COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)
Lotus Leaf (He Ye)
One of the most common historical benefits of drinking lotus leaf tea is a reduction in the number and severity of dental cavities. This effect has been recently empirically proven, suggesting that oral rinses made with lotus leaf extracts may be practical tools for maintaining and improving dental hygiene.
Other recent research has demonstrated that taking lotus leaf supplements by mouth may have significant, complex effects on fat storage and burning. This means that oral lotus leaf supplementation may be a practical alternative therapy to treat obesity (and to supplement other diet and exercise plans for managing weight loss). Similarly, oral lotus leaf supplements may help slow or stop the progression of diabetic nephropathy (diabetes-related kidney damage) when the user’s diabetes is related to a high-fat diet.
Novel research into the topical uses of lotus leaf extracts has shown that these kinds of products have significant potential for use as anti-wrinkle and whitening agents (for both skin and teeth). Other novel research has been focused on assessing the potential for lotus leaf extracts to help alleviate the symptoms of asthma by relaxing abnormal contractions of the trachea. This finding is an extension of the existing anecdotal knowledge of lotus leaf’s muscle-relaxing properties impacting the smooth muscle within the gastrointestinal tract.
In Chinese medicine, lotus leaf is categorized as an herb that drains heat and resolves toxicity. It is classified as warm to neutral, bitter and sweet and primarily affects the Heart, Liver, and Spleen meridians.
PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION
Lotus leaf is most commonly available for purchase already having been dried and sliced or crushed. You can also purchase it in pre-made pills, powders, and capsules. That said, the bioactive compounds in well-made teas and aqueous extracts using the raw plant parts likely are more bioavailable during digestion than those in the pills. Lotus leaf is also able to be eaten raw if desired.
Lotus leaf is generally considered extremely safe for use. With regard to topical applications, creams, and serums containing lotus leaf extract have not been associated with any significant side effects or skin irritation. Oral use of lotus leaf supplements has proven similarly innocuous, though there is insufficient data available to definitively identify potential side-effects and contraindications for use. Anyone interested in using lotus leaf or other herbal supplements should consult with a physician, certified herbalist or other qualified healthcare professional.
Ahn, Jong Hoon, et al. “Chemical Constituents from Nelumbo Nucifera Leaves and Their Anti-Obesity Effects.” Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, vol. 23, no. 12, 2013, pp. 3604–3608., doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2013.04.013.
Chen, Huan-Wei, et al. “Nelumbo Nucifera Leaves Extract Attenuate the Pathological Progression of Diabetic Nephropathy in High-Fat Diet-Fed and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.” Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, vol. 27, no. 3, 2019, pp. 736–748., doi:10.1016/j.jfda.2018.12.009.
Kim, Tagon, et al. “Nelumbo Nucifera Extracts as Whitening and Anti-Wrinkle Cosmetic Agent.” Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering, vol. 28, no. 2, 2010, pp. 424–427., doi:10.1007/s11814-010-0357-6.
Lee, Haeng-Eun, et al. “Anticariogenic Activity of Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Extract in Oral Healthcare.” Technology and Health Care, vol. 27, no. 5, 2019, pp. 487–497., doi:10.3233/thc-191732.
Yang, Guang-Ming, et al. “Isolation and Identification of a Tribenzylisoquinoline Alkaloid from Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn, a Novel Potential Smooth Muscle Relaxant.” Fitoterapia, vol. 124, 2018, pp. 58–65., doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2017.10.020.
Yang, Xiao, et al. “Nelumbo Nucifera Leaves Extracts Inhibit Mouse Airway Smooth Muscle Contraction.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 17, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1674-7.