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To the common man, it is a popular narcotic which is the source of Heroin and many other alkaloids used for illegal drug trading. In medicine, its derivative morphine is a potent pain relieving alkaloid.
The latex obtained from the poppy seed pods is the source of its most potent alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, phenanthrine and many more opioids.
In Ayurveda, Afeem or poppy as commonly known is an effective herbal medicine with a variety of uses and fast action on the human body organs.
Afeem or Poppy seeds or Opium belongs to the Papaveracea family and its latin name is Papaver Somniferum.
It has been considered as a mild toxin in many Ayurvedic texts.
Common synonyms of Papaver Somniferum
- Hindi name – Postha, Khas – Khas
- Sanskrit name – Ahifena, Nagaphena, Afook, Ahiphenak, Tila,Tila bheda.
- Bengali name – Postodheri
- Kannada name – Gasagase
- Telugu name – Nalla Mandu
It is a widely grown plant in India, Europe, Turkey and Persia. It prefers temperate climates and plenty of sunlight and rainfall.
- Guna (Characteristics)
- Ruksha (Dry)
- Sukshma (Minute)
- Vyavayi (Spreads to all Body Parts Swiftly).
- Rasa (Taste)
- Tikta (Pungent)
- Kashaya (Astringent)
- Vipaka (After Taste that Develops Post Digestion)
- Katu (Pungent)
- Virya (Potency)
- Ushna (Hot Potency)
The latex obtained from Poppy seed pods helps to balance kapha and vata doshas while poppy seeds pacify vata and increase kapha body energy.
So by using different plant parts a lot of health benefits can be obtained with this subtoxic but highly beneficial herb.
As per Ayurveda, toxins from plants like Poppy, Aconite etc. have great medicinal use and if used judicially can help to solve many kinds of health issues of human beings. These toxins can also help neutralize toxic effects of other more harmful and possibly fatal venoms, thus making them very important for us.
COMMON PROPERTIES OF THE HERB
Afeem can be processed judicially for the maintenance of strength and immunity. It is very heavy for the digestion, but may help in pacifying gastritis due to deranged pitta in the body.
Due its pacifying effects on vata dosha, Afeem can be very useful for aggressive mental states and neurological disorders such as depression, anxiety, neuralgia and muscle spasms etc.
Patients of insomnia are advised to eat porridge prepared from poppy seeds.
Poppy seeds oil has many therapeutic properties similar to its seeds.
The latex of poppy seeds can be used as a natural cleanser to treat gut disorders such as IBS, Diarrhea and chronic fever.
Morphine obtained from poppy seeds is used in treating severely painful states like in deep trauma wounds, cancer patients etc.
It is also a good muscle relaxant.
Codeine alkaloid obtained from opium seeds was once used in most cough syrups but was later replaced by better chemical compositions merely because of its addictive nature and sleep inducing properties.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Opium is a very toxic herb and should be used only after proper purification process and under medical supervision only. It can however be easily toxic if taken in higher doses or impure form.
Gotukola herb is usually used for detoxifying the harmful effects of poppy on the body. It is administered in high doses for the body’s detoxification over a period of time.
Opium is also a very addictive narcotic herb which is abusively used by people and may even prove to bring fatal consequences with it.
It may even cause chronic gastritis, urinary tract infections and inflammation of the kidneys.
Despite the toxic effects poppy has great value in the food industry and is a part of many international recipes.
- Purified Opium Resin – 30-125 mg.
- Poppy seeds – 1-5 g, in divided doses.