Wild lettuce is a plant which has been used for centuries as a natural remedy, painkiller, sleep enhancer and sedative. In 19th century, it was used as cheaper alternative for opium because it has similar effects. Even today, water distilled from this plant has mild sedative effect because the resinous milky sap contains opiates which can relieve pain.
This active substance, when extracted and dried, is called lactucarium. It contains compounds with analgesic properties, like lactucin, lactupicrin and lactucopicrin, very similar to ibuprofen or some even stronger drugs.
In Iran, a team for scientists has discovered that wild lettuce has been used widely as a sedative and painkiller hundreds of years before the Victorian age. In 19th century, Polish Publications has published the paper “Lettuce, lactuca, sp. As a Medical Plant” where it was reported the following:
“The active substance found in wild lettuce has weaker action, but there are no known side-effects. As the medical practice has shown, in some cases lactucarium can have better and stronger curative effects compared to opium.”
Wild lettuce, also known as opium lettuce, does not contain opium, but its effects are very similar: it relieves pain and it can reduce the symptoms and treat cough.
Here are some of the uses of opium lettuce:
- Asthma: The effects of mild sedative are great for anxiety symptoms, which helps reduce the frequency of severity of asthma attacks.
- Insomnia: Wild lettuce is a natural cure for insomnia and other sleeping disorders, plus it is a great sleep enhancer.
- Migraine: Wild lettuce can also reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
- Mild euphoria: The opiate-like effect can cause a feeling of happiness and mild euphoria, without the dangerous side effects of opiates.
- Tension and pain: The opiate-like effect can reduce many types of tension and pain.
- Take a stem or leaf of wild lettuce, break it so that the milky sap is released. Use it to make an alcohol tincture.
- Dry a few leaves and use them to make tea. Infuse 1.5 grams of the opium lettuce in hot water.
- You can also smoke the dried leaves in a pipe, but this is a much stronger option.
Note: Intake of high amounts of wild lettuce can cause anxiety, dizziness and nausea.