What is blue lotus? Though not as well-known as kava and kratom, blue lotus deserves attention and respect as a worthwhile herbal high on its own unique merits. Blue lotus (or as it’s known by its taxonomical name, Nymphaea caerulea) has a very long and storied history, and thanks to the globalized marketplace of the 21st century, our patrons can partake of this lily prized and enjoyed by pharaohs and kings of antiquity. Even better, you can use blue lotus to enhance the desirable effects of other herbs and substances that these long-dead sovereigns and nobles never knew existed (a point we'll certainly return to). Sit back, roll a tight spliff of some blue lotus and your preferred smoking herbs, spark that sucker up, kick your feet up and read on, dear patrons.
The History of Blue Lotus
Imagine that you've been transported back in time to the lush and fertile Nile River Valley of three and half millennia ago, during the reign of Thutmose I. If you've arrived between sunrise and the early afternoon, you may notice beautiful, bright blue lilies growing along the riverbank (watch out for crocodiles!). A long cedar wood boat with acacia masts and rippling papyrus sails drifts past. On its deck are rows of oarsmen, burly guards with spears, fetching raven-haired women in fine linen dresses, and a man wearing an elaborate headpiece and a kilt-like garment. This man is obviously the pharaoh, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt. A female attendant gingerly approaches him, and hands him a wine goblet with some of those curious blue lilies floating on its surface. The pharaoh swishes the wine around, sniffs its aroma, and casually gulps down the entire contents of the goblet in one practiced swig. A warm smile spreads across the pharaoh's lips, as he reclines in his ivory deck chair. Damn, it feels good to be a pharaoh.
Fast forward another 700 years or so, when most modern literary historians believe the Greek poet Homer had lived. In the ninth book of his epic poem The Odyssey, the story's hero Odysseus and his ship's crew arrive on an island off the coast of Northern Africa. The natives of this island are known as the Lotophagi, a sedentary people who while their days away eating a delicious, narcotic lotus, which is said to dispel all worldly concerns. After some members of Odysseus's crew partook of this plant, they no longer seemed to care about getting back home, which prompted Odysseus to stage perhaps the first known drug intervention: he forcefully dragged his stupefied crewmen back to their ship, and made them detox cold turkey under their benches. The sober men of his crew were ordered to heave away smartly, lest they succumb to the temptations of this lethargy-inducing lotus.
The 5th century BC historian Herodotus claimed that the lotus mentioned in the Odyssey was the fruit of trees that grew in (what is today) coastal Libya, but posterity has proven that old fuddy-duddy wrong (and probably just making stuff up) on a number of counts. Many modern literary researchers believe that the plant eaten by the lotophagi was Nymphea caerulea, the same plant commonly depicted on many ancient Egyptian stone carvings and paintings. Some other plants have been suggested as being the lotus in question, such as the Mediterranian hackberry (Celtis australis), Ziziphus lotus, and good ol' opium, though none of these plants' effects quite match Homer's description as well as those of Nymphaea caerulea.
Blue Lotus is a Lily with Lovely Effects
Nymphaea caerulea, commonly known as blue lotus, does not belong to the botanical genus Lotus; it's actually a species of water-lily. Though it's thought to have originated in the Nile River Valley of East Africa, it's scarcely found in this part of the world today. Since antiquity, blue lotus has spread to the Indian subcontinent, and even as far as Thailand. The plant’s flower buds are known to open in the early morning hours, and close by the mid-afternoon; in observing this blooming cycle, the ancient Egyptians believed that the blue lotus was symbolic of the cycle of life, death and rebirth, a common theme in Egyptian mythology.
The effects of blue lotus are a subject of some debate: some sources claim that smoking blue lotus or otherwise consuming it imparts no psychoactive effects whatsoever. Other anecdotal reports suggest that the plant possesses a wide range of pharmacological properties, and has been variously described as sedating or euphoric, imparting a heightened sense of awareness, inducing lucid dreams, or arousing amorous desire. Some users maintain that blue lotus serves to enhance, or is enhanced by using it in conjunction with marijuana, alcohol, kratom, or other consciousness-altering substances (and others have suggested that the addition of blue lotus produces nothing more than a placebo effect, as the aforementioned substances produce psychoactive effects entirely on their own). Lastly, some users have suggested that freshness is key to the potency of blue lotus, and that its primary alkaloids may degrade quickly after the plant is harvested.
The Lily, the Lotus, and the Alkaloids
It must be noted that considerable confusion exists between plants sold as “blue lotus” and “blue lily”. Nelumbo nucifera is sometimes marketed as “blue lotus”, and is in fact an actual variety of lotus; as mentioned previously, Nymphaea caerulea is not technically a lotus at all, but a type of water-lily. These two plants are often marketed interchangeably as “blue lotus” and “blue lily”. Though they differ significantly in appearance (Nelumbo nucifera’s petals are generally pink in color, not blue), they both contain the same primary alkaloids, which is likely the source of this muddling of terms.
So what are these alkaloids in question? Nymphaea caerulea and Nelumbo nucifera are both known to contain two pharmacologically-significant alkaloids, nuciferine and aporphine, from which the dopamine agonist apomorphine is derived. Nuciferine has been demonstrated to have anti-convulsant and relaxant effects. Apomorphine has been used to treat opiate addiction, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease, and erectile dysfunction, though it must be noted that it does not occur naturally in aporphine; it must be extracted by means of a concentrated acid or alcohol solution. This may explain why blue lotus has historically been consumed by steeping it in wine.
The most common means of ingesting blue lotus are by smoking the leaves, or by steeping them in tea or alcoholic beverages (most often wine). In regard to smoking blue lotus, it’s recommended to smoke two 5 ounce bowls of leaves and bulbs in a water pipe for optimal effects. Other sources suggest that blue lotus extract is a more potent smoking option, and that it works well when mixed with tobacco, marijuana, or other smokable herbs. To prepare blue lotus tea, steep 5-10 grams of leaves in hot (not boiling) water for 10-20 minutes. For relaxing blue lotus wine, suggestions vary how to best enjoy this beverage: online sources recommend steeping the leaves in the wine (red wine apparently works best) from anywhere from several hours to several weeks.
On a cautionary note, though most accounts do not mention any negative side effects or toxicity from ingesting blue lotus, some users report mild nausea from drinking blue lotus tea or wine, or a slight headache after its effects have worn off (typically 2-3 hours following consumption). As little research has been done in regard to the effects of blue lotus on pregnancy or breast-feeding, it’s advised that pregnant or nursing women avoid using it. In addition, as blue lotus may have sedative effects, we’d suggest that our patrons steer clear of operating motor vehicles, heavy machinery, and carnival rides while under the influence of blue lotus (or at least until you determine your own tolerance to it).
So, dear patrons, if this particular piece has piqued your curiosity in blue lotus, you know where to look: superfuncave.com, of course! We carry a wide assortment of blue lotus products to pack in your pipe (G4, Lucid), put in your wine bottle (Captain Amsterdam Captain Blue Lotus), or swallow in pill form (Bsixx, Chronic Barz). And if you're so inclined to try blue lily as well, we've got that too. If you want safe, legal, and fun herbal solutions to the same-old same-old, stick with Mr. Mephisto and Super Fun Cave, friends... we have such sights to show you...