From trauma to illness, pain is a very common symptom that can be a big problem even for the strongest. It is so common that we can see a serious epidemic of opiate addiction. Unfortunately, when there are so many people need help, this leads to the fact that most of our population becomes dependent on the pharmacy, often simply masking the problem, and not fixing the cause.
Unluckily, it becomes so widespread that medical specialists consider that a majority of us really need “seekers”.
Thus, instead of alleviating the tangible pain, people are rejected. As a result, they find this illegal, and pain clinics and rehabilitation centres appear everywhere, trying to fight drug addiction.
Lactuca Virosa is the scientific term for this, and many people have used it instead of prescription drugs. It is a leafy and tall plant with small yellow buds, and it can be grown directly from your door. More commonly found in North America and England, it’s the cousin to the lettuce that we usually see in the supermarket. It is also called bitter lettuce or more suitable for the purpose discussed here, opium lettuce.
Wild Lettuce as a Healthy Alternative
The reason why it is referred to opium lettuce is due to analgesic and sedative effects, which are known to be produced by a white substance found in the stem and leaves.
This milky substance is called lactucarium. And, although it does not contain any opiates, it has similar side effects when used – it acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to reduce the feeling of pain, just like morphine.
Wild Lettuce Milk Juice
Even though we don’t know a lot about this wonderful plant, it has a history of being used as an alternative to pain relief.
History of using
Lactuca virosa was used in the 19th century by doctors when opium could not be obtained. It was widely studied by the Council of the British Pharmaceutical Society in 1911.
They found two chemicals responsible for the properties of L. virosa: lactukopicrin and lactucine.
In the United States, the plant experienced a resurgence of popularity in the 1970s.
Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) forbid this plant to grow, buy and own without a prescription or license.
There’re plenty of other reasons to use this miraculous plant:
- Doctor Ibn Sina used wild lettuce as a lactagogue, product that fights with tumours, inflammation of the stomach and erysipelas. In the form of a bandage, he advised to stretch the muscles. Milk juice healed the corneal ulcer of the eyes, used it against scorpion and karakurt bites.
- In traditional medicine, this plant was used in the forms of herbal infusions and lactagar. They act in small doses as hypnotic, sedative and anaesthetizing for insomnia, whooping cough, chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, laryngitis, dyspnea, persistent cough, gout, dropsy and bladder diseases, as a diuretic in the absence of menstruation.
- Herbal tincture of wild lettuce is used for rinsing for stomatitis, gingivitis, bleeding gums, sore throat, abrasion. Shredded leaves are applied to wounds and cuts, and boiled grass is applied for colds.
- A decoction of dry leaves is a diuretic and it calms asthma, dry cough, colic and helps with kidney stones. Has a calming effect on hyperactive children, reduces anxiety and stress, soothes rheumatic and muscle pain.
In addition to all the benefits, wild lettuce causes an euphoric state, similar to opiates, even though it doesn’t contain any opiate!