Saussurea involucrata, also known as Snow Lotus, is a highly coveted herb that is often referred to as the king of herbs due to its many benefits. It has a unique flowering period that can last up to seven years, making it even more desirable. This herb is considered a treasure and is highly sought after by those who are wealthy and have a taste for the finer things in life.
If you’re someone who loves fairy tales, you may have come across the name Saussurea involucrata before. This mystical herb is often featured in stories that are full of fanciful colors and seem to come straight from the imagination. Known as Thien Son Tuyet Lien, Snow Lotus is believed to have powerful medicinal properties that can help improve one’s overall health and vitality.
Although it may seem like a figment of our imagination, snow is actually a real flower found in nature. Tucked away in the mountains where snow persists year-round, a unique white-yellow flower with a purple-red pistil belonging to the daisy family can be found. Despite the harsh, cold conditions, this flower thrives and grows as big as a lotus flower. Named the snow lotus, it is considered the first beauty atop Thien Son mountain, as described by Chinese scholar Trieu Hoc Man during the Qing Dynasty. Its name is derived from its ability to survive in extremely frigid weather on high rocky mountains, and when it blooms, it takes on the shape of a lotus flower. Locals in Xinjiang believe that the snow lotus’s lovely appearance is due to its crystallization from wind, clouds, and snow. Saussurea involucrata, also known as the king of herbs or the king of hundreds of herbs, is a rare species that grows only in rocky ravines at elevations between 2,500 and 4,000 meters above sea level. It is a slow-growing species that requires five to seven years to germinate and bloom, and only 5% of its seeds have the ability to germinate.
The snow lotus seed has the amazing ability to sprout in temperatures as low as 0 degrees Celsius, thrive in chilly conditions between 3-5 degrees Celsius, and withstand extreme cold of up to -21 degrees Celsius. This plant has adapted to the harsh mountainous environment of the Xinjiang region and Tibet, allowing it to grow, flower, and reproduce within a short period of time. Due to its resilience and remarkable properties, the snow lotus is considered a precious food and is highly valued for its medicinal benefits. Known as the “elixir” by medical professionals, this flower has the power to detoxify the body, heal lung-related illnesses, alleviate menstrual pain, relieve body aches, and treat rheumatism. Additionally, it serves as an energizer for men.
Furthermore, the snow lotus plant possesses the ability to induce uterine contractions, making it unsafe for expectant mothers as it may result in premature delivery or stillbirth. Nonetheless, this flower is known for its thermogenic properties and induces profuse sweating when consumed. According to legend, eating snow lotus allows people to brave the cold naked in the snow without feeling chilly. In recent studies, researchers have discovered that the plant contains potent thermal properties that alleviate pain caused by kidney failure, sexual dysfunction, rheumatism, menstrual irregularity, and dysmenorrhea. Snow lotus, scientifically known as Saussurea involucrata, is abundant in protein and amino acids and helps regulate the body’s pH levels while boosting immunity, combating fatigue, and delaying aging. It is important to note that certain variations of the snow lotus carry toxins and require toxin removal before use in decoctions or medicines.
The snow lotus is a highly prized plant due to its valuable properties, but unfortunately it is often in danger of disappearing. Despite efforts to preserve it, such as those seen in an incident reported by CCTV in 2015 where 31 climbers took hundreds of lotus flowers from Tianshan Mountain in Central Asia just to share photos on social media, the snow lotus remains at risk. Heleno and other young intellectuals have collected photos that further highlight the issue.