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Lotus

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Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, or simply Lotus, is a plant in the monogeneric family Nelumbonaceae. This plant is an aquatic perennial. The lotus is an aquatic plant that grows three to six feet tall. The Flowers are about 12 inches across. Depending on the variety, the color can range from creamy white to pink and deep rose. Both the flowers and leaves grow well above the surface of the water. The flowers last only three days. Lotus is unique in that it bears fruit and flowers at the same time.
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Botanical Names
Nelumbo nucifera
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Padma pushpa Hindi : Kamal Marathi : Kamal Gujarati : Kamal Tamil : Thamarai
Chemical Constituents
Lotus roots have been found to be rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, and manganese, while very low in saturated fat. Lotus seeds have been analyzed to determine their nutritional value. In 100 grams, there are 63-68 grams carbohydrate (mostly starch), 17-18 grams of protein, and only 1.9-2.5 grams fat; water, and minerals mainly sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. As a protein source, lotus seeds are relatively good. The seeds are low in fiber and not a good source of vitamins. Seeds of N. nucifera consist of moisture, 10.6-15.9% protein, crude fat, carbohydrate, crude fibre, ash and energy Minerals of lotus seeds consists of chromium, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese and iron.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is a perennial aquatic crop with stout creeping yellowish white colored rhizomes. It is both an ornamental plant and a dietary staple in Eastern Asia, particularly in China. All parts of N. nuficera are used for various medicinal purposes in oriental medicine. The seed of N. nucifera is used in folk remedies as diuretic, cooling agent, antiemetic and antidote in the treatment of tissue inflammation, cancer, skin disease, leprosy and poisoning. Experimental studies demonstrated that seed of N. nuficera has hepatoprotective and antifertility activities as well as free radical scavenging activity. The leaf of N. nucifera is considered best for ‘over-coming body heat’, and stopping bleeding. It is used as a drug for hematemesis, epistaxis, hemoptysis, hematuria and metrorrhagia in traditional Chinese medicine. The leaf of N. nuficera contains several flavonoids and alkaloids, and is effective in the treatment of hyperlipidaemia in rodents. The 95% ethanol extract of the leaf of N. nucifera was found to display significant anti-HIV activity. The stalk extract of N. nucifera showed anti-pyretic effect, while leaf and stamen extracts showed anti-oxidant effect and strong radical scavenging activity (2). Lotus flower essential oil also possesses medicinal properties it can be used for proliferation and melanogenesis in human melanocytes, and assessed the essential oil components. The essential oil from lotus flower extract stimulates melanogenesis via an increase in microphthalmia-associated transcription factor M (MITF-M) and tyrosinase expression in human melanocytes. In this study, palmitic acid methyl ester was identified as a principal component of the lotus flower, and its effects on melanogenesis were verified (3). The leaf of lotus is bitter, sweet, and neutral and possesses medicinal properties. It considered best for ‘overcoming body heat’. It is used as a drug for hematemesis, epistaxis, hemoptysis, hematuria (diabetic) obesity and metrorrhagia in traditional Chinese medicine. The health benefits of flavonoids are well known and are displayed as a remarkable range of biochemical and pharmacological properties. Scientific study was designed to evaluate hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of flavonoids from lotus leaf (FLL) on alloxan induced diabetic mice.
Health Benefits
Lotus (Nelumbo nuficera) is a perennial aquatic plant with yellow flowers. It is utilized as a dietary staple and also for a variety of medical purposes in Eastern Asia, particularly in China; the seeds of the lotus are utilized in the management of a variety of conditions, including tissue inflammation, poisoning, cancer, and leprosy. The plumule alleviates acute systemic inflammation in vivo and the rhizomes have been shown to have antioxidant properties. The leaves are utilized to stanch bleeding in traditional Chinese medicine, and have also been shown to ameliorate hyperlipidemia in rodents. The stamens of the lotus can be dried and made into a fragrant herbal Chinese tea, and evidence antioxidant effects in kidney homogenates. Previously, palmitic acid as a predominant component of lotus plumule oil was analyzed. Palmitic acid is known to induce melanogenesis. However, there have thus far been no reports specifically addressing the effects of the lotus flower on melanogenesis (3, 5). Especially, it has been applied in Chinese herbal prescriptions to alleviate tissue inflammation, cancer, and liver cirrhosis for a long time. Compared with leaf and seed of N. nucifera, phytochemicals in lotus rhizome and their functional properties were still little studied, though it was noticed for rich antioxidants content and strong antioxidant activity (2, 6). Lotus stamen is sweet, astringent, and neutral, benefiting the heart and kidney. It contains flavonoids and a small amount of alkaloids. Lotus nodes, the rhizome nodes, are astringent and neutral, benefiting the liver, lung, and stomach. All the parts of the lotus have some antihemorrhagic effect, but the rhizome nodes are relied upon for that purpose specifically. The active component for reducing bleeding is not yet established, though quercetin and other flavonoids may play a role by improving capillary wall strength.
Research References
1. Sridhar K.R. and Bhat R. (2007). Lotus – A potential nutraceutical source. Journal of Agricultural Technology 3(1): 143-155. 2. Dongmei Y., Qiushuang W., Leqin K., Jianmei J. and Tiejin Y. Antioxidant activities of various extracts of lotus (Nelumbo nuficera Gaertn) rhizome Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2007;16 (Suppl 1):158-163 3. Songhee J., Nan-Hyung K., Byung-S. K., Ji-Young K. and Ai-Young L. Lotus (Nelumbo nuficera) flower essential oil increased melanogenesis in normal human melanocytes EXPERIMENTAL and MOLECULAR MEDICINE, Vol. 41, No. 7, 517-524, July 2009 4. Taoying Z., Denghong L., Xingyuan L. and Yunbo L. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of flavonoids from lotus (Nelumbo nuficera Gaertn) leaf in diabetic mice Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 3(4), pp. 290-293, April, 2009 5. Chahid B., Aziz H., Akadiri Y., Anne-Marie S., Meriem B., Hocine A., and Naim A K. Zizyphus lotus L. (Desf.) modulates antioxidant activity and human T-cell proliferation Benammar et al. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:54 6. Monica R. L., Ataa S., Rosa T., Usama W. H., Khaled R., Federica M., Natale G. F. and Francesco M. Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activity of Diospyros lotus L. Extract and Isolated Compounds. Plant Foods Hum Nutr (2009) 64:264–270