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Herbs & Plants

Lactuca virosa

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Botanical Name : Lactuca virosa
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. virosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names:Wild Lettuce, Bitter lettuce, Laitue vireuse, Opium Lettuce, Poisonous Lettuce, or Rakutu-Karyumu-So.

Habitat : Lactuca virosa is found in  Europe, including Britain, from Belgium south and west to N. Africa, Central Russia and W. Asia.It is also found in the Punjab Region of Pakistan India and Australia where it grows in the wild.

Description:
Lactuca virosa is an  annual  or biennial  plant and is   similar to prickly lettuce Lactuca serriola but taller – it can grow to 200 cm. It is also stouter, the stem and leaves are more purple flushed,[disputed – discuss] the leaves are less divided, but more spreading.

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It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
The achene is purple black, without bristles at the tip. The pappus is the same as Lactuca serriola.

Cultivation :   
Prefers a light sandy loam and a sunny position. The wild lettuce is cultivated as a medicinal plant in many areas of Europe.

Propagation :    
Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses:      
Leaves are eaten  raw or cooked. Very tender. A mild flavoured oil, used in cooking, is obtained from the seeds.

Constituents:
A latex which is called lactucarium can be derived from the extract of the stem secretions of Lactuca virosa. Oils and extracts can also be produced from L. virosa. These oils and extracts have sedative properties in rodents. They may be added to tea to help induce sleep. While its use as a galactagogue (a substance that increases breast milk) has been reported, the sedative effects on the baby would strongly argue against its use for this purpose. Many add the greens to salads, though the leaves of L. virosa are more bitter than other salad greens. Smoking involves either dried leaves or a sticky precipitate extracted from the leaves. Beverages can be prepared by soaking the leaves in alcohol.

The plant contains flavonoids, coumarins, and N-methyl-?-phenethylamine.[unreliable source?] A variety of other chemical compounds have been isolated from L. virosa. One of the compounds, lactucin, is an adenosine receptor agonist in vitro, while another, lactucopicrin, has been shown to act as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor in vitro

Medicinal Uses:.

Anodyne;  Antispasmodic;  Digestive;  Homeopathy;  Hypnotic;  Narcotic;  Sedative;  Tonic.

The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. This species is probably the richest supply of lactucarium. The plant also contains ‘hyoscyamine’, a powerful depressant of the parasympathetic nervous system. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of chronic catarrh, coughs, swollen liver, flatulence and ailments of the urinary tract.

Wild lettuce is a valuable remedy for insomnia and muscular arthritis. The common name “lettuce opium“, as it was known in the earlier official pharmacopoeias, refers to the potent milky latex produced by the stems and leaves. There has been a recent internet driven surge of popularity of wild lettuce as a recreational herb, however wild lettuce will disappoint those only looking for a legal high similar to opium. The powers that be have outlawed all the truly narcotic herbs, leaving only the less potent ones available to use without fear of running afoul of the law. That said, this relaxing and sedative herb can be a ally for those needing help to induce sleep, and calm restlessness.

Known Hazards:
Poisonous. Cases of poisoning caused by this plant have only been recorded very rarely.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactuca_virosa
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail364.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+virosa

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Herbs & Plants

Lactuca

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Botanical Name : Lactuca ludoviciana
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :Lactuca,Lettuce,Larkspur, Western Wild Lettuce, Biannual lettuce

Habitat :
Lactuca is native to Eastern N. America – Manitoba to Wisconsin and southwards. It grows on prairies, low ground and roadsides. Usually found in calcareous soils.
The genus includes about 100 species, distributed worldwide, but mainly in temperate Eurasia.

You may click to see the names of species

Description:It is a Biennial herb,(some of them are annuals or perennials out of 100 specis.) growing to a height 3-6 feet

click to see the pictures….>…..(01).…....(1).….…(2).…..…(3)..……..(4).…….(5)..
Stems:   Erect, usually unbranched below, glabrous, containing sticky, brownish latex.

Leaves:   Alternate, simple to pinnately lobed, sessile or clasping, ovate to obovate, 8 to 12 inches long, 2 to 4 inches wide; midribs on underside of blades sometimes bristly; margins conspicuously spiny-toothed.

Inflorescences:   Panicles, open, cone-shaped; heads terminal, 50-100 heads; bracts lance-shaped, about 1/2 inch long.

Flowers:   Ray florets 20-30, light blue, pale yellow, or bluish with yellow tips; disk florets absent.

Fruits:   Achenes, flat, dark brown, enclosing small seed; beaks thread-like, tipped with numerous white bristles.

Flowering Period:   July, August, September.

Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. Hybridizes in the wild with L. canadensis and the two species can sometimes be difficult to separate.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses: Young leaves – raw or cooked

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium‘, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.

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.kswildflower.org/flower_details.php?flowerID=59

http://search.myway.com/search/GGcached.jhtml?pg=GGmain&ord=4&action=click&searchfor=Lactuca%2Bludoviciana%2529%253A&curl=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FLactuca&isDirResults=false&tpr=sbt&cid=J85CBUvtjl4J&st=site&ct=GC

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+ludoviciana

 

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Herbs & Plants

Blue Lettuce

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Botanical Name : Lactuca pulchella
Family :Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Lactuca L. – lettuce
Species: Lactuca tatarica (L.) C.A. Mey. – blue lettuce
Variety:Lactuca tatarica (L.) C.A. Mey. var. pulchella (Pursh) Breitung – blue lettuce
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Lactuca tatarica (Linnaeus) C.A. Meyer subsp. pulchella (Pursh) A.P. de Candolle
*Mulgedium pulchellum (Pursh) G. Don
*Sonchus pulchellus Pursh

Common Name : Blue Lettuce,Chicory Lettuce

Habitat:
In Michigan this species is native only to Isle Royale, where it occurs in rocky openings on ridges. It is adventive elsewhere in the state. In other portions of its range, this species inhabits moist prairies, meadows, clearings, and riverbanks. The Isle Royale populations have not been collected since 1930.

Description:
General: plant with milky sap, 20-100 cm tall.
Growth habit: perennial from white, deep-seated, creeping root, often growing in patches.
Stems: erect, hairless or almost so.
Leaves: alternate, narrowly lance-shaped, 5-18 cm
long and 6-35 mm wide, entire, or the lower ones more or
less with triangular, backward-pointig lobes or sharply
toothed, often with waxy coating beneath.
Flowerheads: blue, showy, about 2 cm wide, with
18-50 ray florets only, several in open clusters. Involucre
15-20 mm high in fruit, with overlapping bracts in 3 rows.
Flowering time: June-September.
Fruits: achenes, 4-7 mm long, the slender body
moderately compressed, prominently several-nerved on
each face, the beak stout, often whitish, equaling or less
than half as long as the body. Pappus of white, hair-like
bristles.
CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. This species is considered to be a noxious weed in N. America where it spreads freely by suckers in cultivated ground – even a small portion of the root can regenerate to form a new plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a greenhouse, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Root cuttings in spring.

Edible uses:
Young leaves – raw or cooked – of blue lettuce have been eaten by Native tribes. A gum obtained from the roots is used for chewing. However, caution should be used, because of the mild narcotic properties of the plant.

Medicinal Uses:
A tea of the roots and stems has been used by the Okanagan-Colville Indians of British Columbia in the treatment of diarrhea in children. Hemorrhoids have been treated by applying a moist, usually warm or hot mass of plant material. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap, containing ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its mildly pain-relieving, antispasmodic, digestive, urination-inducing, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has mild narcotic effects. It has been taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts. An infusion of the roots and stems has been given to children in the treatment of diarrhea. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Other Uses: The Gum has several uses.

Precautions:
The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness, excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis.

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://montana.plant-life.org/species/lactuca_tatari.htm
http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/explorer/species.cfm?id=13578
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LATAP
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.wnmu.edu/academic/nspages/gilaflora/lactuca_pulchella.html

http://www.wildstaudenzauber.de/Seiten/Praerie.html

http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Fletcher-FarmWeeds/pages/033-Blue-lettuce/411×764-q75.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+pulchella

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