Key TCM concepts behind Lotus leaves (He Ye)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), lotus leaves are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category lotus leaves are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that lotus leaves typically don't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin Excess. The Neutral nature of lotus leaves means that you don't have to worry about that!

Lotus leaves taste bitter. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like lotus leaves tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such lotus leaves are thought to target the Spleen, the Stomach and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The stomach on the other hand is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. The liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Q and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.

Research on lotus leaves (He Ye)

Some benzylisoquinoline alkaloids and flavonoids were isolated from the leaves of Nelumbo nucifera (Lotus), and identified as anti-HIV principles. These compounds can serve as new leads for further development of anti-AIDS agents.

The pharmacological mechanism of the anti-obesity effect of Nelumbo nucifera leaves extract (NNE) were investigated on mice and rats. NNE impaired digestion, inhibited absorption of lipids and carbohydrates, accelerated lipid metabolism and up-regulated energy expenditure. Consequently, NNE is beneficial for the suppression of obesity.