There has been a great deal of misinformation repeated on the Internet regarding the chemical analysis of this plant. As of this date, we do not believe there has ever been a complete analysis performed on the Blue Lotus.
According to Shaman Australis, (2009), "The story of the sacred Blue Lotus makes a mockery of modern science. It has been known for several years now that this species is psychoactive to some degree, but little concrete knowledge exists in the scientific arena and the psychoactive effect is vigorously disputed by conservative scientists. So a couple of wiseguy pharmacologists decided to make a name for themselves by researching the active constituents and making a documentary about it. It is shown on the discovery channel and other media, and once you've experienced the effects of Blue Lotus you will understand just how ridiculous their research is. In years to come it will be better suited for the comedy channel.”
“First they compared the Mass Spectrometer analysis of a mummy with that of some Blue Lotus flowers with the result that they matched. This indicated that the mummy had consumed Sacred Blue Lotus not long before his death. They also looked for narcotics in the mummy and found none. The substances found were listed as phosphodiastrates, bioflavonoids and phytosterols. The first is similar to viagra, the second group is common in many fresh foods, and the last is similar to the known active constituent of Ginko biloba. At no stage in the research did they bother trying to consume a flower or an extract and this is where one has to wonder what the purpose of science is if it only serves to prove the absolute. The result of their expensive and drawn out study was that the "mild" activity of sacred Blue Lotus is due to the phytosterols. It is obvious that this conclusion can be dismissed as poor science, poor logic and above all poor representation of the lily itself.
Blue Lotus was always assumed to contain nuciferine (1,2-dimethoxy-aporphine) just like Nelumbo nucifera, but this does not appear to be so according to the MS data. Aporphine and Apomorphine (6a-beta-aporphine-10,11-diol) have also been excluded. Essentially this means that at this time no one knows what is causing the Blue Sacred Lotus to be an inebriant.
More research is needed, but according to Kandeler and Ullrich, "Nymphaeas have long had a particular significance as intoxicants for shamans because of their alkaloid and glycoside content. They contain compounds similar to atropin and papaverin (nupharin, nymphalin, ellagic acid) (Roth et al., 1994)."
The Blue Lotus flower most likely does contains a mild psychoactive, or psychotropic chemical substance that acts upon the central nervous system, where it affects brain function, resulting in changes in perception, mood, consciousness, and cognition. However, these are slight enough to not warrant legal restriction in the U.S.
These substances may be used recreationally, to purposefully alter one's consciousness, as entheogens for ritual, spiritual, and/or shamanic purposes, as a tool for studying or augmenting meditation, and for spiritual or therapeutic reasons.
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