Wild lettuce is a plant with psychotropic effects that is described to be similar to that of opium. Unlike opium, the plant does not have the same calming power. However, it also does not cause stomach pains, constipation or diarrhea like opium products do. It can be found in various places such as the south east and east of England, Punjab regions of Pakistan, India and Australia. It has recently been documented to have been introduced in North America.
Back in the 19th century, physicians used the plant as substitute for opium. It was studied extensively by the 1911 Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. By 1970, the plant had a resurgence in the United States. Today, the Food and Drug Administration has declared that the plant is legal to grow, purchase, and own without prescription or license.
The plant is known under many other names such as Acrid Lettuce, Bitter Lettuce, and Green Endive. Less commonly used names include German Lactucarium, Lactuca virosa, Laitue à Opium, and Laitue Sauvage, Scariole and Serriole.
The wild lettuce is believed to treat the following conditions:
- Whooping cough
- Problems in the urinary tract
- Pain and tension
- Migraine or headaches
- Excitability in children
- Pain during menstruation
- Excessive sex drive in women
- Pain in the joints and muscles
- Poor circulation
- Genital swelling
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
According to health professionals, extra precaution must be taken by those who choose to use supplements or drugs containing this ingredient. This is especially true for pregnant women and those with an enlarged prostate, allergy to ragweed or related plants, narrow-angle glaucoma, and those undergoing surgery.
This ingredient is commonly used for its hallucinogenic effect. It could also be found in cough treatment preparations as it is often used as an opium substitute.
The key component of the plant is a milky substance called lactucarium, which is found in its stem and leaves. Lactucarium is responsible for the plant’s sedative and pain relieving effects. Although its effects are said to be similar to opium, lactucarium does not have actual opiates. This is why the plant is also commonly used for its hallucinogenic effects. When taken regularly, studies show that the plant seems to have consistent positive effects on an individual’s overall health.
Wild lettuce has many health and even recreational benefits. Known for its sedative and pain-relieving effects, it can be an effective ally for you when you are experiencing the abovementioned conditions.