You can’t stop humans from getting high. The Aztecs had psilocybin, the Siberians had the Amanita muscaria, the Druids had Soma (same thing, though– really), and the ancient Sumerians had opium. Everybody had something– something to have fun with, something to take the edge off, something that helped alter one’s state of consciousness, something mysterious to revere and explore. For the ancient Egyptians, they had the blue lotus, a sweet-smelling aquatic plant believed to have been around since the dawn of time, used as both a narcotic and a sacred plant.
What is it?
The Egyptian blue lotus, or the Nymphaea caerulea, is a blue psychoactive water plant found around freshwater lakes and ponds in Egypt, eastern Africa, and parts of Asia. It thrives in deep, wet, muddy soil and tends to bloom in the spring. Because the blue lotus “wakes” and “sleeps,” meaning its petals open and close with the sunrise and sunset, the ancient Egyptians associated it heavily with the sun, and thought it to be connected to the sun god Ra, as well as the entire concept of creation, and therefore fertility.
It has a strong, sweet floral smell, apparently similar to ylang-ylang, with a warm spicy tone. Drawings, carvings, and representations of the blue lotus can be found in many ancient Egyptian artworks, even on the tomb of boy king Tutankhamon, whose “tomb contained a gold-plated shrine decorated with a bas-relief of a pharaoh holding a huge Nymphaea and two mandragoras in his left hand.”
How was it used and how does it feel?
The blue lotus had many purposes for the ancient Egyptians, including that of a natural aphrodisiac, when it was used in sexual ceremonies, as an anxiety reliever, and, most importantly, as a sleep aid. It doesn’t bring hallucinations like other psychedelics such as psilocybin, but it does offer a mild, dreamy high that brings about an enhanced mood and sleepiness. The blue lotus contains three alkaloids that have psychotropic effects: Apomorphine, aporphine, and nuciferine. These alkaloids have compounds that give the consumer an opioid-like effect, light euphoria, bring them into a trance-like state and help induce lucid dreaming. Inside the human body, aporphine is converted to apomorphine. Apomorphine is also known to have a Viagra-like effect, helping with symptoms of erectile dysfunction– hence its use in sexual matters and ceremonies. Apomorphine is also used today as a drug to help treat Parkinson’s disease and drug addiction.
The blue lotus was often given at parties to woo women, who loved its powerful, floral scent. To serve, it was brewed up into a tea that had calming effects, and was used to elicit lucid dreaming from the drinker. According to Tripsitter, “[i]t doesn’t take much of this stuff before users begin feeling the insurmountable urge to close their eyes and drift off to sleep.” Many images also depict Egyptians dropping the flower into a glass of wine, then drinking the wine and consuming the flower, elevating its effects.
The blue lotus can also be smoked, its dried petals rolled into cannabis or tobacco or smoked on its own for a calming, relaxing effect that is apparently much stronger when consumed this way than in a tea form.
Is it legal? Where can I get it?
In the USA, blue lotus is only available in the form of an extract, oil, or tincture. The tea has not been approved for human consumption. However, the blue lotus is not a controlled substance, meaning that it’s technically completely legal to grow, sell, and consume the flower (except in Louisiana). In the UK, blue lotus would technically be illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, especially if sold for human consumption, but dried flowers can be found easily online. Overall, the blue lotus flower is generally legal in most parts of the world, except Poland, Latvia, and Russia.
It’s still around today, and in North America, especially in Canada, where the flower is legal and not recognized as a consumable, it can sometimes be found in health food stores, in metaphysical alternative lifestyle stores, and online. Unfortunately, this may not last long, as the blue lotus is becoming endangered, having almost completely disappeared from where it has historically been found– along the banks of the Nile. Also note: It’s important to not confuse the Egyptian blue lotus with the sacred lotus, also known as the Indian lotus or sacred lotus flower— the Nelumbo nucifera. These plants are very different, and definitely don’t have the same effects.
The blue lotus is a psychoactive water plant found in Egypt and around lakes in eastern Africa. It held deep significance for the ancient Egyptians, and was used as a medicine and tool for a number of ailments and scenarios– it was used as a sexual and a sleep aid, a stress reliever, an anxiety soother, and more. It offers a mild psychoactive high. It’s known to be mood-enhancing, sleep-inducing, and dream-inducing. The plant is generally legal in most places (save for Poland, Russia, Latvia, and the state of Louisiana), although is generally not regulated as a foodstuff. It can be prepared and served as a tea for ultimate dream state effects, smoked for more intense effects, dipped in wine, drunk, and eaten.
The Egyptians revered the flower, presented it at parties and used it for various ceremonial and medicinal purposes, and even used it to decorate tombs. Unfortunately, the plant is now becoming endangered, and while it is still available for the curious to buy and consume, the market might soon tighten up, making blue lotus harder to get than ever– so if you’re looking to replicate the high of our ancient Egyptian ancestors, perhaps it’s best to try to get your hands on the blue lotus plant sooner rather than later. Sweet dreams!