Wild poppy: characteristics, properties and use

Wild poppy: characteristics, properties and use

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The wild poppy it is so called because its name derives from the Celtic, from the word papa which means "baby food", intended as baby food. Once the latex of this plant was in fact mixed with food then given to children, it seems that it gave peaceful and long sleep, for the sake of their parents.

This annual herbaceous plant grows spontaneously almost everywhere, in Asia, Africa and Europe, in general in the temperate climate zones, we can speak of cosmopolitan plants. Its scientific name is Papaver rhoeas and belongs to the Papaveraceae family.

Wild poppy: characteristics

This plant emits as a whole a strong smell and produces the white, acrid milky juice mentioned above because of its use with children. Like the opium poppy, even the wild poppy can boast a slight narcotic effect even if much less marked.

There poppy root it is white, taproot, and then divides into many smaller roots, always light in color. When it appears, this plant has the shape of a rosette made up of leaves, then in the months the stems that will hold the flower begin to sprout. It is about straight and rather tall, hairy and branched stems. They even reach a meter in height.

The rosette at the base of the plant consists of long oval-shaped leaves with long petioles and serrated margins. Some leaves also appear on the stems but they are different, smaller and with an almost non-existent petiole.
We come to the flowers which are the most interesting part. They sprout one at a time, each on top of a stem, supported by long peduncles. They are always composed of two sepals that fall giving way to four red petals very intense, the red that we all associate with poppy. There is usually also a black spot at the base.

The flowers of the wild poppy are hermaphrodites, like all those of the Papaveraceae. Having no nectar, therefore, they entrust pollination to the insects that arrive on these flowers especially thanks to the bright colors. There are also poppies fruits, are inconspicuous, they have the form of ovoid capsules. Just inside the fruits we find the seeds and when strong winds arrive, they spread in the environment as the pores are located in the upper part of the capsule which, once ripe, does not fold.

Wild poppy: properties

In this plant, also called corn poppy, we can find numerous active principles including alkaloids such as readin, reagiin, rearubin I and II; tannins; mucilage; dyes; anthocyanins.

When you carve the capsule, it secretes some latex which contains all these substances, it happens exactly like with papaver somniferum but the latex of ours wild poppy it's not quite as dangerous, this doesn't mean it shouldn't be treated with caution. In fact, if taken in excessive doses, even this latex can cause intoxication and poisoning so it is better to be very careful to respect the recommended doses.

The whole plant of the corn poppy it can be used, harvested before flowering, but what is mostly used are the petals of the flower, bright red. Between May and July, the moment of flowering, we can pick them and immediately put them to dry in a warm, dark and ventilated environment. When dried, the petals are even redder and must be placed in airtight glass or porcelain containers to be kept in the dark.

Wild poppy: use

The wild poppy is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. In the kitchen you can use hers sprouts, for example putting them raw in a salad, or leaving them cook in soups or with polenta. Those with a sweet tooth can also prepare pancakes with a batter of eggs and flour.

Also for internal use, we can take the petals and prepare an infusion or a decoction with a light sedative effect. As we have already seen in the previous paragraph, i petals, like latex, they have calming and slightly narcotic properties linked to the presence of alkaloids, so hot drinks with wild poppy petals are often recommended to combat insomnia, persistent cough, whooping cough and bronchial asthma. The same infusion with poppy petals could also be useful for external use, to heal earache or to treat mental abscesses.

For external use, the flowers can be used for poultices with anti-inflammatory power, to be carried out on the eyelids or in the areas where it is needed due to wrinkles. It is easy to prepare them, just soak 50 grams of flowers in half a liter of boiling water for half an hour and then filter and squeeze the flowers well. In this way, you get the liquid you need to make compresses in the morning and in the evening for a few days.

Thanks to the presence of anthocyanins, i petals become excellent as dyes. For example, we can soak a sweater in a decoction of flowers left to infuse for a few hours and then boil it for three quarters of an hour and cool. Potassium alum is used as a mordant.

There are no active ingredients in the seeds, they are the only part of the plant that is completely devoid of them, but this does not mean they should be thrown away, quite the contrary. I'm edible, therefore they are used for sweets and bakery, and to extract an oil considered very valuable and excellent as a soothing and emollient.

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Video: Wild Poppy: Behind the Scent. NEST Fragrances (June 2022).


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