How to Use Opium Poppy


The bright red corn poppy is a familiar sight in un-sprayed wheatfields and likes to grow on disturbed land, such as ploughed or battle ground. From European battles of the 17th century until the First World War, the appearance of poppies on the battle­field has given rise to the idea that they spring from the blood of the fallen.

How to Use Opium Poppy Opium Poppy

In Greek mythology, the opium poppy was an attribute of the goddess Demeter, who was called Ceres the corn goddess by the Romans. Demeter was so grief-stricken when Hades took her daughter Persephone away to the underworld that she turned to the soporific effects of the opium poppy (whose Greek name nepenthes means ‘that potent destroyer of grief) to ease her pain and soothe her to sleep. Zeus persuaded Hades to let Persephone return from the underworld after each winter for two-thirds of the year, when the seeds were sprouting and the flowers were coming out, to live with Demeter, the earth goddess who bestowed fertility on fields. Thus the poppy came to represent the renewal of life, regener­ation, and activity after sleep. The fact that the poppy seed head contains an enormous number of seeds was another reason for its reputation for giving life and its association with fertility and Demeter. Because of its association with sleep and the under­world, the Greeks also consecrated the poppy to Nyx, goddess of night and Morpheus, god of dreams. In the language of flowers the red poppy means extravagance and consolation; the opium poppy means sleep.

The twin themes of sleep, and of blood and circu­lation, tun through the use of the poppy in healing. Opium extracted from the seed capsule latex contains the powerful alkaloid morphine. No other plant drug has played such a role in world events, underlying wars and world-wide organized crime. Morphine is still used for pain relief, particularly post-operatively and in cancer. It acts on the circula­tion by engorging the blood vessels of the brain. In small amounts this has a transitory exhilarating effect as the mind floats free and ‘the imagination has full play. With repeated or larger doses, it produces sleepiness and eventually stupor. Thus it takes away the awareness of pain. It also affects the muscles of the body, in small doses causing relaxation while in larger quantities causing paralysis, so that for example it can relieve griping and diarrhoea, but can lead to bowel inertia.

Herbal remedy

The opium poppy is unsafe for internal use because of its highly addictive nature. The red corn poppy also has soporific qualities, but its main ingredient rheadine, while soothing and sedative, is not addic­tive. Cooks use the seeds for seasoning bread; the red petals and seeds can be used to aid relaxation, calm excitement and induce sleep. They make a good gargle for sore throats and tonsillitis, and an expecto­rant for chest complaints. The leaves soothe and relax spasm in the chest, act to sedate the cough reflex and are helpful in irritating coughs, croup and whooping cough, bronchitis and pleurisy. They soothe and relax spasm in the stomach and intestines, and relieve pain of nervous origin such as headaches, shingles and neuralgia. Their astringent properties are useful when treating diarrhoea.

Homeopathic remedy: Opium

Opium is used for insensitivity of the nervous system, painless symptoms, sleepiness, lethargy, lack of vital reaction, even stupor. It has also been used for cases of typhoid, cholera infantum and stroke.

How to Use Opium Poppy Opium Poppy 5

The flower essence

Opium poppy can be used to help find a balance in daily life between activity and rest, the spiritual and the physical, evolution and being.

The oriental poppy is used for escapists who find it hard to face up to the realities of life and tend to live in the world of the imagination and dreams. It helps you find strength to live in the present. The field poppy is for those who are fearful of expressing strong emotions such as anger. It lends courage to assert yourself, to express your feelings in all their colours, and to shine like the bright red poppy.

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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