More about Wild Lettuce
Lactucarium, or Lettuce-Opium, suppresses the activity of the central nervous system. In folk medicine wild lettuce was used as a remedy for bronchitis, irritable cough, nervousness and insomnia.
Wild lettuce is a plant that can grow up to 1.8 meters in size. The plant can withstand frost and grows in different parts of the world. The whole plant is rich in a milky juice, it contains 'lactucarium' and is used medicinally as a painkiller, anaesthetic and for its anti-spasmodic properties. It is also used to improve digestion. It is compared to the effects of opium, but they are much milder. It also does not have the addictive properties of opium. Wild lettuce is used to treat sleeping problems, with anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity, dry cough, rheumatism. In homeopathy wild lettuce is used to treat chronic cataracts, coughs, swollen liver, flatulence and urinary tract problems. The fresh or dried leaves of the plant can be used to make an infusion. Note: even in normal doses, drowsiness may occur.
The use of wild lettuce dates back to Ancient Egypt. Then the fertility god Min was worshipped. This god had a connection with magical plants. He is always depicted with stems of wild lettuce behind him. There was a whole festival around this deity and to this day wild lettuce is used in Egypt in the form of oil for medicinal purposes, for cooking, as an aphrodisiac and for massage. The history of wid lettuce is not limited to Egypt, but also goes to Rome, where Emperor Augustus was cured by an infusion of wild lettuce. In many magic potions and magical rituals wild lettuce is found as an ingredient. In the 19th century, wild lettuce was a much sought-after plant because it was a standard remedy for headaches and as a cough suppressant. Our ancestors discovered that certain plants worked well to combat pain.
Just a little more information about the name of the plant. The white juice that lettuce contains has to do with this. Lettuce owes its name to the Latin word 'lactua', which means 'milk'. The word 'opium' comes from the Greek 'opos', which means juice. All types of lettuce contain the analgesic substances, but wild lettuce contains them to the highest degree. The more bitter the taste, the higher the amount of these active substances. They have an anti-inflammatory and calming effect.