fox nut, Euryale ferox, makhana, gorgon plant

20090525foxnut Fox nut is a type of seed we add into our weekly cereal or soup on a regular basis to help maintain overall health. My mom says it specifically helped her aging eyes and sight – over a period of time. She also says it is good for the lower back and knees, and I found that it is used as a treatment for arthritis and rheumatic pains. It is in the waterlily family and is traditionally known as analgesic, aphrodisiac, astringent, deobstruent, oxytoxic, and tonic. Like chrysanthemums, there are no side effects, nor drug interactions, to worry about when eating fox nut. I don’t think of it as an herb, but more…a seed, as is the case, like pumpkin seed or sunflower seed. In traditional Indian medicine, fox nut is given to mothers after child birth and invalids (see Who’s done the research) to stimulate their immune systems.

How to cook/eat fox nut: Fox nut is often cooked with other seeds, grains, or beans. We usually cook it into our cereal mixture* which includes barley, as it goes well with barley. When cooked, both seem to open up and have a similar chewy texture. In India, people roast fox nut like popcorn and eat it with various spices and oils. I found a catalogue that sold “Fox Nut Puffed (Makhana), organic: toss in dash of ghani-oil for a nutritious and crunchy popcorn substitute that all kids love” – sounds quite yummy, I ought to try it.

* For the record, here is the full list of ingredients for our cereal mix:
red bean
black soy bean
kidney bean
mung bean
Chinese pearl barley
fox nut
chia seeds
sunflower seeds
pine nut
wood ear (black and white fungus)
goji berries
craisins and dried blueberries
Chinese red dates
lotus root
orange peel

Where to find it: Fox nut can be found in your local Asian grocery store. They are dry and powdery, round seeds, usually cut in half and chalky white on the inside, with a brown outer covering. They are usually sold in clear plastic packaging.

What else: Okay, I found out from a Google search that fox nut has also been used to burn fat as part of a weight loss treatment. Generally, fox nut is associated with the kidney and spleen and mixed with an assortment of other items to treat various illnesses.

Who’s done the research:

  • Fox nut or gorgon nut (Euryale ferox–Family Nymphaeaceae), popularly known as Makhana, has been widely used in traditional oriental medicine to cure a variety of diseases including kidney problems, chronic diarrhea, excessive leucorrhea and hypofunction of the spleen. Based on the recent studies revealing antioxidant activities of Euryale ferox and its glucosides composition, we sought to determine if Euryale ferox seeds (Makhana) could reduce myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury. In vitro studies revealed that Makhana extracts had potent reactive oxygen species scavenging activities. Taken together, the results of this study demonstrate cardioprotective properties of Makhana and suggest that such cardioprotective properties may be linked with the ability of makhana to induce TRP32 and Trx-1 proteins and to scavenge ROS. – Das S, et al. The effect of Euryale ferox (Makhana), an herb of aquatic origin, on myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury. Mol Cell Biochem 289(1-2):55-63, Sep 2006
  • Euryale ferox (Tel makhana(1)), Phoenix dactylifera (Chhohara(1)) and Zingiber officinale (Sonth(1)), however, stimulated humoral immunity to a greater extent than CMI. The observation provides scientific basis for feeding the products of above plants to mothers after child birth and to invalids with a relatively poor immune status. – Puri A, et al. Immunostimulant activity of dry fruits and plant materials used in indian traditional medical system for mothers after child birth and invalids. J Ethnopharmacol 71(1-2):89-92, July 2000
  • In indigenous medical systems of medicine, E. ferox as a tonic and for the treatment of leucorrhoea. – Bhakuni, D.S., Dhar, M.L., Dhar, M.M., Dhawan, B.N. and Mehrotra, B.N., 1969. Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: Part II. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 7, pp. 250–262.
  • Euryale ferox has been widely used in traditional oriental medicine to treat a variety of illness. However, very little is known about the cellular actions by which this plant mediates its therapeutic effects. Various aspects of antioxidant activity were evaluated in total extracts and fractions derived from Euryale ferox. Our findings show that Euryale ferox contains a significant antioxidant activity and that specific components in the ethyl acetate and butanol fractions may play an important role in mediating these antioxidant properties. – Lee SE, et al, Antioxidant activity of extracts from Euryale ferox seed. Exp Mol Med 31;34(2):100-6, May 2002
  • In a search for bioactive constituents of crude drugs derived from aquatic plants, the constituents of Euryale ferox Salisb. (Nymphae-aceae) were investigated. This plant has been widely used in traditional oriental medicine to treat a variety of diseases, such as kidney problems, chronic diarrhea, excessive leucorrhea, and hypofunction of the spleen. Recent studies show that E. ferox could reduce myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury and exhibits immunostimulant activity. The seeds of E. ferox contain an extraordinarily high content of tocopherols, which may play a role in the antioxidative activity of this plant. – Row LC, et al, Cerebrosides and tocopherol trimers from the seeds of Euryale ferox. J Nat Prod 70(7):1214-7, Jul 2007
  • Biochemical analysis of Euryale ferox seeds revealed 61% carbohydrate, 15.6% protein, 12.1% moisture, 7.6% fibre, 1.8% ash, and 1.35% fat. The seeds were found to contain 12 amino acids, which are histidine, leucine, isoleucine, glutamic acid, lysine, tyrosine, valine, aspartic, threonine, alanine. methionine. and arginine. – Alfasane, Md. A. et al., Fruit production and biochemical aspects of seeds of Euryale ferox Salisb. under ex-situ conditions. Bangladesh J. Bot. 37(2):179-181, 2008 (December).
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43 thoughts on “fox nut, Euryale ferox, makhana, gorgon plant

  1. Pingback: Job’s tears, Chinese pearl barley, Coix lacryma-jobi, adlay seed, Coixseed, ma-yuen « healthy doses

  2. ATHAR ALAM on said:

    glad to see the research done by u people.
    thank u.
    athar alam

  3. Pingback: walnuts, Juglans regia L. « healthy doses

  4. п»ї
    Great post, thank you

  5. Richard on said:


    I am trying to find the nutritional value of fox nuts. I know they are great on protein and starches but I want to know caloric, fiber and fat values.
    I can’t find that information online. Can you help?

  6. Glad to help – here’s the research, courtesy of the Department of Botany, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh.

    “Biochemical analysis of Euryale ferox seeds revealed 61% carbohydrate, 15.6% protein, 12.1% moisture, 7.6% fibre, 1.8% ash, and 1.35% fat. The seeds were found to contain 12 amino acids, which are histidine, leucine, isoleucine, glutamic acid, lysine, tyrosine, valine, aspartic, threonine, alanine. methionine. and arginine.”

    Please click on the link above to see the table that breaks the amino acids down into percentages.

    Thank you for visiting and for helping to strengthen the research (see last research bullet added)! (smile), y

  7. Athar Alam on said:

    i am engaged in to processing,packaging&marketing of makhana covering Delhi,mumbai,Banglore,Hydearabad,parts of U.P and Bihar.i will be glad to serve u people if required.
    Athar Alam

  8. Sujit saha on said:

    I am very glad to find so much much about makhana which i take regularly fried with ghee

  9. wow, i’ve never had it fried before. i wonder how it changes the seed chemically.

  10. liliane on said:

    can some one give the level of potasssium and phosphorous since I am on the wach for hose 2 minerals

  11. i did a search and found this site which shares the following composition:

    Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

    Seed (Dry weight)
    400 Calories per 100g

    Water: 0%
    Protein: 10.3g; Fat: 0.2g; Carbohydrate: 89g; Fibre: 0.2g; Ash: 0.6g;
    Minerals – Calcium: 34mg; Phosphorus: 100mg; Iron: 1.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 66mg; Zinc: 0mg;
    Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

    hope this helps, y.

  12. liliane on said:

    great thanks can give to patient with kidney failure

  13. thank you for visiting.

  14. liliane on said:

    so pleased to review this article just o remind me I have to use those seeds regularly since he kidney patient become very weak and out of breath..thanks for the detail breakdown of all minerals and vitimanins

  15. gigi hull on said:

    Thank you for all this wonderful information I am trying to go vegetarian all the way so I am looking for real power foods that will regenerate my health

  16. thank you for visiting, and good luck!!

  17. neelofer habib on said:

    i need to know the glychemic index of 100 gms of makhana

  18. does anyone know the response to this?

  19. is fox nut good for diabetic people??
    i am diabetic can i eat Fox nut or it should be avoided???
    please reply soon

  20. thank you for your visit. the diabetic need not avoid Fox Nut – though there are no known benefits. on the other hand, buckwheat and okra are beneficial to diabetic people. hope this helps.

  21. i need fox nut seed powder for my research work

  22. can you grind it yourself?

  23. DANIEL KUMAR on said:


  24. hi, Daniel. you can definitely find them in your local asian grocery store! good luck, y

  25. Hello;
    I would like to see a recipe for using fox nuts in a morning cereal that are actual recipes. More specific than what I have seen so far.
    I found them in an Oriental store in East Lansing, Mi. and I would return to purchase them if I can get a recipe that is as good as the emails have implied.
    Thanks for your assistance!

  26. i asked my mom for some help, and she suggested that you can cook fox nut alone and use it the same way you use cous cous and rice, or even put it in a cold pasta dish or salad. just be sure that you soak it for 4-5 hours to soften it up before cooking.

  27. Dipesh on said:

    Dave, u can use it as evening snacs too. Put very small amy of oil in a pan, heat it up and put fox nut and toss it up till it becomes crunchy!! add a little salt, and also pepper if u like!!

  28. Thank you very much for your sharing what you know about this food.
    I do appreciate you taking the time and energy to teach me.

  29. hi, Dipesh – thank you for sharing the way to cook it for snacks! that sounds yummy!

  30. nazia on said:


  31. joanne on said:

    Hi there i was hoping someone can help me with my enquire, i was told that it could help my son from his weak bladder at night is it true or if u have anything else for me that could help as he wakes up wet at night every night, thank you joanne.

  32. joanne on said:

    I was also given discorea opposita herb as well, so plz before i give it to him can some one help me with answers thx

  33. it appears that fox nut might help, but my mom suggested the following, first: 1) don’t let him drink too much before bed and 2) wake him up to use the restroom just before you head to bed. many of these healthy foods are beneficial over time, and it does take time! good luck!!, y

  34. what is price of raw fox nut. Is it expensive.

  35. hi, Ravi – at my Asian grocery store, the price for raw fox nut has really increased in the past 3-4 years. right now, i’m paying $5.75 for a 12-ounce package. it is only expensive, when compared to how much it was in the past, but considering the benefits, i imagine it’s even more expensive in herbal or other specialty stores. hope this helps, y

  36. CT Lim on said:


    Bought a pack of dried fox nut about 1.5 years ago and stored it in my fridge. Forgotten all about it until recently. Can it still be eaten?

  37. yes, if it’s been refrigerated, then most likely yes.

  38. Hi,
    Does anyone know if people with nut allergies (all nuts, pecan, hazelnut, walnut, peanut, etc) can eat fox nut?

  39. S Vazzhala on said:

    Hi All
    Gorgon Nut / Fox Nut has a very high EAAI (Essential Amino Acid Index) yet extremely low in fat and to top that all has nil Cholesterol, hence makes a great supplementary food. Its supposed to have analgesic properties and is described in Ayurveda to be good for balancing Vata n Pitta doshas (Vata dosha is associated with pains, movement, weakness of nervous and immune system while Pitta dosha is associated with digestive system, weakness of Liver, Kidneys & Spleen, blood disorders, stomach ailments etc.). Gorgon Nut / Fox Nut has no known side effects and is good for all ages and body types. Further it is a traditional food given to new mothers / lactating mothers in India, may be because the traditional wisdom knew that it has 8 out of 9 essential amino acids and all the 3 amino acids that the newborns can not synthesize. Hence if lactating mothers are fed with this nut the nutritions are passed onto the neonate through mother’s milk. Fox Nut can be an ideal snack choice for one and all. Anyone interested in snacks made from this nut may check this link

  40. Shakti Sudha Gorgon nut are low in calories, fat and high in fiber so can be a good food for diabetics. For more information visit

  41. Shakti Sudha Gorgon nut are low in calories, fat and high in fiber so can be a good food for diabetes.
    For more information visit

  42. ramesh nagar on said:

    Dearsir i can open a small food makhana plant pls help me i live in KOTA Rajasthan

  43. not quite sure what your needs are…

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