Wild Lettuce Lactuca Virosa/Lactuca serriola Medicianal Uses
Wild Lettuce and Prickly Lettuce both aka Opium Lettuce, or both excellent natural painkillers. Pain is a symptom of almost every ailment that we are afflicted by. Without pain we would not know that anything is even in need of being addressed. However, once we recognize the issue the pain becomes a burden that we would rather do without.
Wild lettuce has been used for centuries by many people as a non-addictive prescription pain medicine and even today should be a great alternative to addictive opioids. So, where does this plant live and how can you recognize it?
Wild lettuce unfortunately isn't native to North America. It grows natively throughout much of Europe, Pakistan, India and Australia. In North America both species have invaded and one or both can now be found almost everywhere in the USA!
Wild lettuce is a tall plant that produces small yellow buds. It grows easily to 3, 4 or more feet tall. The plant, like many others have a bitter milky sap. Here are a few pictures of each to help you identify them in the field.
This milky substance is called lactucarium and the source of the pain killer. It affects the central nervous system, but it contain no opioids. Despite the potency of the plant its effects seem to have been forgotten. It is strange how something with such a widespread use and effectiveness can be so quickly forgotten and wiped from modern memory.
There are three ways to get the pain relieving properties of the plant. One is to pick a bunch of the leaves from the plant and place in a pot after first cutting the leaves into very small pieces. Then, cover the leaves with a water. Heat the pot, but be careful to not let the water boil, as that would break down the chemicals and render the concoction useless. After you have evaporated much of the water, strain out the leaves from the remaining liquid. Now heat it some more to concentrate the remaining liquid until it starts to become syrupy and thick. Remove from heat and store in a jar.
Another method is too dry the leaves and grind up to use as a herbal tea.
The third method is too dry the leaves and smoke them like a cigarette.
Other uses of the plant are anxiety control, asthma and cough suppressant.