You’ve probably heard of blue lotus and its benefits for sexual health. (It’s a natural aphrodisiac and can help with erectile dysfunction.) But did you know it has many other benefits as well?
Below are several benefits of this amazing plant.
But first.. What is Blue Lotus?
Blue lotus, or Nymphaea caerulea, is a water lily with a significant history in Ancient Egypt. For millennia, the plant has been used in traditional medicine as a natural aphrodisiac, sleep aid, and anxiety reliever.
The flowers have blue, bluish-white or mauve petals which fade to a pale yellow in the flower’s center.
Historians believe blue lotus was once used as a traditional medicine to treat a variety of conditions. In ancient times, blue lotus likely grew along the Nile and other parts of East Africa and spread throughout the Indian subcontinent and Thailand.
The plant played a significant role in Ancient Egyptian culture and mythology, as it was often depicted in Egyptian papyri and art, including in stone paintings and carvings — for example, on the walls of the temple of Karnak.
Blue lotus is frequently seen in ancient art depicting “party scenes” such as dancing or magical rites into the afterlife. King Tut’s mummy was adorned with blue lotus flowers.
Blue lotus has several compounds that may act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are extremely important because they help fight free-radicals in our bodies.
So what are free radicals?
Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive molecules produced when your body breaks down food (especially “junk food” such as processed meat, alcohol, or foods high in carbs and sugar).
Free radicals also develop from exposure to environmental stressors (like cigarette smoking, UV radiation, and pollution).
These free radicals have an insatiable appetite for electrons, snatching them from your body’s cell proteins and membranes in a process called “oxidation.”
When your body can’t process or get rid of free radicals effectively, it creates oxidative stress. This damages your DNA and contributes to aging and numerous diseases, like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and depression.
Ok, so back to antioxidants. How do they help get rid of free radicals?
Antioxidants work by generously offering their own electrons to the ravenous free radicals, and they’re able to do this without turning into electron-stealers themselves. Antioxidants also help repair DNA and maintain healthy cells.
A diet high in antioxidants is tied to a reduced risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some types of cancer.
The most well-known antioxidants are vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Some of the best sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, herbs and cacao.
The antioxidants in blue lotus come in the form of flavonoids (help regulate cellular activity and fight off free radicals), quercetin (tied to improved exercise performance and reduced inflammation), kaempferol (may reduce risk of chronic disease), and myricetin.
So next time you drink blue lotus tea, remember that it may be helping you fight all those nasty free radicals.
May improve mood
A mouse study suggests that the Nymphaea plant may help improve your mood.
Natural remedies for anxiety and depression are beneficial for millions of people struggling with their mental health.
Major depression alone affects about 350 million people worldwide. But even more people live with anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder in the United States, affecting about 40 million adults or 18.1% of the population each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
Anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder (6.8% of the U.S. population), specific phobias (8.7%), post-traumatic stress disorder (3.5%), generalized anxiety disorder (3.1%), panic disorder (2.7%), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (1%).
Speaking of blue lotus, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) writes, “It has been speculated that the flower was used in ancient Egyptian culture as part of healing and shamanistic rituals dating back to the fourteenth century B.C. Today, blue lotus flower is used as a sleep aid and anxiety reliever, but has also been described as a mild stimulant.”
In addition to the science, there are several personal antidotes of blue lotus consumers confirming that it can improve your mood.
How does blue lotus work?
N. caerulea is considered an entheogenic substance, which is said to alter one’s consciousness in a spiritual or religious manner.
The buds and flowers are the psychoactive components of the plant. The two main compounds believed to exert the flower’s medicinal effects are called “apomorphine” and “nuciferine.”
Apomorphine is a compound that can activate dopamine receptors. This is the compound believed to help people with muscle control issues and erectile dysfunction.
Researchers have been particularly interested in apomorphine’s effects on Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Nuciferine is a compound believed to act as an antipsychotic substance that can induce feelings of calm and help with erectile dysfunction. Nuciferine is also of interest to researchers for its antipsychotic and anti-tumor properties.
According to the authors of a recent study, “Pharmaco- or psycho-active compounds in traditional medicines or in plants used during neoshamanic rituals can sometimes lead to the (re-) discovery of new drugs for chronic pain, anxiety, depression or schizophrenia.”
“Neoshamanic rituals fulfill the needs for healing and transformation of a number of people, who are partly dissatisfied with the absence of certain healing aspects in western medicine. A recent neoshamanic ritual is based on the administration of a resin from the Blue Nile Flower (Nymphaea caerulea), also referred to as Blue Lotus or Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile).”
“Nuciferine has an enriched pharmacological profile, with affinities for a number of serotonergic and dopaminergic receptors. Nuciferine and its derivatives might lead to a new family of atypical antipsychotic compounds.”
“Furthermore, a recent identified mechanism of action related to its anti-inflammatory activity, suggest this molecule might also play a role in the treatment of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.”
Of course, when you’re drinking blue lotus tea, these two compounds would be much less concentrated and also be mixed with the psychoactive qualities of the buds and leaves.