The Beauty and Symbolism of the Lotus

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The lotus is a magnificent flowering aquatic plant that has been cultivated for thousands of years. It has been displayed and offered for worship in temples and gardens and used as food and medicine. The plant possesses an extremely strong life force and comes in many varieties with flowers of different hues: the snow lotus grows high in the cold, snow-capped mountains; the water lotus, also called the “sleeping lotus,” is the one we are most familiar with: it grows in muddy ponds and the base of the flower lies at the same level as the water’s surface.

The entire lotus plant is a store of treasure. Every part of it, flower, leaf, seed, stem, to its very root, can be used for medicinal purposes. It strengthens the spleen; removes edemas; cools the body by drawing down body heat; retains “Jing” (semen or essence). It balances the blood, liquefying clots in blood vessels, delays bleeding and eliminates toxins. It transforms moisture and expels cold. It has the effect of nourishing the Yin aspects and is beneficial to the middle Qi thus pacifying the ”Shen” (energy or spirit) and fortifying the kidneys. The seeds and roots can be eaten as excellent health-enhancing foods. It is said that Confucian scholars kept leaves among their books to ward off worms.