White Poppy (Ying Su Qiao)
Botanical Name: Western – Papaver somniferum, var. Album. Eastern – Pericarpium Papaveris.
Sedating, Hypnotic and Poisonous! White Poppy (aka the Opium Poppy) has been used in Europe and the Far East for many thousands of years. There is no better sedating and hypnotic drug. It is best used to treat pain. The drugs Morphine, Thebaine, Noscapine, and Codeine are all made from the plant’s two principal alkaloids. Often forgotten are the plant’s other medicinal properties that also mark it as a good astringent, used to treat chronic diarrhea and dysentery. It is also known for its expectorant and antispasmodic abilities.
Below is an overview of White Poppy (Ying Su Qiao), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of White Poppy (Ying Su Qiao).
Western Name: White Poppy
Also Known As: Opium Poppy, Mawseed, Herb of Joy
Organs/Systems: Nervous System, Lungs, Stomach
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Analgesic, Sedating, Hypnotic, Antispasmodic, Expectorant, Astringent. Pain, induces sleep, anxiety, congested lungs, eases violent purgings and vomiting.
Pin Yin: Ying Su Qiao
Also Known As: White Poppy Capsule, Ying su Ke, Mi Qiao
Meridians: Lung, Large Intestine, Kidney
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Astringes the Intestines: chronic diarrhea, dysentery, vaginal discharge. Astringes the Lungs: chronic cough. Alleviates Pain.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Capsules, Flowers
Flavors/Temps: Sour, Astringent, Neutral, Toxic
Caution: Highly poisonous and addicting.
History/Folklore: Opium is extracted from the poppy heads before they ripen. When the petals have fallen from the flowers, cuts are made into the wall of unripe capsules, without penetrating the interior, the exuded juice is then partially dried before scrapping. These scrapings are formed into cakes wrapped in poppy leaves or paper, then dried in the sun. The white milky juice will continue to dry and darken during this process until it is ready to be used.
The 17th century English herbalist, Culpepper recommended a syrup made of the leaves and flowers to treat pleurisy.
A decoction made from the bruised capsules and distilled water, is not used internally, but externally, to be applied for pain.
The heads boiled in water are used to make as strong a decoction as possible and then boiled with sugar. Called syrup of diacodium, this mixture is gentler and safer than opium or laudanum (another derivative of opium) as a sleep aid.
The word opium is derived from the Greek word opus, meaning juice. The Latin botanical name translates as “sleep-bringing poppy.” In ancient Sumeria, it was referred to as the “joy plant.”
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, poppy seeds are used to astringe the lungs and large intestines and to relieve pain. The capsules are used to treat several conditions, including chronic coughing and diarrhea. The capsules are often honey-fried to treat coughs and treated with vinegar to treat bleeding, pain, and diarrhea.
Poppy seeds are an important food item and the source of poppy seed oil. The seeds and oil contain very low levels of opiates. They are not addictive and are often used for culinary purposes.
White poppy is often grown in succession to wheat and barley. They are planted in late March or April. Even a few nights of dew can spoil the color of the ripening fruit and heavy winds can also cause a lot of destruction.
Alkaloids (including Morphine, Thebaine, Codeine and Oripavine).
Not for Animals
Opium and morphine do not produce the same calming effects in animals as they do with humans. It is only used externally as a balm to relieve pain and spasms in animals.
Symbol of Pacifism
The White Poppy is a symbol used to represent remembrance for victims of all wars, peace, and a challenge to not glamorise or celebrate war.
Opium is not very quickly absorbed, if a poisonous dose is swallowed, the stomach needs to be emptied as soon as possible and then washed with a solution of potassium permanganate.
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