Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) is related to traditional lettuce. It is also known as Opium lettuce, great lettuce or bitter lettuce. It grows in grassy places like roads, canals, and on banks near the sea, vacant lots, cracks in sidewalks, and other waste places. Its leaves, which are similar to dandelion leaves, are rich dark green with more than 5 florets. Also, a single plant may have multiple flowers that normally takes place from July until September.
This plant is considered a prickly plant and has been traditionally used to treat a variety of diseases. Wild lettuce secretes a milky white ingredient known as lactucarium when it is scratched or cut. This ingredient contains lactucin and lactucopicrin which are bitter substances that act on the central nervous system to produce pain-relieving effects. According to research, these effects are as strong as opium but with fewer side effects. Opium is a pain-relieving agent which is commonly used from ancient times. When dried, wild lettuce resembles opium. Additionally, the lettuce also contains traces of hyoscyamine, which is probably responsible for its sedative effects.
Aside from pain, wild lettuce is also known for its ability to promote numerous health benefits. Listed below are some of it:
- Help treat urinary tract infection
- Decreases symptoms of anxiety and manic behavior
- Improves sleep patterns and prevent insomnia
- Stops tension and pain in the muscles
- Manage asthma symptoms and support respiratory health
- Reduces the frequency and severeness of migraine headaches.
- Calms restlessness and excitability in children
- Treats sexual disorders
- Kills germs when the latex is applied to the skin
- Aids with circulation and boost energy levels
- Minimizes menstrual cramps
- Calms excessive drive in men and women (nymphomania)
- Lowers inflammation and joint pain
2 Ways To Enjoy The Benefits Of Wild Lettuce
To reap these numerous health benefits, consume wild lettuce in several ways.
1. Brew a powerful tea or make an infusion of the leaves. It is recommended to drink 2 to 3 cups of tea made with two teaspoons of chopped leaves or stems of wild lettuce.
2. Make tinctures by dissolving dried wild lettuce sap in alcohol or directly extracting the milky sap from the stems of this plant