Wild lettuce is a plant popular in the past for its medicinal properties that seems to have been forgotten in our lifetimes. It was used as a substitute for opium in the 1880's, sometimes referred to as 'poor man's opium'.
It was used by the Hopi Indians to induce mild euphoric states and is still used today in France as a mild sedative.
It looks like a cross between a dandelion and a thistle, and has the property of being able to relieve pain successfully due to its resinous milky sap
Lactucarium is the name for the dried out plant sap, and the main active compounds of lactucarium are called lactupicrin, lactucin and lactucopicrin, which have been shown in mice to provide the same pain relief equivalent to ibuprofen.
Research has shown the the plant was used around the Victorian period in and is backed up by the paper Medicinal Plant in Polish Publications of the 19th Century, the Institute for the History of Science affirmed, “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”.
Although the lettuce does not contain opium, it has the same pain relieving properties.
Uses for Wild Lettuce
Wild Lettuce has a mild sedative effect which makes it great for anxiety.
Sleep and Insomnia:
Wild Lettuce has long been used to treat insomnia.
To relieve Pain and Tension:
Wild Lettuce is also called opium lettuce because of its opiate like effect. Not only does it reduce pain, it has been known to cause a mild opiate like high. This quality makes it very useful in relieving pain.
For Migraine / Headaches:
Wild Lettuce is believed to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
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.
As a mild Euphoric
One of the most prominent reasons people choose Wild Lettuce is for the opiate like effect. Wild Lettuce causes a feeling of mild euphoria very similar to opiates, though it contains no actual opiates. Not only is this completely legal, it provides an affect similar to opiates without altering the results of a drug test.
Eating large doses of opium lettuce can cause nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and dizziness. So, it is probably best not to use it in a salad.
How to Use Opium Lettuce
When a stem or leaf from a wild Lettuce plant is broken or cut, it will bleed a thick milky sap. This sap can be made into an alcohol tincture, (Lactucarium) or the fresh leaves and flowering tops can be tinctured, or dried and made taken as teas,smoked or less often in capsule form. Approximately 1.5 grams of opium lettuce sap is typically infused in a tea. It is alleged to have a sweet taste. Only about 0.25 grams are smoked in a pipe. It is considerably more potent when smoked.