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Herbs & Botanicals

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Lotus Node (ou jie)

What is lotus node? What is it used for?

Lotus node comes from the lotus, a perennial aquatic plant related to the water lily. It grows throughout the tropical regions of Asia and the Middle East; an American version is found in the United States.

The node is a thick, sponge-like portion of the plant's underground parts, or rhizomes. The rhizomes are usually harvested in autumn and winter, at which time the nodes are removed, cleaned, and dried in the sun.

Lotus has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, lotus node has sweet and neutral properties, and is associated with the Lung, Liver and Stomach meridians.

Like most other parts of the lotus plant, lotus node acts as an astringent. Its main function is to stop bleeding (particularly coughing accompanied by blood and vomiting accompanied by blood), and to help the blood coagulate more quickly. It also helps treat conditions such as diarrhea.

How much lotus node should I take?

The typical dosage of lotus node is between 10 and 15 grams, drunk in water as a decoction. If fresh lotus node is being used, larger doses (30 to 60 grams) may be appropriate. Parched or charred lotus is believed to be more potent at stopping bleeding and reducing blood pressure than fresh lotus.

What forms of lotus node are available?

Whole, dried lotus nodes can be found at many Asian markets, herbal shops and specialty stores. Lotus node is also available in juice, pill, powder and capsule forms.

What can happen if I take too much lotus node? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Lotus rhizome node is considered extremely safe; the American Herbal Products Association has given it a class 1 rating, which means that it can be safely consumed when used appropriately. However, because lotus node acts as an astringent, patients taking blood-thinning medications should consult with a health care provider before taking lotus nodes or any formulas that contain lotus node. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care practitioner before taking lotus node or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Chen JK, Chen TT. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry, CA: Art of Medicine Press, 2004, p. 585-586.
  • Dharmananda S. Lotus seed: food and medicine. Published by the Institute for Traditional Medicine, March 2002. Available online.
  • Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C (eds.) PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 2000, pp. 480-481.
  • McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, et al. (eds.) American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, p. 78.
  • Wu MJ, Wang L, Weng CY, et al. Antioxidant activity of methanol extract of the lotus leaf (nelumbo nucifera Gertn.). Am J Chin Med 2003;31(5):687-98.

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