The blue lotus flower (Nymphaea caerulea) is an aquatic plant native to the Nile in Egypt. Ancient cultures utilized it for spiritual and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. They believed blue lotus contained mystical and psychoactive powers.
Today, a newfound interest in blue lotus’ intoxicating potential and therapeutic uses for sleep, anxiety, and well-being is re-emerging. Still, some people wonder if blue lotus extract is legal and safe.
This article explores the blue lotus flower's history, effects, active ingredients, possible therapeutic benefits, and legality.
What is Blue Lotus? History and Overview
The blue lotus is a lily, a plant that grows in water and produces a beautiful and aromatic flower. Also known as blue Egyptian lotus or blue water lily, it predominantly grows in Egypt and certain parts of Asia. It has a long history of use in ancient Egyptian, Buddhist, and Hindu religions.
Ancient cultures revered the blue lotus flower for its mystical, entheogenic properties. Entheogen is the term for a substance used in a spiritual or shamanic context to induce alterations in perception, mood, and various cognitive processes.
Blue lotus's effects on the mind and body gave it various meanings and uses as it spread across Africa and Asia, where it became famous as a therapeutic and spiritual compound.
Historians say ancient Egyptians used blue lotus during rituals to achieve a sense of euphoria due to its ability to produce feelings of happiness and calmness.
The famous "Book of the Dead" mentions the plant in several chapters concerning magical and religious rituals. The unique blooming pattern of blue lotus petals, which close at night and open throughout the day, represented rebirth and appeared frequently as a symbol in Egyptian art, artifacts, and hieroglyphics.
Historians also point to blue lotus effects having uses in Egypt as a traditional medicine to treat conditions and disorders like anxiety, insomnia, detoxification, and as an aphrodisiac.
Buddhism and Hinduism
The blue lotus flower is also a powerful symbol in Buddhism and Hinduism, representing an aid in meditation and spirituality. These religions associated the blue lotus with purity and enlightenment because the lily emerges untainted from muddy waters, mirroring the human soul's journey toward spiritual realization.
Blue Lotus Effects
Ancient cultures revered blue lotus’ psychedelic and therapeutic powers. Today, an emerging market touts multiple health benefits, such as improved sleep, anxiety relief, sexual performance, and antioxidant activity.
Clinical evidence does not confirm blue lotus’ efficacy in these areas. However, the plant contains natural compounds that could lend to its therapeutic and mind-altering potential.
Additionally, medical case reports confirm five patients using blue lotus products experienced psychoactive effects, including sedation, perceptual disturbances, and, in some cases, bizarre behavior. Four vaped it, and one used it in a beverage. After about four hours in the emergency room, the symptoms resolved, and all patients were discharged.
Ancient cultures realized the blue lotus was psychoactive and could produce a high at high doses. Traditionally, people consumed blue lotus flowers for their euphoric effects.
Research shows blue lotus effects primarily come from aporphine alkaloids, mainly apomorphine and nuciferine. These are alkaloids, natural substances high in nitrogen that affect body functions. They stimulate dopamine receptors, the body’s “feel good” chemical that affects brain functions, such as movement, reward, and emotions.
- Apomorphine is a psychoactive compound that stimulates serotonin receptors and parts of the brain influenced by dopamine. It inhibits the breakdown of dopamine, keeping more of this neurotransmitter available and likely accounting for most of the blue lotus’ psychoactive effects.
- Nuciferine is a compound thought to act as an antipsychotic drug. It induces feelings of calmness through mechanisms that aren’t yet fully understood. These mechanisms might be related to dopamine receptor-blocking activity, which results in sedation and relaxation.
Reports say the blue lotus experience can cause hallucinations and euphoria when used as a liquid in vaping devices or when infusing dried blue lotus flower in alcohol. Some people have drawn comparisons to the high from smoking cannabis.
Cultures have also utilized blue lotus for its calming, tranquilizing effects. It was often an ingredient for easing stress, anxiety, and insomnia in traditional medicine.
Ayurveda, one of the world's oldest medical systems, believes the scent of blue lotus encourages deep breathing and relaxation, making it a regular meditation and sleep aid.
Though no direct research supports these claims, many suspect these effects come from apomorphine and nuciferine. Reports indicate these two compounds can promote calmness and assist with muscle control.
- Apomorphine appears often in clinical settings as anesthesia and to ease sleep problems associated with Parkinson’s disease.
- Nuciferine can relax arteries and ease inflammation, which might contribute to therapeutic effects that help with anxiety, sleep, and muscle performance. Nuciferine also blocks excessive stimulation of dopamine receptors, which can contribute to its abilities as an anxiety reliever and sleep aid.
Along with relaxation, heightened awareness, and altered states of consciousness, blue lotus is known for its potential to induce lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is the phenomenon where the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming, gaining the ability to control the dream's environment or their actions. This state of awareness can provide a unique platform for exploring the subconscious, facing fears, or practicing skills.
Reports of blue lotus’ ability to fuel lucid dreaming stem from ancient Egypt.
Modern research does not prove the blue lotus connection to lucid dreaming. However, anecdotal reports on sites like Reddit support such claims, with some saying the flower unleashed “some of the most vivid and realistic dreams of my life” and “has led to lucidity at times.”
Potential benefits include:
- Recognizing emotions and thoughts
- A better sense of control
- Relief from frequent nightmares
- Help with anxiety, insomnia, and depression
Another blue lotus claims is that it acts as an aphrodisiac, or a substance that enhances sexual desire.
Ancient Egyptians and Mayans used blue lotus as a ritual plant in sexual ceremonies to achieve ecstasy and excitement. The Egyptian Turin Papyrus references its aphrodisiac qualities, depicting gatherings of elite society who shared sacred wines imbued with blue lotus extract.
No research supports blue lotus effects related to increased libido or sexual performance. However, studies show nuciferine is promising to treat muscle-related issues, such as erectile dysfunction. Apomorphine research also indicates it’s effective in treating erectile dysfunction.
Is Blue Lotus Legal?
The DEA does not list blue lotus as a controlled substance, making it federally legal to buy in the United States. The only exception is Louisiana, which bans all psychoactive plant substances, including blue lotus.
Blue lotus products are available in specialty holistic wellness stores, vape shops, or online, from dried plant material to teas and extracts. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved blue lotus for human consumption and does not regulate blue lotus products. Lack of oversight makes it essential for consumers to buy from trusted brands that verify safety and potency through third-party lab testing.
Common Questions about Blue Lotus
How long till you feel the effects of blue lotus?
Reports say blue lotus effects occur about 15-20 minutes after drinking a blue lotus tea or alcohol infusion and almost immediately after smoking or vaporizing.
How long do the effects of blue lotus last?
Most say the blue lotus experience lasts two to four hours.
How do you get noticeable effects from blue lotus?
Similar to cannabis, low blue lotus doses are better for euphoria and relaxation, while higher doses will result in more intense psychoactive effects. Smoking blue lotus can produce the most noticeable effects compared to drinking blue lotus tea.
Blue lotus is a fascinating flower with chemical properties that give it diverse powers. Ancient Egyptians used it in spiritual ceremonies and for medicinal benefits. Today, people are once again experimenting with blue lotus for psychoactive experiences. They’re also ingesting the flower at lower doses for issues like anxiety, sleep, and more. Blue lotus is available in many forms, including teas, beverages, extracts, and dried flowers for smoking and vaping.