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Herbs & Botanicals

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Lotus Seed (lian zi)

What is lotus seed? What is it used for?

Lotus seeds come from the lotus plant, which is found throughout the Middle East and Asia. The typical lotus seed is small, round and white or off-white in appearance.

In China, lotus plants are grown in the Hunan, Fujiang, Fiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. The seeds are usually collected in August and September, and are dried in the sun (after having the skins of the seed removed).

In traditional Chinese medicine, lotus seeds are considered sweet and neutral, and are associated with the Spleen, Kidney and Heart meridians. They contain asparagin, fats, proteins and some starches, and trace elements of calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. They are taken to tonify the spleen, reinforce the kidneys and nourish the blood. Lotus seeds have astringent properties, and are consumed to help relieve the symptoms of diarrhea and improve appetite. Other conditions treated with lotus seeds include palpitations, insomnia and irritability. Among the herbs with which lotus seeds are used are ginseng, poria and dioscorea.

How much lotus seed should I take?

The typical dose of lotus seed is 6-15 grams of crushed or powdered seed, boiled in water for use as a decoction.

What forms of lotus seed are available?

Raw, unprepared lots seeds can be found at some herbal shops and Asian markets. Powdered and crushed lotus seeds can also be found at some specialty stores. Lotus seed is also available in capsule and tablet form.

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

Lotus seeds should not be taken by people who are constipated or have a distended abdomen. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with lotus seed. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking lotus seeds or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai: Science and Technology Press, 1998.
  • Jiang L, et al. Detection of trace elements of different parts of lian zi. Journal of Yunnan College of TCM 1993;16(4):9-10, 14.
  • Lou HX, et al. Research on chemical compositions of plumaula nelumbinis. Journal of Shandong Medical University 1995;33(4):346-348.
  • Ma ZJ, et al. Experimental research on anti-aging effects of lian zi. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica 1995;26(2):81-82.
  • Ru XN, et al. Extraction and detection of water-soluble saccharide from lian zi. Journal of Shizhen Medicinal Material Research 1997;8(4):325-326.

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