Herbalist Vu Quoc Trung says the sweet and cool lotus stem, or ngó sen in Vietnamese, can help rid the body of toxins and stop it overheating and even bleeding in some instances. It is also a stimulant.
For general eating, Vietnamese people love enjoying a nutritive dish including white lotus stems, shrimp, pork, pork ear, carrot, peanuts, glutinous rice chupatty mixed with powdered shrimp, vinegar, onion and herbs, or a delicious soup of tenderloin and lotus stem.
The lotus stem is also the basis of several natural remedies recommended by herbalist Trung.
- To fix irregular menstruation, leave 20g of lotus stems out to dry in the open, pound it and 12g of roasted củ gấu (purple nut grass, or Cyperus rotundus), and put the powder through a sieve to get rid of the lumps. Mix the fine powder with honey and shape it into balls the size of mung beans. The recommended dose is 50 balls twice a day, swallowed with warm water.
- To cool the body in summer, wash and cut 250g of fresh lotus stems into short pieces, and place them in a pot together with 10g of Ä‘ạm trúc diá»‡p (Lophatherum gracile Brongn.) and some water. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes to make a beverage that should be drunk during the day.
- Instead of drinking plain water, wash and crush 100g of lotus stems, put them into a clean cloth and squeeze out the juice. Stir in 60g of honey and drink during the day. An alternative is to wash 50g of fresh lotus stems and steam it in a pot with 10g of mung beans that have been washed and soaked in water until soft.
- To stop a nose bleed, simply wash, crush and squeeze 200g of fresh lotus stems to drink during a day. Or cut the stems into pieces and cook in water to make a thin soup. To make nose drops to stop the bleeding, wash and grind a little lotus stems with some chives, and squeeze out the juice.
- To cool a hot or feverish body or stop a nose bleed, try this sweet soup. Put 50g of mung beans and 200g of lotus stems in a saucepan with two bowls of water, bring to a boil and cook over a high flame for 30 minutes, by which time the beans and lotus stems should be soft. Sweeten the broth with sugar.
- To whet the appetite, make a rice porridge with 50g of thinly sliced lotus stems (must be fresh!) and sprinkle some sugar on top.
- If you are vomiting blood, in addition to seeing a doctor you can make a therapeutic beverage by washing, cutting and crushing 200g of lotus stems, and cooking it in 400ml of water until the liquid has reduced to 100ml. Drink it hot with one spoon of honey stirred in.
- For a good night's sleep, you can make a sweet soup of lotus stems and red jujubes. Wash and cook 500g of lotus stems and 200g of red jujubes plus some rock sugar for 30 minutes. Drink it hot in the evening.
- An infected or inflamed urinary tract, blood in the urine, or the two together can be treated with juice made from 500g of sugarcane and 500g of fresh lotus stems. Wash, peel and crush the sugarcane, wash and cut the lotus stems into small pieces, and soak them in the cane juice for 10 hours. Now the sugar-infused pieces of lotus stems can be crushed or squeezed for their juice, which should be drunk thrice daily.