Blue lotus (Nymphaea caerulea), also known as blue Egyptian lotus or blue water lily, is an aquatic plant that mostly grows in Egypt and certain parts of Asia. It contains two alkaloids (apomorphine and nuciferine) that stimulate dopamine receptors (which affect movements, rewards, and emotions in the brain). 

Some historians have described the use of the blue lotus flower by ancient Egyptians during rituals to achieve a sense of euphoria due to its ability to produce feelings of happiness and calmness. Anecdotal evidence suggests blue lotus has a psychoactive effect similar to a “high” from cannabis. According to Service-specific policies, the use of any substance intended to alter one’s state of mind or to get “high” is prohibited for use by Service Members. 

Blue lotus is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

Blue lotus is not currently listed as a controlled substance, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), so it can be sold legally in most states. 

In states where it is legal, it can be purchased in the form of dried plant material, as a tea or beverage, in extracts for use in electronic cigarettes or vaping devices, and in dietary supplement products. It is marketed for a variety of health benefits, such as improved sleep, anxiety relief, improved sexual performance, and antioxidant activity. However, no reliable scientific evidence supports the safety or effectiveness of this plant in any form for any specific purpose in humans.

Can blue lotus negatively affect your health and performance?

  • Blue lotus has been reported to cause hallucinations and euphoria when used as a liquid in vaping devices or when the dried flower is infused in alcohol. 
  • Several active-duty Service Members have reported to an emergency room with symptoms of paranoia, anxiety, slurred speech, decreased responsiveness, “bizarre behavior,” chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and even seizure after using blue lotus.

Can Service Members use blue lotus?

Blue lotus is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients List, and is prohibited for use by Service Members. In addition, blue lotus plant material has been reported to be commonly laced with synthetic cannabinoids, which are controlled substances and can show up on a drug test.


Updated 22 April 2024


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