- Botanical: Papaver somniferum
- Family: Papaveraceae
- Hits: 3950
Known asWhite Poppy, Red Poppy, Opium Poppy, Schlafmohn
Old Usetreating asthma, stomach illnesses, and bad eyesight
Collection TimesAugust to September
Parts Usedleaves, seed
Medicinalcoughs, fever, insomnia, pain relief
Mind & Nervesinsomnia, pain relief
Stomach & Intestinaldiarrhea
Propertiesantispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, narcotic, sedative
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
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.
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
Europe to Asia, though the original habitat is obscure. A rare casual in Britain.
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