Wild Lettuce Powder: Overview
Although wild lettuce might sound like a leafy salad green, this common herb is anything but that. Found all over Europe, India and North America, wild lettuce is a prickly, leafy herb that’s most commonly used in teas, capsules, and tinctures. The herb – which is also known as bitter lettuce or opium lettuce – exudes a milky latex, which is believed to provide pain-relieving properties.
Dried wild lettuce powder is commonly used in soothing tea blends or capsules, the powder may provide several health benefits, including pain relief, sedation, and calming.
Wild Lettuce Benefits
Wild lettuce has gained a reputation for being a natural painkiller for its production of a latex called lactucarium, which is believed to have analgesic and sedative properties. Therefore, it’s commonly used in teas and tinctures.
The prickly lettuce is traditionally used for:
- Pain Relief – Wild lettuce is known as “opium lettuce” but it does not contain any opiates. Instead, its primary chemical is lactucarium, a mild pain reliever similar to ibuprofen. As a tincture, tea or in capsule form, the powder may promote pain relief, and it is commonly used to treat migraines and menstrual cramps.
- Sedative – The herb is believed to be a sedative and is frequently blended in teas for those suffering from insomnia or anxiety. Fortunately, the herb does not disrupt the digestive system (unlike opium). Add some to your chamomile blend to bring on sleep faster.
- Respiratory Health – Wild lettuce can help to soothe bronchial irritation and is used as a natural treatment for asthma. The herb is believed to help loosen mucus and promote more productive coughs.
Wild lettuce tea preparation
To prepare the tea, add 1-2 teaspoons into 1 cup using a small sifter pour water just under a boil over the powder and let steep for a couple of minutes. Add honey or sugar as a sweetening agent if you so desire.
History of Wild Lettuce
Wild lettuce has been used since ancient times. The Egyptians, for example, believed wild lettuce to be an aphrodisiac. In fact, Min, the Egyptian god of fertility, is associated with the herb, appearing in pictographs with the plant’s leaves and stalks. To this day, wild lettuce oil is used in Egypt in folk medicines, and as an aphrodisiac.
Beyond Egypt, wild lettuce was also popular in Ancient Rome. Pliny the Elder may have praised wild lettuce as the “twelve gods herb,” which he used as a cure-all for several conditions. And Emperor Augustus built an altar to honor the herb, after it was used to treat his asthma.
In modern times, wild lettuce has always had medical significance. In 1792, an American physician patented a process for harvesting the plant’s milky latex, which he used in several pain relievers. And throughout the 1800s, doctors used wild lettuce when opium couldn’t be obtained.
Wild lettuce – or Lactuca quercina – is a member of the sunflower family, and it grows wildly in Europe and parts of North America. The herb grows to about three feet in height and produces a weak, dull green stem.
The leaves of the plant are toothed and narrow and typically produce about 8 heads with yellow flowers. The entire plant makes the milky sap, which oozes out when a leaf or stalk is broken. The fluid hardens when it comes in contact with air.
Wild lettuce grows in many locales, and it’s very adaptable. The plant is found in woodlands, grasslands, and it prefers full sun. Typically, the leaves and stems are harvested in early summer, when the plant has gone to bloom. And the leaves are removed and dehydrated. Harvesters usually use stems and roots to make tinctures, as these parts produce the most sap.
About Our Wild Lettuce
Our wild lettuce or prickly lettuce is grown and harvested in Albania. Our growers have in-depth knowledge of the plant, and regularly produce a dried leaf that’s high in essential oil content. The powder is great for tea blends, in tinctures, or for use in capsules. We grind our wild lettuce right here in our facility in South Florida.
Why Burma Spice?
Quality and convenience are not mutually exclusive! Don’t settle for lackluster flavors in store-bought brands when gourmet quality is just a click away. Burma Spice is dedicated to bringing you the most amazing spices on the planet; most of our spices are imported from different parts of the world. We pack them carefully and ship them directly to your front door. All our spices are 100% PURE, contain no preservatives, no artificial chemicals, and they are Kosher certified.