Poppies – the Natural Pain Killer


It is such a great shame that medication with the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is addictive and therefore not permitted to be used as a plant medicine. It has strong pain killing properties as it contains morphine alkaloids and codeine and before the arrival of modern pain killers it was the best analgesic in the herbal pharmacopoeia.

poppy seed heads at North harbour beach

The poppy species practitioners can use, though, is the Californian poppy, Escholzia californica.this has mild pain relieving properties and is a sedative and nerve relaxant.
I use it as a tincture combined with Passiflora and Wild lettuce to help people with Insomnia.
There is also the field poppy just coming into flower now and oh so pretty.

yellow poppies on the beach

The flowers only last a day and are very fragile. I have picked the flowers in the past and layered them with sugar in a jam jar to make syrup. I topped the jar up with flowers and syrup as everything compressed down and left it to stand for three weeks on a window ledge, in sunlight.
Then I poured the resulting syrup into another clean jam jar and stored it with the lid on.
A teaspoon of this syrup before bedtime, will help relax people with insomnia into a natural sleep, or help to ease a tickly cough.

More poppies on the beach

There are the usual cautions attached to this:-
These articles are not intended to encourage you to self medicate but for you to develop an interest in plant medicines.
Do not self medicate if you are on any orthodox medicines
Find a qualified practitioner if you need help with plant medicines.
Don’t experiment with plants on yourself or other people. Plants do not suffer fools gladly, even potatoes in their ancient form were poisonous and in fact any green areas in a potato contain an alkaloid similar to that found in deadly nightshade!
Enjoy looking, smelling and learning. Plants are our life givers.

Linda Bostock
Medical Herbalist Dip Phyt.

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