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Phool Makhana (Foxnuts) - Nutrition, Health Benefits and Recipes

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Roasted & Spiced Phool Makhana

Makhana And Lotus Seeds - The Diiference

Makhana or Foxnuts are many times wrongly called Lotus seeds which they are not. This confusion possibly is because both seeds look similar, are white and come from aquatic plants.

Foxnuts are the seeds of the plant Euryale ferox while Lotus seeds are the seeds of the Indian Lotus plant, Nelumbo nucifera.

Nutritionally, lotus seeds are far superior to foxnuts

About Phool Makhana or Makhana

Makhana, Foxnuts or Gorgon nuts are the seeds of the plant Euryale ferox. In China, they are known as Qian shi.

In India, they are quite simply called Makhana or Makhane. These seeds are popped before they are brought to the market to be sold and hence they are called Phool Makhana.

The seeds are roasted or fried and spiced before they are eaten as they turn quite crisp just like popcorn.

Makhana kheer and Makhana raita are 2 popular Indian dishes. Makhana vegetable or curry is also prepared. A very popular and traditional Indian nutritional supplement of Punjab called Panjiri has Phool makhana as one of its ingredients.

Popped makhana snack is a healthier option to popcorn.

Phool makhana or foxnuts are also used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine to treat a number of diseases.

In India, Makhana are much used also form as food during festival fasting.

Makhane Ki Kheer | Fox Nut Pudding

About the Euryale ferox Plant

The Euryale ferox plant is a perennial aquatic plant belonging to the water lily family Nymphaeaceae. It is native to East Asia. In India, it largely grows and is cultivated in Bihar and Manipur.

The leaves of the foxnut plant are round, flat and as big as 3 feet in diameter. They lie flat over the surface of ponds, swamps, etc. They are green on the top surface and have a purple coloured underside with the top surface having a quilted texture.

The plant has sharp prickles all over except the underside of the leaf. The leaf stalk is attached centrally to the large floating leaves on the underside and the rest of the leaves remain submerged in water.

The foxnut flowers are bright purple in colour and the fruit seeds that are produced are starchy, white in colour and edible. The plant is therefore cultivated for its edible seeds.

In India, Makhana is grown both in natural ponds as well as in low land rice fields during the months of March to September.

The plant is cultivated in China, Korea, Japan and Russia besides India.

Nutritional Benefits Of Phool Makhana (Foxnuts)

Nutrients supplied by Makhana in a serving of 100 grams

  • Calories 350 calories - 2% of the daily requirement
  • Fat 0.1 gram
  • Protein 9.7 grams
  • Dietary Fiber 7.6 grams
  • Calcium 60 mg
  • Potassium 500 mg
  • Iron 1.4 mg

Besides these, Makhana is:

  • Cholesterol free
  • Low in sodium
  • Low in fat

Source: https://www.ayurtimes.com/makhana-nutrition-facts/

Makhana Raita | Puffed Lotus Seeds Raita | Vrat Recipe

Health Benefits Of Phool Makhana

Foxnuts have antioxidant, sedative, antitussive, antiseptic, antidiabetic, astringent, antitumor, laxative and nutritive properties.

According to Ayurveda, makhana is sweet and heavy to digest, increases the moisture level in the body tissues and therefore delays ageing.

  • It alleviates Vata & Pitta doshas and thereby helps in relieving arthritic pains and neuralgia, and reduces burning sensation in the body
  • It strengthens the heart, kidneys, and spleen
  • It has aphrodisiacal properties and benefits in issues like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, increases the quality and quantity of semen and increases fertility in women
  • It prevents frequent urination and benefits in relieving anaemia
  • It relieves and prevents constipation, improves digestion and appetite
  • It regulated blood pressure, palpitations and relieves numbness and aching of the waist and knees
  • It is sedative in action and relieves insomnia
  • It is beneficial for people having diabetes as it regulates blood sugar
  • It aids in reducing weight when consumed in small amounts as it controls hunger. When taken with milk and in excess it increases weight and fat.
  • It is beneficial in strengthening the uterus as well as in women issues like leucorrhea, excessive bleeding, those suffering from large clots during periods, recurrent miscarriages, etc.

Dosage, Side Effects & Precautions

5-10 grams of makhana every day is considered safe for a healthy adult. If taking the seed powder, as a medicine, the dose is 5- 10 grams per day. For pregnant and lactating mothers the dose is 3-6 grams per day.

Children below the age of 5 years must not consume makhana. Though safe for pregnant women if grown in polluted water this can result in fetal abnormalities due to heavy metals absorption and accumulation in the seeds.

Excess consumption may cause bloating and constipation.

Makhana should not be consumed if you suffer from - constipation, indigestion, urinary issues, cold and cough and by postpartum women.

A Very Informative Video On Foxnut

Makhana Harvesting

The Makhana flowers, float on the surface as they flower. But 2 days later they get submerged in the water. Fertilisation takes place underwater, the fruits are formed underwater and they burst on maturity in the water.

The seeds float on the water surface for a couple of days and then settle at the bottom of the ponds where the Lotus plants usually grow.

Once the fruiting is over these seeds are collected manually from the pond bottom by divers diving deep in the water and sweeping the pond floor virtually collecting not only the seeds but a lot of muck with it. This is a very labour intensive and painstaking process.

The plants are removed first as the collection of seeds is impossible without their removal due to their prickly nature.

Flowering occurs in May and fruiting from May to July. The seeds are collected during the months of August to October, sometimes even November.

About 1200 to 1500 kgs of seeds are produced per hectare.

Read in detail how cumbersome the Makhana harvesting process is at the link below:

Makhana Processing

Processing Of Makhana Seeds

The Phool makhana seeds that are sold have been processed from the raw black hard nut, as they originally are produced, to the white puffed seed we get in the market.

The raw makhana seeds are first washed well, then sun-dried maintaining them at about 31% moisture content. Water needs to be sprinkled on them at regular intervals to keep them fresh. They are then graded and then roasted. During the process of roasting, they are tempered as well.

At a particular temperature, the seeds crackle in the nuts. At this point of time, the hard nutshell is broken by hitting it manually with a hammer and the expanded kernels pop out.

This is the makhana or Phool makhana. They are immediately polished to give them lustre and whiteness. These are then graded and packed and sent for sale.

References

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 15, 2020:

Thanks for appreciating the information, Peggy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 13, 2020:

Like Bill and some others who have left comments, I have never even heard about these seeds that can pop just like popcorn. That is what I love about reading your posts. I learn so much! It would be fun to taste the foxnuts someday.

Tavleen Kaur on January 07, 2020:

This video will explain as to how Makhana is grown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiGUIAVZOhw

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 21, 2016:

Thank you so much manatita.

manatita44 from london on February 19, 2016:

Excellent article on Makhana. Written so well! The video is great too, and I like the pudding which I get in Southall. Great!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 17, 2016:

@truthfornow - it very much is. Thanks for dropping by.

@Paula - thanks for appreciating the information. It always is a pleasure seeing you here and I'm sure you've been doing great.

@Chitrangada - yes, phool makhana are an integral part of our cuisine as well as festivities. So glad you read this hub and commented. Thanks.

@Bill - lol! I would not even dream of making things up for you of all people...Your comments always lift my spirits. Thank you my friend.

@Marlene - glad you find my hubs informative. Appreciate your visit.

@Devika - thank you for visiting.

@Ruchira - glad you like the hub. Nice to know you've had the makhana sabzi. I think you should be able to get makhana in the Asian stores there. Thanks for stopping by.

Ruchira from United States on February 17, 2016:

The makhana ki sabzi is just yummy!

I have had that in india and am always on the look out on this side of the planet.

Great post, Rajan

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 17, 2016:

A unique topic. I had no idea of the Nutritional Benefits Of Phool Makhana (Foxnuts). Interesting and useful indeed!

Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 17, 2016:

Very interesting. I need to get out more. I have never heard of any of these seeds or plants. But, that's what I enjoy most about reading your hubs. I learn so much about various things that grow around the world and the benefits of them all.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 17, 2016:

I'm laughing to myself. You could be making these things up and I would believe them. I've never heard of this, once again....it's a strange and interesting world out there, much of it foreign to me. I rely on you to fill in the gaps of my knowledge.

Peace always

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 17, 2016:

Great hub about Phool Makhana!

It is a must have in our homes especially during Vrats and other festive occasions. I like all its recipes and do make it very often. But I have not tried Raita.

Thanks for sharing the many health benefits and delicious recipes prepared with Phool Makhana.

Suzie from Carson City on February 16, 2016:

rajan....Hello, I hope you are doing well. It's been a while since I have read a good Health Hub. This is so interesting and as always you do a wonderful job of giving your readers clear & important information!

Thank you. This is quite useful & beneficial to our health. Paula

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on February 16, 2016:

Interesting information. Seems very healthy.