• borst
  • lavender
  • dandelion

Poppy Opium

0.0/5 rating (0 votes)
  • Botanical: Papaver somniferum
  • Family: Papaveraceae
  • Hits: 3865
Poppy Opium

Botanical

Papaver somniferum

Family

Papaveraceae

Known as

White Poppy, Red Poppy, Opium Poppy, Schlafmohn

Old Use

treating asthma, stomach illnesses, and bad eyesight

Collection Times

August to September

Parts Used

leaves, seed

Medicinal

coughs, fever, insomnia, pain relief

Mind & Nerves

insomnia, pain relief

Respiratory System

cough

Stomach & Intestinal

diarrhea

Properties

antispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, narcotic, sedative

Description

The plant is an erect, herbaceous annual, varying much in the color of its flowers, as well as in the shape of the fruit and colour of the seeds. All parts of the plant, but particularly the walls of the capsules, or seed-vessels, contain a system of laticiferous vessels, filled with a white latex.

 

The flowers vary in colour from pure white to reddish purple. In the wild plant, they are pale lilac with a purple spot at the base of each petal.

The capsules vary much in shape and size. They are usually hemispherical, but depressed at the top, where the many-rayed stigma occupies the centre; they have a swollen ring below where the capsule joins the stalk. Some varieties are ovoid, others again depressed both at summit and base.

The small kidney-shaped seeds, minute and very numerous, are attached to lateral projections from the inner walls of the capsule and vary in colour from whitish to slate. The heads are of a pale glaucous green when young. As they mature and ripen they change to a yellowish brown, and are then cut from the stem if the dried poppy heads are required.

Properties & Uses

The seed yields 44 - 50% of an edible drying oil. Very good for lighting, it burns for longer than most oils. The oil is also used in paints, soap making etc

Traditional Use

Hypnotic, sedative, astringent, expectorant, diaphoretic, antispasmodic.

It is unexcelled as a hypnotic and sedative, and is frequently administered to relieve pain and calm excitement. For its astringent properties, it is employed in diarrhoea and dysentery, and on account of its expectorant, diaphoretic, sedative and antispasmodic properties, in certain forms of cough, etc.

Small doses of opium and morphine are nerve stimulants. 

Cautions

This plant contains a number of very toxic compounds, many of which are extracted and used as pain killers etc in medicine. They are also used to make various highly addictive narcotic drugs. However, in the cooler climate of Britain these compounds are not formed in sufficient quantity to make their extraction worthwhile. There are no toxins in the seeds

Distribution

Europe to Asia, though the original habitat is obscure. A rare casual in Britain.

Constituents

Oxalic acid, morphine, codeine, thebaine, narcotine, narceine, papaverine, vanillin, vanillic acid, p-hydroxystyrene, fumaric acid, dl-lactic acid, benzyl alcohol, phthalic acid, hemipinic acid, meconin, and narcotoline