Red Poppy Petals – Papaver rhoeas – Traditional Herbal Uses
Papaver rhoeas from which Red Poppy Petals are obtained are also called the Common Poppy, Corn Poppy, Corn Rose, Field Poppy Flanders Poppy or just Red Poppy is an annual herbaceous species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy is commonly thought ofas an agricultural weed (hence the common names including “corn” and “field”) but after World War I, The Great War, as a symbol of armistice and remembrance (but not in all countries)
Traditional Uses for Red Poppy Petals:-
The flowers of the corn poppy have a very long tradition of medicinal usage, especially for ailments in the elderly and young children.
They are mainly regarded (in syrup) as a mild pain reliever and as a treatment for irritable coughs but also help to reduce children’s nervous over-activity. Unlike the related opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) they are non-addictive. However, the plant does contain alkaloids, which are still under investigation, regarded as very very slightly narcotic and so should only be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist.
The flowers and petals are anodyne, emollient, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypnotic, slightly narcotic and sedative.
An infusion is usually taken internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints and coughs, insomnia, poor digestion, nervous digestive disorders and minor painful conditions. The flowers are also used in the treatment of jaundice.
The petals are harvested as the flowers open and are dried for later use. They should be collected on a dry day and can be dried or more frequently made into a syrup. The latex in the seedpods is narcotic and slightly sedative. It can be used in very small quantities, and under expert supervision, as a sleep-inducing drug. The leaves and seeds are tonic. They are useful in the treatment of low fevers.
They are frequently used in Pot Pourri simply because they are pretty and keep their colour well when dried properly.
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Papaver Rhoeas is very slightly narcotic. The chief constituent of the fresh petals is the red colouring matter, which consists of Rhoeadic and Papaveric acids. This colour is much darkened by alkalis.
All parts of the plant contain the crystalline non-poisonous alkaloid Rhoeadine. The amount of active ingredients is very small and rather uncertain in quantity. There is great controversy as to the presence of Morphine. Also it has not been determined whether Meconic Acid, which is present in opium, is a constituent.