Presentation and publication: Lotus in ancient Egypt

Updated: Jan 20


Exploration of the medicinal and psycholeptic properties of the water lilies (known as “lotus”) from Pharaonic Egypt


Presentation at The Society for Near Eastern Studies. April 7th 2006


"The omnipresence of the iconographic motif of the blue water lily in Pharaonic Egypt as well as its multiple mentions in the medical literature of the time have led several researchers to infer the potentially narcotic role of this flower. However, these researchers do not agree on the results of the analyzes obtained, and some confusion remains as to the clear identification of pharmacodynamic properties that may be linked to Egyptian water lily.


This article therefore aims to review our current knowledge concerning the controversy associated with the potentially psycholeptic or narcotic properties of Egyptian water lilies (wrongly called lotuses). First, however, we will briefly review the botanical aspect and the different contexts in which they are found, and examine their mention in the medicinal recipes of the various Egyptian medical papyri of the Pharaonic era."


(2007) Abigaëlle Richard. Exploration des propriétés médicinales et psycholeptiques des nymphéas (dits « lotus ») de l’Égypte pharaonique. Conférence donnée au colloque annuel. Presentation at the annual colloquium of the Société pour l’Étude du Proche-Orient Ancien (Montreal chapter)


(2007) Abigaëlle Richard. Exploration des propriétés médicinales et psycholeptiques des nymphéas (dits « lotus ») de l’Égypte pharaonique. Conférence donnée au colloque annuel, Revue d'Études des Civilisations Anciennes du Proche-Orient (RECAPO) 13, p. 36-49.


Photo and graphic design © Patricia Girard, 2006


Presentation in French