Wild lettuce is also called opium lettuce, bitter lettuce, green endive, and lettuce opium. Lactuca virosa(Latin name), commonly called wild lettuce or opium lettuce, is a plant with mild psychoactive effects. Wild lettuce can be found growing freely in various regions of the world including Australia, America, Southern Europe and India.
It is said that it causes an effect similar to opium but much milder and without any of the side effects.
Wild lettuce is used for whooping cough, asthma, urinary tract problems, cough, trouble sleeping (insomnia), restlessness, excitability in children, painful menstrual periods, excessive sex drive in women (nymphomania), muscular or joint pains, poor circulation, swollen genitals in men (priapism), and as an opium substitute in cough preparations.
The seed oil is used for “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis) and as a substitute for wheat germ oil. Some people apply wild lettuce latex directly to the skin to kill germs. Some people inhale wild lettuce for a recreational “high” or hallucinogenic effect.
Lactuca virosa can be used as a sedative. The dreamy effects are a little bit similar to opium, but milder. Wild lettuce can help reduce the feeling of restlessness and excitability.
Some Indians use the herb to enhance the vividness of dreams. They believe that induced dream states provide more information about reality than the conscious waking state.
Wild lettuce is to be used as tea: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times daily. Other times, the plant would be simmered in a pot with water and sugar, and then reduced to form thick syrup. Though bitter, the effects of these preparations proved quite effective.
While these are the two most traditional means of preparing Wild Lettuce for use, there are a number of more modern options as well.
Wild lettuce is used for:
Wild Lettuce was originally used as a treatment for asthma. Even now, many people claim that their use of the herb is responsible for fewer and less severe asthma related problems.
Leaves are Edible
The leaves can be boiled and then used as food but they are slightly bitter like some bitter lettuce varieties.
Works Great for Pain
Wild lettuce also contains lactucopicrin and lactucin which were found in a study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology to work well for soothing pain in mice.
Helps with Arthritis
Because wild lettuce helps with pain in general… and it also helps with arthritis and joint pain.
Wild lettuce contains powerful antioxidants such as quercetin, aesculin, courmarins, n-methyl-b-phenethylamine and cichoriin which help to prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, and cancer.
If taken in normal doses for short periods of time wild lettuce is safe… but it should not be taken by those who are pregnant, nursing, or by small children, those with glaucoma or prostate disease or by those who are taking some kind of relaxant medication. And this herb should not be used while driving or operating machinery.
So use this home remedy carefully and enjoy its benefits.