The beautiful blooms of the lotus flower produces an edible seed, which, in traditional Chinese medicine is said to be beneficial for the heart, tone the spleen and kidneys, prevent insomnia, and calm the nerves. Lotus seeds have astringent properties, which makes them helpful in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea and improving appetite. In Buddhist traditions, the “Sacred Lotus” is a symbol of vitality and purity.
Research Indicates Lotus Seeds Have Remarkable Anti-Aging Compounds
In a UCLA study conducted by plant physiologist Jane Shen-Miller, an ancient Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) seed germinated after lying dormant for 1,200 years; the oldest seed ever found. The seed was discovered in the 1920s in a deposit of Lotus fruits in a dry lake bed at Pulantien, China. It is “the oldest demonstrably viable and directly dated seed ever reported,” according to the report in the American Journal of Botany. The seedling has been growing since March 1994, and continues to demonstrate “robust” growth.
L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase (MT), an important enzyme that participates in the repair of age-damaged proteins, is present in all lotus seeds, and was found to be present in this ancient seed. The enzyme, the shape and physiological characteristics of lotus fruits, and the oxygen-free environment of the sedimentary strata in which the lotus fruits had been preserved, all contributed to the exceptional longevity of the seeds, the authors concluded.
Because of the potent anti-aging enzyme in lotus seeds, researchers have been finding ways to use lotus seeds in modern cosmetic anti-aging products.
We suggest you enjoy their benefits by using these tasty seeds in dishes like the macro “deviled egg” recipe above, or when you make brown rice, try substituting about a quarter of the amount of rice with lotus seeds and cook as you would for brown rice. Remember to always take out the bitter green sprout before cooking.
[Shen-Miller, J., Mary Beth Mudgett, J. William Schopf, Steven Clarke, and Rainer Berger. 1995. Exceptional Seed Longevity and Robust Growth: Ancient Sacred Lotus From China. American Journal of Botany, 82(11):1367-1380.
Chang, Kenneth. November 18, 1995. Ancient lotus seeds may hold anti-aging secrets. Austin American Statesman, A22.]