Lotus leaves, also known as folium nelumbinis and He Ye herb, has long been characterized as a good herb for weight loss in TCM. For modern people who want to lose weight and stay slim, lotus leaf tea is a very good choice as it can simultaneously burn excess fat, eliminate constipation, and induce diuresis. What’s more, its health benefits don’t end here. Besides served as diet pills, it could provide even more to women plagued by obesity and the middle-aged adult who are willing to prevent adult diseases. This is simply because it contains a wide range of alkaloids. These active substances are known for their significant physiological activity, which can significantly reduce blood fat and fight against virus attack. Last but not least, it is also the secret ingredient in some Asian cuisine.
What is lotus leaf?
Medicinally it means the dried leaves of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn., a plant in the family nymphaeaceae. The harvesting time is usually on summer and autumn because the quality then is the best. Next, they need to be dried in the sun with humidity below 30 percent, remove the petiole, folded into a semicircular shape or folding fan, and then dried thoroughly.
Its plant is a perennial aquatic herb. Fleshy roots grow breadthways, with inflated nodes, many longitudinal vent holes, and exogenous whisker-like adventitious roots. Leaves grow from nodes and expose on the surface of the water. Stout, cylindrical, and spiny petiole grows in the middle of back of blade. Blade is round, 25 to 90cm in diameter, and with entire or slightly wavy margin. Flowers, 10 to 20cm in diameter, grow solitarily at the top of pedicel. Pedicel, scattered with small spines, is as long as or slightly longer than petiole. After flowering it forms seedpod of the lotus, which is in the shape of inverted cone, 5 to 10cm in diameter, with 20-30 holes, each hole containing a fruit. Nuts are oval or ovate and 1.5 to 2.5cm long. Leathery pericarp is hard and dark brown when it is ripe. Seeds are ovate or elliptic, 1.2 to 1.7cm long, and with red or white testa. Flowering period is from June to August and the fruiting period is from August to October. Ecological habitat is ponds, lakes or paddy fields. Now it grows in the wild or is cultivated.
Main chemical constituents include roemerine, nuciferine, nornuciferine, armepavine, pronuciferine, N-nornuciferine, anonaine, liriodenine, asimilobine, N-norarmepavine, lirinidine, quercetin, leucocyanidin, leucocyanidin, nelunboside, oxalic acid, succinic acid, malic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, gluconic acid, tannins, and so on.
Lotus leaves health benefits
As mentioned previously, lotus leaf is a very good diet herb thanks to its diuretic and laxative effect. This is a common plant that has magical medicinal use in herbal remedies. From the point of view of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is bitter in flavor and astringent and neutral in properties. And it covers 5 meridians like heart, liver, spleen, gall, and lung. Vital functions include eliminating summer-heat by cooling, sending up the lucid yang, dissipating blood stasis, and stopping bleeding. Main lotus leaves uses are polydipsia due to summer-heat and damp, headache, dizziness, splenasthenic abdominal distention, diarrhea, vomiting blood, blood in stool, vaginal hemorrhage, and postpartum persistent flow of lochia. Recommended dosage is from 3 to 10 grams (dried lotus leaf), 15 to 30 grams (fresh lotus leaves), or 3 to 6 gram (charred) in decoction, pills, and powder. And some useful herbal formulas are as follows for reference only.
Proven lotus leaf herbal remedies
1. Si Sheng Wan. Si Sheng Wan, from Fu Ren Liang Fang (Good Remedies for Women), is usually formulated for vomiting blood and nosebleed. Other herbal ingredients include Ai Ye (Mugwort), Ce Bai Ye (Biota Leaves), and Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia).
2. He Ye San. This formula comes from Tai Ping Sheng Hui Fang (Taiping Holy Prescriptions for Universal Relief). It is basically designed for postpartum anemic fainting. Other herbs are Pu Huang (Cattail Pollen), Gan Cao (Licorice Root), and Rehmannia.
3. Zhao Tai San. Zhao Tai San, chosen from San Yin Fang (Three Causes Formulary), is primarily made for typhoid fever during pregnancy. The other herb is Bang Fen Hua.
4. He Ye Gao Ben Tang. This prescription, combining with Gao Ben (Rhizoma Ligustici), is from Zheng Zhi Zhun Sheng (The Level-line of Patterns & Treatment). It is regularly made for sores on leg and shin.
5. He Ye Tang. This formula, used along with Guan Zhong (Dryopteris Root), is mainly made for dermatitis rhus.
Popular lotus leaf recipes
The lotus leaf tea is easy on the eyes, faintly sweet scented, and refreshing. More importantly, its tea, like lotus leaf and cassia seed tea, can be of great help on weight loss. So, its dish is something you just can’t miss. And here are some popular recipes and cooking tips for you.
1. Lotus leaves chicken recipe. Ingredients: chicken 1500g, fresh lotus leaves 200g, tomato sauce 20g, salt 10g, and star anise 10g. Directions: 1. Remove the large skeleton of the chicken, cut it in half, and spread tomato sauce, cooking wine, salt, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, and star anise on the surface of the chicken; 2. Put the chicken into frying-pan and fry to turn golden brown, fish it out, and then place it into another pot to cook until soft; 3. Wrap the well-cooked chicken with a lotus leaf and this dish is ready to serve.
2. Lotus leaf wraps (lo mai gai) recipe. Ingredients: lotus leaves 2, peanuts 20, goji berry 20, jujube fruit 5, glutinous rice 100g, sticky rice 70g, chicken 200g, and appropriate amount of oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Directions: 1. Soak peanut and glutinous rice in water for 3 hours, add sticky rice in and continue for another 1 to 2 hours, and soak lotus leaves for at least 3 hours too; 2. Chop the chicken and then marinate them well with a little bit soy sauce, oil, salt and pepper; 3. Flavor the soaked rice with salt and peanut oil; 4. Clean the lotus leaf, lie it on chopping block, put in right amount of glutinous rice, chicken, jujube, goji berry, and peanut, and wrap into square; 5. Place them on bamboo steamer and steam for 30 minutes. Period!
3. He Ye Fan recipe. Ingredients: rice 500g, lard 100g, pork lean meat 200g, shrimp 150g, oil 30g, pepper 3g, cooking wine 5g, salt 5g, starch 10g, and lotus leaf 50g. Directions: 1. Wash the rice, add in lard and right amount of water, place it in the tray and steam thoroughly, let cool, stir it well with salt and pepper; 2. Cut pork into small pieces, add in oil, salt, cooking wine, pepper, and starch, blend them into stuffing, mix the stuffing with the rice, wrap and steam them about 5 minutes with high-temperature fire, and take them out. That is it!
Lotus leaves side effects and contraindications
Lotus leaves are extremely safe to be consumed. That’s to say, long-term use of this herb won’t lead to any drug interactions and adverse reactions. As you know, its root, namely lotus root, is edible and consumed as a common vegetable. No wonder the AHPA listed it in class 1. And TCM believes that it shouldn’t be used in patients suffering from patterns of deficiency and exuberant pathogen in the upper energizer.