Opium Poppy

A field of opium poppies in Burma.
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Botanical Name:Papaver somniferum Linn
Family Name: Papaveraceae,Papaver somniferum L.
Vernacular Name: Sans-Ahiphenam ,Hind – Aphim, Eng – opium poppy, common poppy, garden poppy, chessbolls (English), Kas-kas, kashkash, aphim, afim, afyun (Hindu)
Ahiphenam, aphukam, ahifen, chosa, khasa (Sanskrit),Pasto (Bengal) Aphina, khuskhus, posta (Gujarat), Abini, gashagasha, kasakasa (Tamil)
(names used for plants, fruit capsules, seeds and opium)

Other Name:Ahiphenam
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Papaver
Species: P. somniferum
Parts used: Seeds, seed oil, unripe capsules and flowers
Habitat:Native to Southeastern Europe and western Asia. Also known as opium poppy, the species is cultivated extensively in many countries, including Iran, Turkey, Holland, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, India, Canada, and many Asian and Central and South American countries. Reaching a height of 1.2 meters, the erect plant can have white, pink, red, or purple flowers. Seeds range in color from white to a slate shade that is called blue in commercial classifications.

Description:It is an annual herb.An opium poppy seedling (Papaver somniferum), showing two slender cotyledons and several young, developing leaves. The seed is still attached to one of the cotyledons. Note the favose-reticulate (honeycombed) seed coat. The following image shows the very pale flower that developed from these seedlings.
Flowers – with papery petals that can vary in colour from white to red or lilac with a darker purple base…..CLICK¬† & SEE THE PICTURES..
Fruits – a rounded capsule topped with the disc-like stigma remains. The liquid that is obtained from the fruit capsule contains morphine alkaloids which are dried to produce raw opium. Opium is used to manufacture medicinal drugs such as codeine and morphine, and for illegal drugs such as heroin.
Seeds – small and black, dark blue or yellow-white. The seeds are edible and tasty and are used in bakery products such as poppy-seeded bread.
The reported life zone of poppy is 7 to 23 degrees centigrade with an annual precipitation of 0.3 to 1.7 meters and a soil pH of 4.5 to 8.3 (4.1-31). The plants grow best in rich, moist soil and tend to be frost sensitive.

A latex  containing several important alkaloids is obtained from immature seed capsules one to three weeks after flowering. Incisions are made in the walls of the green seed pods, and the milky exudation is collected and dried. Opium and the isoquinoline alkaloids morphine, codeine, noscapine, papaverine, and thebaine are isolated from the dried material. The poppy seeds and fixed oil that can be expressed from the seed are not narcotic, because they develop after the capsule has lost the opium-yielding potential (11.1-128). Total yield of alkaloids is dependent on light, temperature, the plant species, and the time of harvest (5.2-4).

You may click to learn :->How to grow Opium Poppy
Varieties:-
Papaver somniferum is a species of plant with many sub-groups or varieties. Colors of the flower vary widely, as do other physical characteristics such as number and shape of petals, number of pods, production of morphine, etc.

Papaver somniferum Paeoniflorum Group (sometimes called Papaver paeoniflorum) is a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double, and are grown in many colors. Papaver somniferum Laciniatum Group (sometimes called Papaver laciniatum) is a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double and deeply lobed, to the point of looking like a ruffly pompon.

A few of the varieties, notably the Norman and Przemko varieties, have low morphine content (less than one percent), but have much higher concentrations of other alkaloids. Most varieties, however, including those most popular for ornamental use or seed production, have a higher morphine content, with the average content being 10%

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Uses:The Opium Poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the type of poppy from which opium and many refined opiates, including morphine, thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine, are extracted. The binomial name means, loosely, the “sleep-bringing poppy“, referring to its narcotic properties. The seeds are important food items, and contain healthy oils used in salads worldwide. The plant itself is valuable for ornamental purposes.

Properties:The petals are bitter, expectorant, sudorific and sedative, and are useful in coughs. The opium obtained from the fruits is constipating, bitter, astringent, sweet, aphrodisiac, sedative, narcotic, anodyne, antispasmodic, sudorific and nervineonic.
Medicinal Uses:In India and Turkey, opium production is used for medicinal purposes, making poppy-based drugs, such as morphine or codeine, for domestic use or exporting raw poppy materials to other countries. The United States buys 80 percent of its medicinal opium from these two countries.
In Ayurveda it is emaciating, astringent; efficacious in deranged kapha but excites vata and pitta anticovulsant, sedative, narcotic, diaphoretic, analgesic, used in urinary troubles,cough, bronchial diseases, diarrhoea; styptic.
A recent initiative to extend opium production for medicinal purposes called Poppy for Medicine was launched by The Senlis Council which proposes that Afghanistan could produce medicinal opium under a scheme similar to that operating in Turkey and India (see the Council’s recent report “Poppy for Medicine” ). The Council proposes licensing poppy production in Afghanistan, within an integrated control system supported by the Afghan government and its international allies, in order to promote economic growth in the country, create vital drugs and combat poverty and the diversion of illegal opium to drug traffickers and terrorist elements. Interestingly, Senlis is on record advocating reintroduction of poppy into areas of Afghanistan, specifically Kunduz, which has been poppy free for some time.

It is useful in cough,’ ophthalmitis, otitis and proctalgia and coxalgia due to diarrhoea and dysentery. It is also good for internal haemorrhages.

The seeds are sweet, constipating, aphrodisiac and tonic. They are ground in cold water and administered in diarrhoea and dysentery.

Vapours of boiling water, mixed with small doses of opium, is. useful in conjunctivitis. Camphorated opium is an excellent pain-killer in sprain. However, it is contraindicated for people suffering from asthma, cardiac diseases and urinary disorder. Poppy seeds are demulcent, nutritive and mild astringent; beneficial in cough and asthma.

Seed oil, freed from narcotic principles, is useful in diarrhoea and dysentery

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm
http://www.opioids.com/poppy.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_poppy
http://www.plantcultures.org/plants/opium_poppy_plant_profile.html

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