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Water Lily vs. Lotus Seeds

Posted by Zoe Gregorance on

We often come across other brands that mislabel popped water lily seeds as lotus seeds. But in fact, popped water lily seeds are very different than lotus seeds and come from an entirely different plant! We’re here to clarify the FAQs and debunk some common myths around what popped water lily seeds are, their nutritional benefits and why you should eat them.

“First things first, what exactly are popped water lily seeds?”

Popped water lily seeds, also known as makhana, have been consumed in India for centuries and come from a place of natural and spiritual goodness. They are the seeds of the prickly water lily plant that grows in the north east of India. The seeds are roasted over high heat to make them pop, transforming the seeds into a nutritional, natural and crunchy puffed snack!

“But I see lotus seeds used everywhere, isn't it the same thing?”

Water lily seeds are often mistakenly called lotus seeds. Popped water lily seeds have many different names such as makhana (in Hindi), fox nut, gorgon nut but NOT lotus seed.  

Water lily seeds belong to the Euryale Ferox plant species and come from the prickly water lily plant grown in the north east of India.The Lotus seed comes from an entirely different plant species - Nelumbo Nucifera. It is often confused with the Water Lily plant due to the similarities in where both plants grow and how they look. They both are flowering plants that grow in water. But that’s where the similarity ends.

The lotus seed is a common ingredient in China and used extensively in Chinese cooking and medicine. Nutritionally as well, they have a completely different makeup than that of a water lily seed.

"So why are these brands allowed to say it's a lotus seed?”

That’s a really, really good question.

The main confusion arose from the suppliers of the water lily seed in India. The flower when translated from Hindi to English, got mistakenly translated to lotus flower. One of the reasons this happened was the lack of information available to the farmers on translation and the popularity of the lotus flower, being the national flower of India.

“Why should I eat them? How are they better than popcorn?”

Water lily seeds are one of the most prescribed seeds in Ayurveda because of their nutrient profile, making them beneficial for all body types.

This Ayurvedic superfood is packed with plant-based protein, antioxidants and amino acids. The seeds also contain kaempferol, a flavonoid that has both anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is makhana grain free, corn free, and gluten free, it simply just one whole popped seed.

As compared to popcorn they have:




There you have it, now you're a water lily seed pro! We love talking about water lily seeds and why we think they're awesome, so if you have any questions or want to learn more, feel free to reach out to us at and check us out @bohanalife

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