Lactuca virosa is a member of the Lactuca (lettuce)
genus, often ingested for its mild analgesic and sedative effects. Common names include, wild lettuce, bitter lettuce, opium lettuce or poisonous lettuce.
The Lactuca species are also related to the sunflower family which is part of the Asteraceae plant family, containing 23,600 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees throughout the world, making it a member of one the worlds largest plant groups!
The leaves, sap/latex, and seed are commonly used to make a variety of pharmaceutical medicines.
Wild lettuce has psychoactive properties and is sometimes used recreationally by people looking for a natural buzz.
Lactuca virosa is native to many areas of the world, including North America, Europe and the Middle East.
This herb thrives in sunny locations, such as along riverbanks and roadsides, and can grow up to six feet (1.8 meters) in height.
It's leaves have a greyish green tinge with short spines along the outer edges and also on the midrib on it's underside, the base of the leaf wraps partway around the central stem.
When scratched, the plant secretes a milky, white substance known as lactucarium.
It has beautifully delicate small yellow flowers that can have a purple tinge on the underside and the edges of the petals. The flowers open in the morning and will usually be shut by early afternoon.
This medicinal lettuce has been widely used for thousands of years, with lots of evidence suggesting the use of opium lettuce by people all the way back to ancient Egypt.
Age-old Chinese practices also utilised the juice of the plant as a topical, and the flowers and seeds were used to make liquid preparations.
In 430 BC Hippocrates, known as the Father of Modern Medicine, wrote about the pain-relieving effects of the plant’s milky sap.
If you have a chronic cough or asthma trouble, this plant can help ease your discomfort, helping to loosen and expel phlegm from the respiratory tract. Making it easier and more comfortable to breathe.
It is used as a mild diuretic as wild opium lettuce can increase a person’s urinary flow.
That’s why it is commonly used to treat urinary tract infections and edema. cough.
Insomnia & restlessness,this natural drug has powerful sedative properties. After a dose or two, you’ll relax which will help you slip straight into a dreamless slumber.
Lactucarium contains lactucin and lactucopicrin, bitter substances that act on the central nervous system to produce powerful pain-relieving and sedating effects.
Lactuca virosa is also used as an opium substitute in cough preparations, wild lettuce contains a substance similar to opium and both have been used to treat pain, insomnia, anxiety and restlessness.
Although scientific studies supporting this in humans is lacking, there have been very positive results using mice.
Though the benefits of wild lettuce remain unstudied, its side effects are better researched.
Studies indicate that the over use/over dose of wild lettuce can harm your health, with symptoms raging from vomiting and nausea to heart palpitations, dizziness and even death in large enough quantities.
Due to the lack of research on wild lettuce supplements,
there is no way of knowing how wild lettuce extract may interact with certain medications.
Although it comes with many heath benefits and many risks,
It is a 100% legal substance in the UK and most of the world so you’re free to grow, buy, and use as much of the stuff as you want (just don't over do it).