Regardless of its causes, physical pain can be excruciating sometimes. Most of us rely on painkillers for a quick relief from acute or chronic pain. What we should have in mind, however, is that the commonly used over-the-counter pain medications can have very serious side effects.
For example, Tylenol can cause damage to the liver, and Advil can lead to stomach and kidney problems and it poses a higher risk of stroke and heart attack. These health risks increase if the medications are used for a long time and in higher amounts than advised by the physician.
The wild lettuce plant contains potent ingredients similar to opium
You may find it very surprising that a humble, inconspicuous, even unattractive looking plant that grows everywhere can hide such mighty properties. And the fact that it belongs to the large family of lettuce is even more interesting. It truly seems that Nature has appointed a purposeful existence to every little seed and weed.
Wild Lettuce, by the Latin name Lactuca virosa, has been known to herbal doctors and shamans since ancient times. Its alternative name, “lettuce opium” reveals the purpose for which it has been used. Its opium like qualities were mentioned by some famous Roman, Greek and Arab physicians, botanists and scientists like Pliny the Elder, Avicenna, and Dioscorides.
It was used as an anesthetic in surgeries in combination with other herbs in the bygone centuries. This tall and leafy plant with tiny yellow blossoms, which some people confuse with dandelion in appearance, produces milky emulsion of a bitter flavor in its leaves and stems.
It is referred to as lactucarium in its dried form and it contains active pain-alleviating substances called lactucin, lactucopicrin, and lactupicrin. They have shown mighty analgesic properties in laboratory experiments with mice, equal or even greater than those of the widely used analgesic ibuprofen.
You may be thinking: “That sounds fine, but I do not want to have anything to do with opiates and drugs”. Please rest assured that there are no real opiates in the lactucarium – its compounds only produce sedative and pain calming effects similar to opium.
The 19 century paper from the Institute for the History of Science entitled “Lettuce, lactuca sp. As a Medicinal Plant in Polish Publications of the 19 Century, gives the following description of the herbal effects: “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”.
What are Wild Lettuce uses?
- To soothe the feelings of anxiety and to promote better sleep: the gentle sedative ability of wild lettuce is the right herbal medicine for these problems. It has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and improves the mood, enabling you to fall soundly asleep.
- To alleviate headache and migraine: the amazing effect of wild lettuce is not only that it eases the pain, but it acts as a gentle opiate. It is an ideal natural substitute for harmful painkillers.
- Wild lettuce has an antitussive property. It suppresses and calms dry coughs and it has even been known to soothe the symptoms of the whooping cough.
- It acts as an antispasmodic, relieving muscle cramps and aches.
- It relieves asthmatic attacks and reduces their severity.
- It acts as a gentle euphoric. Wild lettuce provides mild euphoric sensation without the harmful drug substance. Moreover, its use and production is unquestionably legal.
In which forms can wild lettuce be used?
- Alcohol tincture can be produced from the sticky white sap.
- It can be smoked in combination with other herbs in very small amounts of 0.25 grams without the nicotine addictive boost.
- As a concentrated herbal extract or a tincture before bedtime to calm the nerves and alleviate pains.
- Tea can be prepared from its stems and leaves, or in the form of a powder. Around 1.5 grams of the sap are used as an infusion.
- It can be made into a vaporizer for inhalation.
- It has been traditionally used in the form of syrup, by cooking it with water and sugar over low heat.
A word of caution:
Wild Lettuce lettuce can only be used in small doses. It must not be ingested in big amounts as it can result in very unpleasant symptoms like vomiting, lightheadedness, nausea and disrupted nervous system. It is not to be consumed in salads.