The lotus flower produces edible seeds, which you can eat cooked or raw. Growers harvest the seeds in August and September, and then dry them in the sun. Lotus seeds are valued for nutritional and healing properties in Chinese medicine, and are used in many recipes as well as herbal formulas. Please note this article is not intended to replace medical advice. Consult your primary health provider before taking alternative supplements.
Lotus seeds are good source of protein, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. They are also low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., director from the Institute for Traditional Medicine, also reports that lotus seeds are a good source of protein and used in soups in traditional Chinese cooking. The website Nutritional Wellness also lists iron and zinc among trace elements included within the seeds.
All lotus seeds contain the anti-aging enzyme L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, which is said to help repair damaged proteins, according to the Kushi Institute, a macrobiotic website. Because of this, many cosmetic companies are now finding ways to include the seeds in anti-aging blends. Daike Tian, in an article on the Water Gardeners International website, states that lotus seeds contain kaempferol, a natural flavonoid which prevents inflammation. Tian claims this this helps repair aging gum tissue.
Dharmananda claims that lotus seeds have astringent properties that have specific benefits to the kidneys, helping to restore vital energy within the body. He states that the seeds are also used to treat sexual conditions. In accordance with Chinese medicine, the sweet and neutral taste of lotus seeds said to nourish the spleen and alleviate diarrhea. Dharmananda goes on to claim that the seeds are traditionally thought to have sedative or calming properties, and are therefore used to treat insomnia or restlessness. Tian claims that within Chinese medicine, the lotus embryo, or heart of the lotus seed, benefits the heart because of its bitter and cooling properties. The bitter components are said to include the isoquinoline alkaloids, which he claims have antispasmodic and calming effects, which he claims can help dilate blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure.
Lotus seeds are often a vital component when combined with other herbs to create traditional formulas within Chinese medicine. Dharmananda lists several on the Institute for Traditional Medicine website. The Sheng Ling Baizhu San blend is well known and is said to help weak digestion and alleviate diarrhea. The formula Qingxin Lianzi Yin can be used for urinary and reproductive disorders, including urinary tract infections and prostatitis.