, which resembles two and a half sausages, can be put into a separate saucepan.

The propagation material should be surrounded by at least 10 cm of soil (loam) and arranged in such a way that the growing tip does not come into contact with the pot side. At the top of the pot, a gap of at least 15 cm should be left above the soil. When the pot is removed from the pool, this gap makes room for a tank of water, and also keeps the rhizome from escaping when the pot is in a pond.

Lotus plants have been created at Kew by both division and seed sowing. Because drainage holes or the edges of square pots could trap the developing tips, the mature plants are stored in round 50-liter pots without any drainage holes. For overwintering, these watertight pots can be transported between Kew’s display houses and the Tropical Nursery. At a depth of 10-30 cm, the plants are kept submerged at all times.

Medicinal Uses of Lotus

1. Seed and other Lotus Plant Parts are sweet and neutral in taste, and beneficial to the spleen, kidneys, and heart. The spleen benefits from the pleasant taste and nutritional characteristics of the seed, which helps to halt diarrhoea.

2. The bitter yet neutral lotus leaves (heye) are supposed to assist the stomach, spleen, and liver.

3. They are utilized to alleviate summer heat syndrome and moisture accumulation, and they also contain hypotensive lotus alkaloids.

4. Lotus leaf has become popular for decreasing blood lipids and treating fatty liver; it is frequently used with crataegus for this reason, which increases blood circulation and decreases blood fats.

5. Lotus stems are used medicinally in the same way that the leaves are for treating summer heat and tightness in the chest caused by qi circulation restriction.

6. Lotus stamen is a sweet, astringent, and neutral herb that is beneficial to the heart and kidneys. It is primarily used to prevent discharge. The rhizome nodes of the Lotus plant are astringent and neutral, and they aid the liver, lungs, and stomach. The majority of the time, they’re utilized to stop bleeding.

7. All parts of the lotus contain antihemorrhagic properties, but the rhizome nodes are particularly useful for this.

Lotus Seed Head

Pharmacological Activities and Traditional Medicine

1. In many parts of the world, people employ lotus in traditional medicine for its enormous health advantages.

2. It’s used to treat things like sunstroke, diarrhoea, dysentery, haemorrhoids, dizziness, blood vomiting, and uterine bleeding issues, among other things.

3. Lotus has been shown to have antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, hypoglycemic, immunomodulatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and hepatoprotective properties in numerous pharmacological trials.

4. Lotus leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat diarrhoea, high fever, haemorrhoids, and leprosy.

5. Analgesic, anthelmintic, antiobesity, and hypolipidemic properties have been observed for the leaf extract. Lotus liquor, prepared from the blooms and leaves of the lotus plant, has been shown to have antioxidant properties and to be beneficial in lowering oxidative stress.

6. Diuretic, psychopharmacological, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, hypoglycemic, antipyretic, and antioxidant properties have been found in lotus rhizome and extracts.

7. Lotus flowers, floral parts, and extracts have been utilized to treat a variety of ailments including hypertension, cancer, weakness, and body temperature imbalance.

8. Lotus seeds are utilized as a spleen tonic in traditional medicine, and seed powder is used to treat coughs.

9. The ripe seed’s plumule is used to treat a variety of ailments, including neurological disorders, sleeplessness, high fevers, restlessness, and hypertension.

10. Anti-proliferative, anti-fibrosis, free radical scavenging, anti-obesity, and antiviral properties have been documented for the seeds or their extracts.

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