In the ancient temples of Egypt, there is hardly a monument to be found that doesn’t prominently display the Blue Lotus flower. It’s seen everywhere on pillars, thrones, stone alters, papyrus scrolls, and on the ceremonial headdresses of pharaohs. When they opened Tutankhamun’s tomb, even King Tut’s mummy was covered in what has become known as the Sacred Lily of the Nile. Yet, oddly enough, if you look around Egypt today, it is rare to find this flower growing anywhere.
I was curious to know why the ancients cultivated special lakes and ponds of Blue Lotus and prized it above all other plants. When I asked modern-day Egyptians they told me the lotus flower, known as Nymphaea Caerulea or the Blue Water Lily, symbolized creation and rebirth as it emerged from its primordial waters to bloom once a year for only 3 days. The plant was associated with the sun-god Ra as the bringer of light and the embodiment of the “perfection of wisdom.”
When it was mentioned that the plant had medicinal properties, I went on a search. What I found was quite interesting. The Sacred Blue Lotus is a plant with psychoactive effects. A clearer picture was starting to form. I recalled seeing the plant on a few Egyptian wall depictions—some that looked suspiciously like nude party scenes.
The plant is actually a natural sedative. It contains small amounts of alkaloids highly similar to those used for sedation and anti-convulsant purposes. For thousands of years it was used by the ancient Egyptians as part of religious ceremonies to reach higher levels of consciousness and connect to the Divine. They would steep the Blue Lotus flowers in wine for several weeks and use it as a sacred sacrament. (They say it nullifies the negative effects of alcohol.)
Blue Lotus contains nuciferan (a natural anti-spasmodic) along with aporphine, which will give you feelings of calming euphoria. For that reason, it is a natural anti-anxiety and stress reliever. No wonder it was often used in ancient social gatherings. It has been reported to be useful as an aphrodisiac and to remedy erectile dysfunction (which might explain the ancient nude party scenes). Perhaps its a modern-day Viagra as well. On a more medicinal front, Blue Lotus is used to treat gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea and dyspepsia and aid in sleep. That’s quite a plant!
Users reports that the plant’s calming effect is much like the drug Ecstasy (MDMA), while others report a mild stimulant-like effect with tingling sensations. Some have used Blue Lotus to help relieve depression by opening them to greater examination of what led to their depression. With calming euphoria often comes insight—which is why the ancients prized Blue Lotus effects. It was believed that use would easily release fear and lead to increased states of cosmic connection and ultimate soul growth.
So important was the Blue Lotus that they dedicated the protection of this plant to the God Nefertem, son of Ptah and Sekhmet, who is portrayed as a beautiful young man with a Blue Lotus flower on his head or holding lotuses. During ancient times the plant was widely cultivated in temple lakes and along the Nile, then exported throughout the Mediterranean. This flower was revered in Greece as early as 550 BC, where the sacred sacrament of the Blue Lotus was re-introduced to the then newly formed religion of Isis and Serapis.
This magical elixir was concealed by the early Church for well over 1500 years. It’s true purpose long forgotten until interest re-emerged again in the mid 1800’s when archeologists began asking questions. They too wondered why temple wall carvings showed Blue Lotus flowers laying over earthen jars. No one guessed it was to steep flowers in wine for mind altering use. Some debated it might have inebriant properties, but no one put it to the test until a recent group of Egyptian archeologists decided to measure the effects on two test subjects and see for themselves (see video below).
For those who are wondering, Blue Lotus is not a controlled substance in the United States. The cultivation, sale, and purchase of Nymphaea Caerulea is legal, but it cannot be sold for human consumption. There are three ways people have taken Blue Lotus: smoking it, brewed as tea, or in a tincture after steeping it in wine for several weeks. The full effects kick in after about 20-30 minutes. There are mild withdrawal symptoms from continued use, which tells me it has some addictive qualities. This is why the ancient Egyptians priests reserved its primary use for temple ceremonies, healing and communicating with the Gods.
Now that the secret is out and I have been enlightened, I will never look at another Blue Lotus temple scene in quite the same way ever again.
Blue Lotus Experimentation & Testing: