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Herbs & Botanicals

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Lotus Stamen (lian xu)

What is lotus stamen? What is it used for?

Lotus stamen comes from the lotus, a freshwater plant that originated in India and is now cultivated throughout southeast Asia. Different parts of the lotus are used for different purposes.

Lotus stems are often prepared in salads; dried lotus flowers are used in cooked dishes; and fresh lotus flowers are a popular decoration. This article will discuss the lotus stamen and its use in herbal medicine.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, lotus stamen is sweet and neutral, and is associated with the Kidney and Heart meridians. Its main functions are to reinforce the kidneys, to stabilize shen, and to help control jing.

Lotus stamen acts an astringent; in fact, it is a more potent astringent than lotus seed, but without the seed's tonic properties. It helps to treat conditions such as leukorrhagia, diarrhea, frequent urination and premature ejaculation. Depending on the condition, it may also be combined with other herbs, such as astragalus, cornus, scrophularia and ophiopogon. Charred lotus stamen may be used to help lower blood pressure. In addition, lotus stamen (in extract form) can be applied to the skin to prevent sunburn and discoloration.

How much lotus stamen should I take?

The typical dosage of lotus stamen is between 1.5 and 6 grams, drunk as a decoction. Lotus stamen should be fresh and smell sweet. The fresher the stamen, the more potent it is. Brittle or very dry lotus stamen should be avoided. Lotus stamen extracts can also be applied to the skin, with the amount used depending on the amount of skin being treated.

What forms of lotus stamen are available?

Fresh lotus stamen can be found at some flower shops and herbal shops. Many vendors also sell formulas that incorporate dried or powdered lotus stamen. In addition, some vendors may sell an extract of lotus stamen.

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

Lotus stamen is considered extremely safe; the American Herbal Products Association has given it a class 1 rating, meaning it can be safely consumed when used appropriately. Because of its astringent properties, however, lotus stamen should not be taken by patients suffering from constipation.

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions associated with lotus stamen. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking lotus stamen 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. 1016.
  • 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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