Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa)

Lactuca virosa, wild lettuce, or opium lettuce, is closely related to common lettuce and contains lactucarium. Lactucarium is also known as lettuce opium because of its sedative and analgesic properties similar to those of opium. It has been reported to promote a mild sensation of euphoria.


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Lactuca virosa can be used as a sedative. It also produces dreamy effects that are similar to opium, but milder. Wild lettuce can help reduce the feeling of restlessness and excitability.

Some Indians use the herb to enhance the vividness of dreams. They believe that induced dream states provide more information about reality than the conscious waking state.


Wild lettuce is to be used as tea: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times daily.

Another method is to make an extract. Soak 100 grams of wild lettuce herb for 8 hours in warm but not boiling water. Then sift and press all the liquid out of the wild lettuce. Put the dark liquid in a pan and let it evaporate. Putting the pan in a bigger pan with boiling water will avoid burning the wild lettuce while drying. What is left is a kind of gum that can be used like opium.

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