A Mystical Plant

mistyleafStarred Page By mistyleaf, 15th May 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/c57e5in5/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Food

The lotus flower is a symbol of beauty and purity. In Japan, Lotus root is considered an auspicious food that makes it essential in New Year dishes.

Lotus Plant

Lotus is an aquatic perennial rhizome that grow in the mud at the bottom of shallow ponds, lakes, lagoons, marshes and flooded fields. Its large, peltate leaves rise above the water surface on 1 to 2 m long petioles. The cup-like leaves have a central dot which collects drops of water. This central, circular marking shows in the flower as well. Dew, water droplets also collect around the edges of the leaves and pods. Each individual stem of leaf and flower rises separately from the root. The stems are hollow but extremely tough on the outside, with small, rather pointed dots along the entire length of the stem.
Lotus flowers differ markedly from those of water lilies, most notably through the ice-cream cone-shaped receptacle in the center, into which numerous free carpels are sunken.
Each individual stem of leaf and flower rises separately from the root. The stems are hollow but extremely tough on the outside, with small, rather pointed “dots” along the entire length of the stem.
The lotus plant is a fully edible food and is widely used in Oriental medicine. Flowers come in pink, yellow or white, with many folds.
It is considered to be one of the most ancient plants in existence. Evolutionary biologist Jane Shen-Miller of the University of California, found that lotus seeds nearly 500 years old were still able to germinate and flourish after such a long time.
Lotus has been in cultivation in China for more than 3,000 years, and has been grown not only for its cultural and ornamental value, but also for medicinal uses.
It was appreciated in Japan for the first time in Nara Period associated with Buddhism. Edible varieties since the Kamakura period were introduced repeatedly by the Zen monk Dogen from China and became the basis of the current native species spread throughout the country. Nowadays is widely cultivated in Japan

Spiritual Symbolism

Lotus has deep religious meaning to Hindus and Buddhists, to whom the lotus flower symbolizes beauty, purity, transcendence, enlightenment, rebirth and fertility. In India, the lotus flower is considered to be of divine origin and is viewed as sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. Buddha was said to sleep on a lotus six months of the year, and Shambala (Buddhist heaven) is sometimes represented as a field of flowering sacred lotuses. In Hinduism the sacred lotus represents the sun, and is associated with mother goddesses as a symbol of fertility
The idea of enlightenment is symbolized by the life cycle of the lotus plant because it begins its life humbly in the mud of ponds but soon grows and sends stems and flowers well above the surface of the water (up to 50cm), thus showing the path of spiritual enfoldment. It also has unusual flowering habits. Its flowers open at dawn and close at about 2pm. Some lotuses are even known to open up at night and close during the day, ignoring the normal sunlight hours favored by the majority of flowering plants, and effectively transcending normal time cycles.
The blooming in the morning and folding in at dusk represent rebirth and regeneration. The chakras of the body are all represented with a different lotus flower per chakra.

Lotus Root

The enlarged underground root of the lotus is edible. It is called renkon in Japanese. Lotus roots form a series of long, smooth tubers in the mud, a bit like a large string of sausages. Tubers are usually 15-25 cm long, although they can grow much larger. Both the stems and the tubers have large, hollow air passages that run through them – this is how the roots can survive growing in still, muddy water. The tubers are usually harvested at the end of summer.
Number of holes in the rhizome is usually one in the middle, nine around, and a total of 10. Holes in the lotus root, has created a variety of culinary ingenuity. Meat, mustard and cod roe stuffing make a tasteful look.
In China, Japan and India, for example, the rhizomes are roasted, pickled, candied or sliced and fried as chips. A paste made from the nutlets is used as a filling in ‘mooncakes’, traditional Chinese pastries. The young leaves, leaf stalks and flowers are eaten as vegetables in India.
It is considered a food that brings good luck so that it’s indispensable to auspicious occasions in Japan.

Lotus Root Dishes

Chirashi Sushi is served on New Year in Japan. Thin slices of sweet and sour lotus roots are used as topping.
How to make a flower design lotus root in cooking

Lotus Root Chips Recipe

Ingredients

Sliced Lotus roots
Frying oil
Vinegar
Salt pepper
Water

Direction

1 Peel the lotus roots and slice into thin rounds.
2 Put a little vinegar in the water and soak the sliced lotus roots.
3 Drain the water and wipe each slice well with kitchen towel.
4 Heat the frying oil. Fry the lotus root slices until they become hard and golden brown.
5 Transfer the fried lotus in the bat and sprinkle salt pepper.

Uses

The rhizomes or leaves are used with other herbs to treat sunstroke, fever, diarrhea, dysentery, dizziness, bleeding, hemorrhoids. The whole plant is used as an antidote to mushroom poisoning.
The embryonic seeds are used for high fever, cholera (Chinese), nervous disorders and insomnia.
The seeds are used to stop vomiting, relieve indigestion and diarrhea or just as tonic.
The pounded petals of flowers are used for syphilis, for cosmetic unguents (Java).
The flower stalk with other herbs is used to treat bleeding from the uterus.
The pods contain alkaloids that stop bleeding.
The juice taken from lotus roots improves the production of breast milk
The Sacred Lotus is often steeped for a week in wine (or other alcoholic beverages), or made into tea. The effects are mild sedation with a pleasant ecstatic sensual feeling. It is often employed as an aphrodisiac








Images credits

Floral essence- http://lotusessence.webs.com/fotolia_2248081_xs.jpg
Renkon chips- http://recipe.hananaya.jp/images/renkon_chips.JPG
Chirashi sushi- http://bebeloveokazu.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/img_8131.jpg
Lotus Roots- http://tenka99.com/kiken/renkon02.jpg
Buddha- http://www.energy-healing-info.com/image-files/buddhism-lotus-flower-symbol-2.jpg
http://img.ehowcdn.com/article-new/ds-photo/getty/article/41/76/87452876_XS.jpg


Thank you. You can check my other articles here mistyleaf

Tags

Buddhism, Dogen, Enlightenment, Hinduism, Lotus, Lotus Flower, Lotus Leaf, Lotus Pond, Purity, Rhizome

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author avatar mistyleaf
I'm self-employed as a translator/interpreter. ' I also write at <a
href="http://www.expertscolumn.com">Expertscolumn.com</a> '

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Comments

author avatar mistyleaf
15th May 2012 (#)

Thank you very much Steve. Welcome back.

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author avatar shallimarRose
15th May 2012 (#)

Wow Misty Love this article.. congrats on the well deserved star...The lotus root looks somewhat like swiss-cheese in the sushi salad... very informative and great pics..xo

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author avatar mistyleaf
15th May 2012 (#)

Thank you sR. I'm happy you like this article.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th May 2012 (#)

What a lovely article, thanks mistyleaf. I may add, there is a meditative practice, popular both In Hinduism and Buddhism, called Padmasana - lotus position. It is a cross legged meditatitive method where the feet are placed on the opposite thighs - siva

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author avatar mistyleaf
15th May 2012 (#)

Oh..I see. Thank you for adding new information, Siva. I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

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author avatar Tess Irons
15th May 2012 (#)

This a great article. It's very informative with beautiful pictures. This is a super star page.

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author avatar mistyleaf
15th May 2012 (#)

Thank you for your comment.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
16th May 2012 (#)

Lotus is a beautiful flower and it is the national flower of India. I did not know lotus could be used as food. Thank you misty for this nice post.

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author avatar mistyleaf
16th May 2012 (#)

Yeah, I forgot to mention that in this article. Lotus roots taste like water chestnuts. Thanks for your comment Pradeep.

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
16th May 2012 (#)

Brilliantly written article. Thank you for sharing misty.

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author avatar mistyleaf
16th May 2012 (#)

Thank you Md.

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author avatar Retired
16th May 2012 (#)

Truly wonderful Plant

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author avatar mistyleaf
16th May 2012 (#)

Thank you Tony.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
18th May 2012 (#)

You have an art of presenting the most interesting and beautiful pages always a joy to read, thanks mistyleaf...:0)

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author avatar mistyleaf
20th May 2012 (#)

Thank you for your beautiful comment, Delicia. I am busy till the end of June and I feel sad because I have no time to write a new article. Thank for dropping by.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th May 2012 (#)

wonderfilled as are all your pages Misty dear...have been working at my brother's office so not on wiki for a week...glad to be back...

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author avatar mistyleaf
20th May 2012 (#)

On Cn, welcome back dear. Thank you for always dropping by.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
19th May 2012 (#)

I adore the lotus flower. It has so wrapped up in mysticism - in ancient religions the world over. This is a stunning piece. I found you through your brother's tribute to you. Always been a huge fan of Buzz (Jimmy) - and now I've found you! hope you'll like my work too if you'd care to take a look.

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author avatar mistyleaf
20th May 2012 (#)

Thank you Sheila for dropping by. I have read one of your articles a while ago. I will read more when I'm not busy anymore.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
19th May 2012 (#)

That's supposed to be ' It IS so wrapped up...' - sorry: my English failed me! And I'm English!!!

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author avatar Asif Mughal
5th Jun 2012 (#)

Great articles with great information and presentation. I love to write this way. Great Work.

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author avatar mistyleaf
7th Jun 2012 (#)

Thank you. Welcome to wikinut.

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author avatar Dr PN Ravindran
2nd May 2016 (#)

Dear Ms Mistyleaf
A request. I am writing a book on Sacred lotus. I wish to include the picture of golden Buddha with a lotus in the book. Kindly accord permission and send me a high quality photo. Your help will be properly acknowledged.
Regards
Ravi
Please replymail. If the copyright is not with you please give me the source.

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