Walks in the Apricot Forest: Snow Lotus

Jing Jing

PureInsight | December 19, 2005

[PureInsight.org] A friend from far away visited me and brought me a bag of "flower tea" that she had made herself. We made ourselves a cup of tea. It was foggy outside. Through the hazy mist, I started to enjoy the colorful garden in the tea cup…

"Do you know what it is?" My friend pointed at the pearl-sized furry white flower bud in the sea and asked me. I shook my head.

"It is the snow lotus (Herba Saussureae Involucratae)!"

"Snow Lotus?" I was surprised, "Isn't it a flower that grows on snowy mountains?" I was so curious that I searched on the Internet. I found out that the snow lotus is not only an unusually rare flower, it is also a precious herb.

In Xinjiang Province, China where the snow lotus grows, it is called "Ka Er Lai Li," which means the lotus flower in the snow. It grows between sheer precipices three to four kilometers above the sea level. The snow lotus blossoms in July and August every year. The flower has several white or light green petals around a purple hemispheroid stamen. It looks like a big lotus, standing gracefully in the wind and snow, sending out a unique fragrance.

When the mountain herdsmen see snow lotus flowers, they think that the flower is a propitious sign. They treat the flower as a holy flower. According to legends, fairies had scattered down snow lotuses when the Heavenly Queen of the Jade Lake came to Tian Chi (Heavenly Lake) in Xinjiang Province to take a bath, and the snowy peak that is more than 5,000 meters high on the opposite side of the lake is said to be a beautiful mirror from the goddess. The snow lotus was treated as a holy item. People think that drinking the dewdrop from the flower bud can eliminate sickness and prolong life.

The book The New Edition of Chinese Medicine (新修本草) from the Tang Dynasty recorded one hundred and fourteen kinds of precious medicines from the west of China. One of them is snow lotus. The book The Appendix to Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目拾遺) from the Qing Dynasty states, "In a cold place where it is full of snow and the snow does not melt even during the spring and summer time, there grows grass in the snow that looks like a lotus flower with a single stem. It looks so lovely and graceful in the snow…the snow lotus on the peak of the mountain is the best, the flower in the middle of the mountain is the second best … When you see this flower in the distance, you can go and get it. If you tell others, the flower will hide under the snow and disappear." Based this description, it is like ginseng that also has a spirit. If she heard that someone reveals her tail, she can vanish in the snow.

People use the snow lotus flower as medicine. It has the power of alleviating fever, detoxifying, dispelling rheumatism, lessening swelling, stopping pain, enriching the blood, and warming the womb. In Indian folk medicine, it is used to treat many chronic illnesses such as gastric ulcer, hemorrhoids, bronchitis, heart disease, nosebleed, and snake bite, among others. In addition, the snow lotus flower also has a glorious history in Tibetan medicine. Its use is recorded in the Tibetan medical reference books, Month Wang Yaozhen (月王藥珍) and Four-Volume Medical Code (四部醫典).

Not long ago, I read a piece of news. It says that in Xinjiang thieves have been stealing snow lotus flowers like crazy and that this rare and beautiful flower is facing extinction. It made me think about the unceasing natural and man-made disasters in China and made me worried. Under the ruling of the corrupt evil political party, people are suffering and find it difficult to survive. Those who are facing tribulations are not only the snow lotus!

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/12/1/34795.html

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