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Nutritional and Health Benefits of the Lotus Plant

Updated on September 26, 2016
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Lotus plants grow in water.
Lotus plants grow in water. | Source

Lotus is the national flower of India and Vietnam and also has cultural and religious significance in Asian traditions. The Latin name is Nelumbo nucifera.

In India, lotus is considered a sacred plant and is revered by Hindus as the some deities like Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Ganga are portrayed standing or sitting on lotus flowers. Likewise, lotus has a religious significance in Chinese, Buddhist and many other Asian cultures as well.

In addition to its cultural and religious significance, lotus offers health benefits. Find out how the different parts of this beautiful plant can be used for health and nutrition, then read on for more about how the plant grows.

Medicinal Value of Lotus

Studies reveal that the various parts of the lotus plant have astringent, emollient, diuretic, anti fungal, anti pyretic, anti microbial, anti bacterial, cardiotonic, anti steroidal, anticancer, antiviral, anti obesity, anthelmentic properties.

All parts of the lotus plant has been used in traditional medicine while the stem and seeds have been much used in Ayurvedic medicine. Lotus treats a wide variety of health issues.

  • The leaves have been used to treat fever, sweating, bleeding disorders, nosebleed, hematuria (blood in urine) etc.
  • The stem has been used to treat skin diseases like ringworm, fungal infections, leucoderma, spermatorrhea, smallpox, leprosy, nervous exhaustion, vomiting,, diarrhea, dysentery, cough, etc.
  • The young leaves are used to treat rectal prolapse. The leaf paste reduces fever and skin inflammations. The leaves also are diuretic.
  • The flowers prevent bleeding and promote conception when eaten. They are also useful in diarrhea, fever etc.
  • The seeds reduce inflammation, treat cancer, leprosy, skin diseases, are an antidote to poison, The seed powder is used to treat cough.
  • Lotus is useful in treating sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis, rheumatoid arthritis, and also certain types of diabetes.
  • It treats liver and kidney problems, parasitic infestations, snakebites and scorpion stings.
  • Lotus promotes better sleep, reduces weight, improves milk in breastfeeding females.
  • It improves female and male fertility.
  • Lotus benefits the heart, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and dilates the blood vessels.
  • Lotus flowers improve skin texture and condition. Many Ayurvedic spas offer lotus flower facials.

Dried lotus seeds.
Dried lotus seeds. | Source

Lotus Roots—Nutrition Facts Profile

  • Moderate in calories, provides 74 cals/100 gms.
  • Good levels of dietary fiber about 13% of daily requirement.
  • Low in fat and no cholesterol.
  • Excellent source of Vitamin C, provides 73% DV/100 gms.
  • Provides a number of Bcomplex vitamins and several minerals. Good amounts of copper and iron.
  • Low in sodium and high in potassium and has the optimum 1:4 ratio of these minerals.
  • Seeds are rich in protein and minerals.
  • Lotus contains several alkaloids and flavonoids.

Nutrient Levels in Lotus Root

Lotus root (Nelumbo nucifera, raw,
Nutrition Value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
74 Kcal
17.23 g
2.60 g
Total Fat
0.10 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
4.9 g
13 mcg
0.400 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.377 mg
0.258 mg
0.220 mg
0.160 mg
Vitamin A
0 IU
Vitamin C
44 mg
40 mg
556 mg
45 mg
0.257 mg
1.16 mg
23 mg
0.261 mg
0.7 mcg
0.39 mg
0 mcg
0 mcg
0 mcg
0 mcg

Lotus Stems and Roots

There is a a misconception regarding the lotus sticks available in the market that these are the roots of the lotus plant. The fact is that these are the lotus stems, or the rhizomes, and are modified stems. They are not roots. The roots are fine and thin and are found below the stem in the mud under the rhizome.

These stems are edible with a stiff exterior and are buried in a few feet of mud or muck in the ponds. Lotus stems have several hollow tube like symmetrical structures or air canals running the length of the stems and arranged in a circular fashion. These can be seen when a section of the stem is cut horizontally.

Since the stems may harbor parasites, they should be cleaned thoroughly to remove the mud and should be cooked before eating to destroy the larvae, if any.

These are Lotus stems, not roots.
These are Lotus stems, not roots. | Source
Sliced Lotus stem cut horizontally showing the hollow structure inside.
Sliced Lotus stem cut horizontally showing the hollow structure inside. | Source
Lotus Fruit
Lotus Fruit | Source

The Lotus Fruit (Seed Head)

The fruits or the seed heads resemble the spout of a watering can. Amazingly, it has been found that the seeds remain viable, under favorable conditions, for hundreds of years and seeds as old as 1300 years that were found from a dried lake bed in China were still viable enough to germinate.

The lotus fruit with numerous seeds embedded in it also resembles the big round sunflower head.

Uses of the Lotus Plant

All the parts of the lotus plant, the stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, stamens, seed pods are edible and some have other uses too.

  • The stems primarily are eaten as a vegetable. The younger stems are also pickled. These can be used in soups, stir, deep fried or braised, used in salads etc.
  • The large leaves are used to wrap sticky food items like rice since the leaves do not stick to the food. Dried leaves are used to make lotus tea. The young leaves are also used as a vegetable.
  • The seeds can be made into a paste to make soups, and are also used in cooking and baking. The roasted seeds when ground can be used as a coffee substitute.
  • The flower petals are both eaten as well as used in garnishing The stamens are dried and are used to make tea. They are also used to make eye drops.
  • The seeds can be eaten as a snack or also roasted, boiled or candied. They can be used in cooking to impart a delightful flavor to food. When ground into a flour they can be used to thicken soups or make bread. The seeds are also used to make rosaries.
  • The flowers are used as offering to deities in temples and the dried seed pods are used in decoration and flower arrangements.
  • The leaf stalks are also eaten as a vegetable. The fiber from the leaf stalks is used to make oil lamp wicks and also used to make cloth to be used for making robes for Buddha idols in Myanmar. The cloth made from the fibers is believed to cure many diseases.

It is amazing that the lotus plant is valuable for not only the physical well being but even the spiritual health of humans.

Lotus Stem Vegetable (Punjabi Kamal Kakdi Sabzi)

Lotus Stem Pickle (Kamal Kakdi Achar)


How Lotus Plants Grow

Lotus flower is called "Kamal" in India. The plant is also called as Indian lotus, sacred lotus or simply lotus. The lotus is an aquatic perennial plant that grows in tropical to subtropical climate. It is native to tropical Asia and Australia and is commonly cultivated in water gardens for show purposes also though primarily it is cultivated for its edible stems.

The leaves float on the surface of the water while some of them may also rise above the water surface. The flowers are borne on stalks that rise well above the water surface. The stem and leaf surfaces are coated with a waxy substance that makes it highly water repellent.

A pink lotus flower.
A pink lotus flower. | Source

The lotus plant is about 5 feet high and the leaves are thin and large, some as large as 2 feet in diameter. The flowers too can be as big as 8 inches in diameter. It bears pink and white flowers.

The lotus plants are among the few species of plants that can regulate the temperature of its flowers and maintain it within a close and optimal range to attract cold blooded insects for pollination. In fact physiologists in a study conducted at the University Of Adelaide, Australia found that even when the environmental temperature dropped to 10 degrees C, the flower temperature was maintained at 30-35 degrees C.




The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • profile image

      Karthik 8 months ago

      Nice article and also very useful information about the lotus uses and its beneficial functions

    • profile image

      Jeff 9 months ago

      Hi very informative thanks! I have a question, does lotus plant purify the waters and provide oxygen to the fish in a pond?

    • profile image

      Rocie 2 years ago

      I learned passed a year ago that I'm allergic to wheat,rye, barley and I'm Celiac. Since then I have made it a mission of mine to only eat things that can help heal my body. In this mission I was fortunate enough to learn about Lotus, you helped me a lot. I now cook with it every day and I don't miss any of the wheat, rye, and barlye in my life!!!!! :D Thank you Rajan Jolly!!! xoxoxoxox!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Deepa. Your comments are much appreciated.

    • profile image

      deepa 3 years ago

      I came through your link on B profile. each of your hubs are superb. I have bookmarked many for showing it to all. Thanks for taking the pains to write such beautiful masterpieces. btw we have a lotus pond

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Yorja, thanks for reading and leaving your comments.

    • creativeaqua profile image

      Yorja Rahmani 4 years ago from India

      Till now I only liked Lotuses because they are so damn pretty and is our national flower But after reading your hub, it is marvelous that the plant has so many benefits in so many spheres. Its amazing that the seeds can stand the test of time for thousand plus years.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for stopping by, Rosemary.

    • roc6 profile image

      roc6 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      So interesting, I love the lotus did not realise that it was edible as well.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Indian Chef-I like the pickle as well as bhein vegetable. Never tried the pakoras though! Thanks for the votes and sharing.


    • vertualit profile image

      Abdus Salam 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      very very informative hub about health benefits. thanks @rajan jolly for sharing this hub.

      useful voted!!

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

      Rajan I liked eating lotus pickle ( bhey ka aachar) and the pakoras of lotus stem but I did not know they are so beneficial for the human body. Voted 5 stars, up, awesome, sharing here and on twitter.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Radhika for all the votes, read and sharing.

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Lotus is the sacred flower believed to be the seat of Goddess Saraswati. Certainly, it's precious with a rich set of nutrients in all its parts. The picture of the lotus flower is very beautiful.

      Up, useful, beautiful, awesome and interesting. Shared as well.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I do hope you try them. Thanks for reading.

    • swathi180 profile image

      swathi180 4 years ago

      I love makhana sabji in roti. Never tried the lotus stem before, now after reading this hub I will definitely try them.Useful and voted up

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Lizam-thanks for the appreciative comments and for the continued support.

      @Joe-thanks for you kind words. Your visit is always appreciated.

      @Devika-I'm glad this info is useful to you. Thanks for coming by.


      @shining-I'm glad you could glean useful info from the hub. Always a pleasure to see you. Thanks.


      @Peggy-it does look like water lily though they are not related. Thanks for reading, voting and sharing.

      @Jo-good to know it provided you with new info. Appreciate the vist, read and sharing.

      @My Cook Book-thanks for stopping by.

      @Rasma-thanks for sharing. I'm glad you found this informative.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing this interesting and informative hub. I knew about lotus but not about all of the benefits and other things one can do with it. Great videos. Passing this on.

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Excellent hub! Very informative and useful. I have learnt many new things from this hub. Great work! Thanks for the info. I voted it UP

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Wow....another incredible food source, and a fascinating read, I used to think of the Lotus only as a beautiful flower; I now know it is also very nutritious. Thank you for sharing, I'm passing this on.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have only seen dried seed pods of the lotus plant used in dried arrangements. To my knowledge I have never eaten it. Amazing plant since all parts of it are edible. It would seem that it also has many health benefits. That is an amazing thing that seeds as old as 1300 years could still germinate! The photos remind me somewhat of water lilies. Thanks for writing this hub. Up, useful and interesting votes + sharing.

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 4 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Awesome information! It is amazing how many uses this plant has!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Rajan - I found this article so useful and interesting. Although I was very familiar with the pleasing aesthetics of the Lotus plant, I did not know it was edible. What an amazing creation, able to regulate its own temperature. I also was under the misconception that the roots were harvested. Now I know it is the stalk of the plant itself.

      Excellent review on this and filled with interesting info.

      Voting up

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      Amazing. Such a beautiful flower.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The lotus plant sounds a wonder plant, I had no idea of this plant or the benefits, you somehow manage to find something new to write about and I enjoy so very much to read such information. Voted up and interesting!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Now all of this was brand new information for me. I didn't realize, for one thing, that the stems of the lotus plant are edible. The health benefits of lotus are also interesting. You've once again provided your readers with an "encyclopedia in a nutshell" article about another wonderful health and nutrition source. Thanks for consistently doing a marvelous job of research and writing, Rajan! Aloha!


    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

      Rajan, how do you do it? You are such a prolific hubber with so many great tips for health and wellness. Thanks for all you share with us.