Antihistamine properties of lotus
More than just a beautiful adornment, Asia’s revered lotus flower offers up several compounds with antihistamine, mast cell stabilising and anti-inflammatory properties. Best of all, the lotus is highly edible, tasty and fairly easy to find frozen or as a tea. References and links to lotus suppliers at the end of the post.
The lotus flower, Nelumbo Nucifera, has long been used in traditional medicine from Egypt to Asia. In recent years numerous studies are finding the leaves and root may be useful in treating or preventing various inflammatory and allergy/histamine related conditions.
Please remember, most studies using natural compounds are conducted on animals or in test tubes, not humans, using highly concentrated extractions. Always consult a doctor before adding anything new to your diet.
Authors of a study on animals published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal find that a lotus leaf extract improved IgE level (this is a marker of allergy reactions), reduced scratching and prevented mast cells from degranulating – the process by which immune cells release histamine and other inflammation. They conclude that lotus leaf extract may treat atopic dermatitis.
A study in Life Sciences found that lotus extract suppressed the progression of activated inflammatory cell production of interleukins 2, 4 and 10. Interleukin is one of a number of inflammatory cytokines either contained within mast cells or created when they rupture, usually in response to a need for healing.
Research published in the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology finds kaempferol in lotus prevents histamine release from mast cells, and another in the Journal of Food and Science Technology backs this with results showing lotus extracts can inhibit allergic reactivity.
Kaempferol is a bioflavonoid in plant foods with anti-viral properties. It has been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Foods high in this bioflavonoid include apples, grapes, green tea, onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, squash, cucumbers, rosemary, lettuce, green beans, peaches, blackberries, raspberries and other higher histamine foods. Aloe vera and moringa oleifera also contain it.
Other tidbits of interest are a study in the Planta Medica journal study confirming the use of lotus to burn fat and induce weight loss, as it’s used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
A study in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine shows lotus seeds preventing inflammation induced pancreatic toxicity relating to diabetes (in animal studies).
You’ll find links to lotus suppliers below….
“You can’t work your way up to a therapeutic dose by eating your medicine.”
I’ve heard variations of this for years. While indeed, it would be difficult/impossible to reach the saturation of active constituents – scientific studies use extracts in fairly high doses much of the time – eating a diet comprised entirely of these highly antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods has made an incredible difference in my life. In fact, I’ve known about the properties of lotus for years – you’ll find a tasty recipe in the Anti-Cookbook.What helped me heal (in order of importance – in my view):
- Retraining my brain for healing – check out my recent workshop for more on this.
- Eating a diet made up almost entirely of foods containing antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Anti-Inflammatory exercise like yoga, practiced several times a week (read more about histamine and exercise in this post).
- Carefully selected (few) supplements.
- Doing my utmost to be at peace with whatever I can manage, even if it’s as simple as being able to get out of bed that day. It’s amazing when I stopped attaching importance to accomplishments that I was suddenly able to do more than I had in years.
Lotus also contains quercetin and rutin, two of the mast cell stabilising bioflavonoids found in the supplement I take daily. Stabilising mast cells may stop them releasing inflammatory molecules like histamine, prostaglandins and others, which is useful to those with inflammatory conditions like histamine intolerance, mast cell activation and others.