In the traditional Hindu system of medicine known as Ayurveda, the pink lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) has a very special place. According to the State of Iowa's official website, Hindus believe that Brahma, the creator God, was born from a pink lotus flower, which is also known as the Indian or sacred pink lotus. Historically, people throughout Asia have used the leaves, flowers, stems and seeds of the pink lotus for a variety of different purposes, both ritual and medicinal.
Pink lotus is well known for the euphoric effects it produces in people who smoke its dried petals and stamens, or who brew those constituents into a tea and drink it. As the author Tao Jones mentions in his article "The Land of the Lotus Smokers," the effects of the pink lotus are predominately cerebral, producing feelings of pleasure that permeate the body.
In addition to generating euphoria, smoking pink lotus and drinking pink lotus concoctions can help calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety. According to the psychoactive substances resource website The Vaults of Erowid, pink lotus is a mild sedative, which means it has a soothing, tranquilizing effect.
Pink lotus is also useful for treating disorders that involve excessive bleeding, such as menorrhagia, or abnormally intense menstrual bleeding. As the National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine (NIAM) notes, the leaves and flowers of pink lotus have hemostatic qualities. This means they are able to slow or stem bleeding in the body.
According to the NIAM, the leaves and flowers of pink lotus are natural astringents, which means they are able to contract body tissues, including skin. For this reason, pink lotus serves as a combatant against hemorrhoids, which are swollen, irritating veins or groups of veins that protrude from the skin around the anus area.
The seeds of the pink lotus are demulcent, which means they are able to soften and relieve irritation of the skin and mucus membranes. Due to its demulcent properties, pink lotus is effective at improving the complexion and texture of skin.
According to the NIAM, by grinding the seeds of the pink lotus in to a powder, and mixing the powder with honey, you can make an effective cough remedy. This is because pink lotus seeds are expectorants, meaning they promote the expulsion of mucus, phlegm and other substances from the respiratory tract.
In addition to using pink lotus for its effects on the mind and body, ancient Indians also used the flower for wrapping food. As NIAM mentions, the petals of the flower have a natural refrigerant effect, making them ideal for keeping perishable foods cool.
The FDA does not regulate or recommend the use of pink lotus. Before beginning any medicinal regimen--natural or otherwise--always consult a doctor.