The lotus flower is a natural symbol of the transformative power of the human spirit. Rooted in a muddy pond, it is able to rise above it to blossom in glory, untainted by the turbid waters, in fact drawing nourishment from it. It’s ascension parallels the Daoist agenda of transformation from the base to the precious. The singleminded uprightness of its heavenward thrust also warmed the hearts of many a Confucian. To the Buddhist, it is the source of profound mysticism.
Virtually all parts of the lotus, from the root to the flower to the seed, are used for food or medicine by the Chinese.