Continuing with our series on rare and exotic oneirogens, we take a look at Nelumbo Nucifera and it's potential to expand your awareness of the dream state
Blue Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) or blue lily is a flower that has had a majestic stretch of limelight back through thousands of years of history and across cultures as varied as the Egyptian, Mayan, Syrian and Thai.
It’s a flower of such beauty, intoxicating scent and inebriating effect that it has spread from culture to culture like a virtual wildfire.
And it has rightfully earned it place in the history books as one of the most wonderful and significant flowers we have access to.
Physically, it’s a small, round, blue, flowering species that floats atop lakes or other bodies of water. The flower buds rise to the surface over a period of two to three days. When they're ready, they open in the morning around 9:30am and close in the early afternoon around 3:00pm
So in this article we’ll dive into everything you might want to know about this ancient sacrament and touch on how it can potentially aid our lucid dreaming practice.
What's the difference between Blue Lotus and Blue Lily?
First of all, there’s a really important note to make on the difference between blue lotus and blue lily.
There’s a lot of confusion on the web between Blue Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and the Blue Lily (Nymphaea caerulea). Some sites use the terms interchangeably, but they are quite different flowers in appearance and effect.
It’s double confusing, because in India they colloquially refer to what’s scientifically known as the Blue Lotus species as the Blue Lily!
And this "double nomenclature" has kind of spread throughout the world (I guess Lotus sounds a bit more catchy than Lily?).
So tell us about the history of Blue Lotus
The most famous of the ancient societies that revered the blue lotus was that of the ancient Egyptians.
It was basically the ‘party drug’ of Ancient Egypt. Imagine, if you will, secret temple gatherings of elite society - sharing sacred wines specially imbibed with blue lotus extract. These parties, much as the rest of Egyptian society, were sexually themed. The famed aphrodisiac qualities of the blue lotus led no doubt to religiously charged orgies.
You can see evidence of this in countless murals, papyrus and temples throughout Egypt.
Yet, the place of the flower in Egyptian society extended beyond its use as a high.
The typical woman in the street would wear beautiful blue lotus flowers in her hair or headdress as a fashion statement.
In fact, the significance of the flower is such that it is even cited in the Egyptian Book of The Dead – one of the most important historical artefacts that remains from the proud civilisation.
Ancient blue lotus flowers were also found scattered over Tutankhamun’s body, when he was un-casked in 1922.
And to top off the list, blue Lotus was exported by the ancient Greeks when they stumbled across it (wouldn’t you?) - it’s actually thought to be mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey itself!
Blue Lotus Effects
The Blue Lotus is a subtle plant and the effects are not as heavy as you might expect from such a legendary substance.
Although you can quite imagine that soaked with some good wine, it would certainly have given a kick to those old Egyptian parties!
The blue lotus high provides a mild sense of tranquillity and euphoria, along with an altered sense of awareness. Its effects famously combine very well with wine, which illuminate the social and euphoric aspect. Or, you can take the blue lotus alone and concentrate on its ability to enhance meditative and introspective practices.
Some users also report a pleasant feeling of warmth around the head and upper body and a dream like feeling – as if the life itself were a waking dream.
Let’s take a look at a couple of trip reports from erowid.org
After that, I had ordered a potent resin extract of the Nymphea caerulea plant. I proceeded to smoke the material and found that it produced an Opium-like high. The euphoria from this method was more pronounced and enjoyable being by myself at the time. I made the rest of the resin into a tea when I got home, and I spent the rest of the night admiring the mild psychedelic effects which I would characterize as a cross between the dream state of Opium and the mild visual effects of Cannabis.
With most Nelumbo nucifera products, I have found the effects to start after about 15-20min., and are immensely pleasurable. The euphoria isn't unlike that produced from opiates, but it isn't quite like it either. It reminds me more of the state of mind produced from MDMA with a sedative effect similar to that of the benzodiazepines. There are wonderful effects in the area of sensuality and the erotic. Not to be too descriptive, but the first time I was involved with my current girlfriend in a passionate way was under its influence. I was enjoying licking the absolute oil from her body. So, the plant is certainly an aphrodisiac.
To summarize the effects that I experience from blue lotus:
- mildly sedative
- relaxing and calming
- mild analgesic
- mild mood lift/euphoria
- enhancement of tactile sensations
- enhancement of dream states
- pleasant synergy with most substances, especially marijuana, alcohol and psychedelics
- I find there is no comedown, after effects, or psychological/physiological dependency to speak of, making blue lotus one of the safest and most pleasant plants that I know of.
The first effects were felt about 15 minutes drinking all of the tea. I felt distinctively more relaxed, but not tired.
I was watching meditation nature videos (which I have done many times before) and I noticed how the colours were especially beautiful. There were brief moments when I felt as though I was somewhat part of the nature pictures in the video, but was very much in touch with the reality that I was sitting in my basement.
About 15 minutes later, I went upstairs with my wife. I was unusually talkative and felt more affectionate toward her. I had the desire to stroke her hair and noticed (more so than usual) how beautiful she was. We sat in bed and talked and laughed for about 20 minutes as I stroked her hair and body, which was also very unusual. We then made love for about 40 minutes, which is about twice our norm. I also lasted through two of her orgasms. Normally, she is lucky to keep me hanging on through one. I then went to sleep and woke the next morning with no ill effects.
Like many other of the wonderful cure-alls that abound in nature, Blue Lotus is one of those substances that blesses us with an unending raft of valuable characteristics.
The flower can be used as a sleep aid, to reduce anxiety and as a stress reliever. Blue Lotus is hypothesised to contain nuciferan (a natural anti-spasmodic) along with aporphine, which will give you feelings of calming euphoria.
There are also reports of its use as a treatment for gastrointestinal problems. Diarrhoea and dyspepsia, among other things, have reportedly been helped by ingesting Blue Lotus - although research is limited in this area.
Blue Lotus and lucid dreaming
And so onto the thrust of this article. As lucid dreamers, we know about the wide variety of traditions herbs and sacraments used throughout history to induce prophetic dream states.
The blue lotus is yet another interesting sacrament we can add to our arsenal of oneirogens.
However, there are more reports of a noticeable impact on the vividness of dreams and dream recallthan lucidity itself. Some advise that the dreamlike sensation the plant induces whilst waking continues into sleep itself – where dreams seem more colourful and lifelike.
Blue lotus is not a panacea for lucid dreaming – and its tendency to induce lucidity is not as definite as some other dreams herbs, such as silene capensis. Nevertheless, combined with mindful and diligent practice of lucid dreaming techniques, blue lotus does have potential to aid the transition into the lucid dream state - and certainly provide for some interesting adventures if you arrive there.
The wonderful array of different Blue Lotus preparations
Buds and flowers are the psychoactive components of blue lotus. And one of the wonderful things this herb is the shear variety of ways you can take it!
There are some truly beautiful products out there. So, if you take a mind to try this ancient sacrament, your options are abundant. Below are the most common ways to take blue lotus (in order of potency).
Supply tends to fluctuate, but at the time of writing our recommended supplier Bouncing Bear Botanicals carries dried flowers and a nice 20x extract.
Blue lotus absolute oil
A highly concentrated oil made via solvent extraction. This is the purest form you can get, with roughly 1 ton of flowers to make 1 kilo of oil. This reportedly makes an incredible addition to an oil massage, as yes the alkaloids can be absorbed through the skin! For a blue lotus massage, just mix a few drops of the absolute with a cheaper carrier oil like olive oil.
Blue lotus essential oil
The essential blue lotus oil is similar to the absolute oil, except it is instead made via a steam distillation process.
Blue lotus resin
A kind of dense hash-like material, the resin is made from compressed sticky flowers at the peak of their flowering cycle.
Blue lotus extract / powder
Various forms exist, but most widely available is a kind of powdered extract made from a CO2 extraction method, at around 25:1 potency compared to standard flower
Blue lotus tincture
The tincture is a liquid extract made at about 5x concentration to standard blue lotus flower.
Blue lotus wine
The most traditional and all-time favourite! You can make your own blue lotus wine by simply soaking the flowers/buds in some normal wine (or even liquor) for a few hours. Since the flowers carry a bitter taste, sweet wine like a desert wine is generally recommended.
Blue lotus tea
Standard blue lotus tea can be either made yourself or purchased in tea bags. If you want to make your own preparation, you need only soak the flowers in hot water.
You can also smoke blue lotus, using any of these preparations. Just add it to your favourite smoking apparatus and away you go!
Interestingly, Nelumbo nucifera is actually illegal in a few counties now, including Russia.
It’s also illegal for ‘human consumption’ in the US – so you’ll find it on sale as incense, massage oil and so on!
Whilst not the most powerful of oneirogens, blue lotus is a wonderful tonic that can not only add to your laundry list of life experiences, but add yet another shade of depth to your appreciation and understanding of the dream state.