Wild lettuce resembles dandelion and thistle, and has been widely used as sedative, painkiller, sleep enhancer, edible oil, and natural remedy. Back in the 1800s, it was used as alternative to opium and was often referred as ‘poor man`s opium’. It turns out that things haven’t changed a lot since then, as water distilled from wild lettuce is still being used as mild sedative.
Wild lettuce contains a solid amount of pain-relieving opiates which are found in the resinous milky sap. When gathered and dried, this substance is called lactucarium and it contains active compounds which are called lactupicrin, lactucin and lactucopicrin. The analgesic properties of these compounds are similar or even more potent than the ones of ibuprofen.
A team of Iranian researchers found that opium lettuce was a popular painkiller and sedative long before the Victorian age, which indicates that it`s very likely that it has been used for eons. As reported in the paper Lettuce, lactuca sp. as a Medicinal Plant in Polish Publications of the 19th Century, “The action of the substance was weaker than that of opium, but free of the side-effects, and medical practice showed that in some cases lactucarium produced better curative effects than opium”. Although opium lettuce doesn’t contain opium, it has properties which are very similar to it. Besides its pain-relieving properties, it is known for treating cough and reducing the symptoms of whooping cough.
OPIUM LETTUCE USES
Acting as mild sedative, wild lettuce is extremely effective in treating anxiety symptoms. Many people worldwide claim that using this herb reduced the severity and the frequency of their asthma attacks.
2. Sleep and Insomnia
Wild lettuce has been long used as sleep enhancer and natural remedy for insomnia and sleep disorders.
3. Pain and Tension
Its opiate-like effect is responsible for its ability to reduce pain, which makes it beneficial for relieving many types of pain and tension.
It is believed that wild lettuce helps reduce both severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
5. Mild Euophoric
Again, thanks to its opiate-like effect wild lettuce causes a feeling of mild euphoria. However, it`s far safer and it doesn’t cause any side effects, unlike opiates.
HOW TO USE OPIUM LETTUCE
Break the leaf or stem from a wild lettuce to release the milky sap, which can be made into an alcohol tincture. Another option is to dry the leaves and made them into tea, in which case typically 1.5 grams of opium lettuce is infused in tea. In case you opt for more potent variant, you can smoke it in a pipe.
Note: High wild lettuce intake may cause nausea, anxiety, dizziness, and anxiety.