The Beginning of My Herbal Journey
The first herb I choose to study in my herbalism class was blue lotus. Which is a magical plant that I am still getting acquainted with. But I feel it is an important one for me to know personally because the universe has been screaming at me to start paying attention to my dreams. I have had people tell me this through crystal work, astrology, and through about a million other signs. So I am using blue lotus to help me recall my dreams so I can try to see what the universe is trying to tell me.
Last month I started my herbalism journey and I am now a budding herbalist at the Equinox School of Herbal Studies. I was feeling called to learn more about plants and nature over the past couple of years. And especially heard their call when I was exploring the wild mountains this past summer. This is just the beginning of a long transformational journey. But I have already learned so much about myself and the plants that surround me. I am excited to see where this ancient wisdom and knowledge will lead me to and I am excited to share this incredible knowledge with my community.
Every week in my herbal class we have to write about an herb that calls to us. And I think it would be fun to share my findings on my blog so that those of you that are reading this can start to learn more about the power of plant medicine and forge your own path of wisdom and healing.
Nymphaea caerulea Savigny, Nymphaeaceae, Egyptian lotus, blue lotus.
Why I Wanted To Know More About Blue Lotus:
There are many things I learned about blue lotus recently from an online course about Ancient Plants and Rituals for Beauty, Rejuvenation, & Longevity taught by Adriana Ayales. Blue Lotus was a plant that stuck out to me and I was curious to learn more.
So I decided to buy the flower online to give it a try. Adriana mentioned that blue lotus and cacao is a classic ancient herbal combination used by the Mayans. They had many uses for blue lotus and cacao including using them to enter a deep euphoric state during spiritual ceremonies. (Ayales, 2021)
I am just starting to practice meditation and sometimes I struggle to really let myself commit to the still moment and let my mind calm and expand. So I thought blue lotus sounded like a great ally to deepen my consciousness through meditation and dreams.
There is a lot of mystery behind the history of this sacred plant because there are so many ancient civilizations that worshiped it for ages. Which makes the lotus flowers such a curious family of plants to research.
The lotus in many cultures symbolizes divinity, purity, beauty, and perfection. Many speculate that lotus flowers of various colors are native to India but became most well known and popularized in ancient Egypt. And also traveled to Persia, Asia, and beyond. (Battaglia, 2019)
Ancient Egyptians grew lotus flowers along the Nile river and used all parts of the lotus plant for many reasons. Mainly because of the fragrance and medicinal properties that alter states of consciousness. The blue lotus became a symbol seen in a lot of Egyptian art and symbolized the renewal of life, creation, and the sun rising out of the night. Priests and shamans used drugs like a blue lotus to contact other worlds. (Battaglia, 2019)
The lotus flowers are also symbols often related to Budhissim and Hinduism. In Buddhism the lotus represented the purity of body, speech, and mind. The image of the flower perfectly hovering over the murky waters of material attachments and desires. Each lotus flower represents different aspects of Buddhism. Blue lotus represents the victory of the spirit over wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. (Battaglia, 2019)
In Hinduism the Indian lotus is considered the firstborn of creation and as the magic womb of the universe and the gods. The lotus is a symbol of what is divine and immortal. And the realization of the inner potential that one harnesses by flowing energy through the chakras. (Battaglia, 2019)
Depending on what part of the blue lotus plant you are using there are many medicinal properties that have been researched. And many that are undiscovered. The rhizomes, flowers, seeds, and leaves all have something different to offer.
After studying different properties of the plant researchers have reported various findings. Including the discovery of bioactive compounds with therapeutic potential. Other chemical groups that they have found are alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, triterpenoid, vitamins, and more. (Mukherjee, 2010)
The psychoactive property, apomorphine in the Nymphaea species was used as a hallucinogen in the old world and the new. (Poklis,2016) Watercolor paintings inside Egyptian tombs and papyrus scrolls illustrate blue and white lotus flowers being used in magical religious rites. It was also commonly used as an aphrodisiac in many ancient civilizations. (Bertol,2004)
Today blue lotus is primarily used as a sleep aid and anxiety reliever. (Poklis,2016) It is also well known for its apomorphine. A a psychoactive alkaloid that stimulates dopamine receptors and improves motor function. This can be used to treat erectile dysfunction and Parkinsons. (Bertol,2004)
How I Used Blue Lotus:
The first thing I made with blue lotus was brownies with heirloom cacao. I infused warm coconut milk with blue lotus and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then added this to the brownie batter. With one small brownie, I immediately felt the euphoria start to set in with a deep sense of calm. Yet my brain felt more alert. The feeling wasn’t too overpowering and the brownies became the perfect treat to have at night before bed. Especially after a long stressful day at work.
Next, I tried just blue lotus as a tea. I let a tablespoon steep in hot water for about 15 minutes. After drinking the cup of tea I felt high. My brain felt tingly but I was still fully functional and a little more alert to my surroundings. That night I didn’t remember most of my dreams. But I know this is something I will have to practice for a longer period of time. But I awoke the next morning feeling extremely tired and moody. So I decided to adjust the dosage and give it another try.
Then I tried a teaspoon worth of tea in the morning and it helped me feel relaxed but also invigorated. Ready to take on the day, it was certainly a more appropriate dosage for me. I also made blue lotus steam for my face. Absorbing the herb and steam through my skin made my face feel rejuvenated. My face felt warm afterward. I could feel more blood circulation run through my skin and replenish my cells. My skin felt very smooth and healed. I am curious about the effects this beauty ritual would have on my skin if I did it more often.
Ayales, A. (2021, January). Ancient Plants & Rituals for Beauty, Rejuvenation & Longevity [Video file]. Retrieved January, 2021, from https://theshiftnetwork.com/chc/40663/40754
Battaglia, S. (2019). Lotus The Sacred Flower . Retrieved March 25, 2021, from http://www.salvatorebattaglia.com.au/images/pdf/A4_Pink_Lotus_Info_Sheet.pdf
Bertol, E. (2004, February). Nymphaea cults in ancient Egypt and the New World: A lesson in empirical pharmacology[Scholarly project]. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/014107680409700214
Mukherjee, P. K., Dr. (2010, January). The sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)– phytochemical and therapeutic profile. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1211/jpp.61.04.0001
Poklis, J. (2016, December). The Blue Lotus Flower (Nymphea Caerulea) Resin Used in a New Type of Electronic Cigarette, the Re-Buildable Dripping Atomizer [Scholarly project]. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.2017.1290304?journalCode=ujpd20