Wild lettuce in appearance is very similar to thistle and dandelion. This plant was even used in 1800, and was known as “poor man’s opium” as it was used as an alternative of opium. Even nowadays water distilled from wild lettuce is still used as a mild sedative. Traditionally, it has been widely used as painkiller, sedative, sleep enhancer, edible oil, and natural remedy.
This plant has a substantial quantity of pain-killing opiates found in the resinous milky sap. When wild lettuce is gathered and dried, this substance is called lactucariumand it is comprised of these active compounds called lactupicrin, lactucin and lactucopicrin.These compounds have potent analgesic properties stronger than ibuprofen.
It was even discovered that opium lettuce was used as sedative and pain reliever long before the Victorian era; this was revealed by team of Italian scientists. The paper Lettuce, lactuca sp. is reported as a medicinal plant in 19th Century Polish Publications, quoting: “The action of the compound was weaker than that of opium, but free of the side-effects, and medical practice showed that sometimes lactucarium produced better healing impacts than opium”. It is called opium lettuce, but it really does not contain any opium only its properties resemble to the properties of opium. Aside the potent pain-relieving properties, it can successfully treat cough and reduce the symptoms of whooping cough.
Health Advantages of Opium Lettuce
Because it has the potency of a mild sedative wild lettuce very successfully treats anxiety symptoms. Likewise, it is considered to be perfect for lowering the intensity and frequency of asthma attacks.
This plant is highly helpful if you suffer from horrible migraines.
Due to its opiate-like effect this plant causes a mild feeling of ecstasy. However, it is harmless unlike some opiates as it does not cause any negative effects.
Pain and Stress
Thanks to the opiate properties it can alleviate pain, make it highly efficient for relieving various kinds of pain and stress.
Sleep and Insomnia
It has been known for ages that wild lettuce is a sleep enhancer naturally solving sleep disorders and insomnia.
Use of Opium Wild Lettuce
One option is to break the leaf or stem of the plant so that the milky sap is released. You can combine it with alcohol and make an alcohol tincture. The other option is to make tea out of it. First you need to dry the leaves, and usually 1 teaspoon of opium lettuce is infused in tea. If you want higher potency of the plant, you can smoke it in a pipe.
Bear in mind: If you over do the intake of the wild lettuce, nausea, anxiety, and dizziness can occur.