Nymphaea alba, also known as the European White Waterlily, White Lotus, or Nenuphar, is an aquatic flowering plant of the family Nymphaeaceae. It grows in water from 30-150 centimetres deep and likes large ponds and lakes. The leaves can be up to thirty centimetres in diameter and they take up a spread of 150 centimetres per plant. The flowers are white as the name suggests, and they have many small stamens inside.
Recent studies have shown Nymphaea species to have psychedelic properties, and may have been used as a sacrament in ancient Egypt and certain ancient South American cultures. Dosages of 5 to 10 grams of the flowers induces slight stimulation, a shift in thought processes, enhanced visual perception, and mild closed-eye visuals. Nymphaea caerulea is related to, and possesses similar activity as Nelumbo nucifera, the Sacred Lotus. Both Nymphaea caerulea and Nelumbo nucifera contain the alkaloids nuciferine and apomorphine, which have been recently isolated by independent labs. These active alkaloids nupharine and nymphaeine, is a sedative and an aphrodisiac. Although roots and stalks are used in traditional herbal medicine along with the flower, the petals and other flower parts are the most potent. Alcohol can be used to extract the active alkaloids, and it also boosts the sedative effects. These psychoactive effects make Nymphaea alba a likely candidate (among several) for the lotus plant eaten by the mythical Lotophagi in Homer's Odyssey. Used in aromatherapy, Nymphaea alba is purporthave a "divine" essence, bringing euphoria, heightened awareness and tranquility. Other sources cite anti-spasmodic and sedative, purifying and calming properties.
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