Dried Latex of the Poppy.
Poppy, Papaver somniferum L., is
an annual herb 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
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 . Total yield of
alkaloids is dependent on light, temperature, the plant
species, and the time of harvest
Poppy seeds are used as a condiment with
baked goods and pastries for their nutty odor and flavor.
Poppy oil is widely used as an edible cooking oil. The
oil is also used in the manufacture of paints,
varnishes, and soaps . Opium is used in the production
of morphine, codeine, other alkaloids, and deodorized
forms of opium .. Morphine is the raw material from
which heroin is obtained. Poppy plants are important as
ornamental plants in flower gardens.
Poppy is one of the most important
medicinal plants. Traditionally, the dry opium was
considered an astringent, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac,
diaphoretic, expectorant, hypnotic, narcotic, and
sedative. Poppy has been used against toothaches and
coughs. The ability of opium from poppy to serve as an
analgesic is well known. Opium and derivatives of opium
are used in the pharmaceutical industry as narcotic
analgesics, hypnotics, and sedatives. These compounds
are also used as antidiarrheals, antispasmodics, and
antitussives . Opium and the drugs derived from opium
are addictive and can have toxicological effects. (Poppy
seed is generally recognized as safe for human
consumption as a spice or a natural flavoring)
in his book"Leaders
in Homeopathic Therapeutics"
says that Opium is one of the worst
absued, because frequently used, remedies of all schols
of medicine. The true
homeopath does not abuse it, but many
mambers of the school calling themselves homeopathic
do. A teacher in one of the homeopathic colleges
defended its use in narcotic does in may cases to
produce sleep and relief from pain. Dr. Nash says tht"I
will say jut here that any homeopthic physician tht
feels obliged to use Opium or its alkaloid in this way
and for this purpose does not understand his business
and had better study his Materia Medica, and the
principles of applying it according to hahnemann, or
else go over to the old school where they make no
pretensions to have any law of cure. He goes on to say
the first place Opium in narcotic doses does not produce
slep, but stupor, and it only relieves pain by rendering
the patient unconscious to it. How many cases have been
so masked by such treatment, tht the disease progressed
until there was no chance for cure ? Pain, fever and ll
other symptoms are the voice of disease, telling where
is the trouble and guiding us to the remedy. The true
curative often relieves pain even more quickly than
Opium, and does so by curing the conditon upon which it
depends. And even in cases where it does not so quickly
stop the pain, it is often far better to suffer awhile
until the curative can get in its work. Probably
ninety-nine in a hundred of those suffering from the
terrible habit of morphine eating re first led into it
by physicians who prescribe morphine to
pain and procure rest and sleep."
And when we take into this account the abuse of
stihulants, under the name of tonics, habitually
prescribed by the same class of physicians it is no
wonder that they are often heard to say, I don't
know whether I have done more good or harm..'
in his Materia Medica Pura describes,
has since been employed by the Allopathic
Doctors as the supposed chief remedy against all
kinds of coughs, diarrhoeas, vomiting, sleeplessness,
melancholy, spasms and nervous ailments
and more especially against all kinds of pains without
distinction.But all these innumerable affections are not
contained in the primary action of opium, but just the
opposite e.g. example in cases of diarrhoea it
constipate the bowels byut it bcomes all the worse
subsequently due to secondary counteraction. ,in
sleeplessness it causes drowsiness in the primary action
but subsequently he will still more sleepless than
before due to secondary counteraction) Hence we can
easily understand how far from permanent, how far from
beneficial must be the result of such an employment of
this drug in the majority of diseases of body and mind!
And daily experience teaches this.
, Opium is employed in our daily practice in the
the Unconscious state.-
Especially adaptaed to children and old people, disease
of first and second childhood(Baryta Carb., Mill.,),
persons with light hair, lax muscles, and want of bodily
irritablity. Want of susceptability to remedies, lack of
vital reaction, the well chosen remedy makes no
impression (Carbo v., Laur., Val.) Ailments with
insensiblity and partial or complete paralysis, that
originate from fright; bad effects of the fear
still remaining (Acon.; Hyos;), from charcoal
vapors, from inhaling gas , of drunkards.
Points & features;-
Painless complaints:- All complaints are
characterized by stupor.(drowsiness) They
are painless; and are accompanied by heavy,
stupid sleep, stertorous breathing(noisy
inspiration or snoring occuring in deep sleep or coma),
Spasms of children, from approach of strangers; from
nursing after fright of mother (Hyos. - after
anger of mother, Cham., Nux); from crying; eyes
half open and upturned. Screaming before or during a
spasm (Apis, Hell.).
no desire to go to stool. Round
hard, black bowels.
Hot, damp, sweating. Constant desire to uncover.
Hot perspiration over whole body
except lower limbs.
Eyes wide open, face red, puffed; or unconscious,
eyes glassy, half-closed, face pale, deep coma; preceded
Patient wants nothing.Complete loss of
consciousness ; apoplectic state. Frightful fancies,
daring, gay, bright. Unable to understand or appreciate
his sufferings. Thinks he is not at home. Delirious
talking, with wide open eyes. Complaints brought after
shock, fright, Cerebro-Vasucular Accidents like
Apoplexy;Head injuries(Chronic effects- Natrum
Sulph.). Dr. Blackie says tht Head
injuries may call for any one of several different
remedies If the patient had a bad head injury and looks
dull and befuddled; , I would give Arnica every
time to start with. If they are not better in 12 hours
and look even more befogged, I would follow this with
Opium. If Opium does not do it, and you begin
to be anxious about the patient, give Hellebore.
Hellebore is a rare remedy, but it is good in
head injuries that are not doing well and are a bit
delayed in getting rightr again.
As regards complaints as brought about
Dr. Kent states,The Opium patient, when
not too stupid rouses up as if starteld, rouses up with
the appearance of awful fear or anxiety. The old Opium
eater is overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. If a dog
jump at him suddenly, he will be thrown into
convulsions, have diarrhoea, fits of some sort, and it
wil be days and weeks before tht fear is gone.
Complaints from fear when the fear remains, or the idea
of the fear remains, or the cause of it comes before the
yes. A pregnant woman is frightened and an abortion is
impending, and the object of the fright continually
looms up before her eyes. Epilepsy dating back to a
fright and that object comes up before the eyes before
the attack comes on, and the fear of fright
remains. Hysterical attack; physical shock with
diarrhoea and sometimes constipation; retention of urine
or return of the menstrual flow as results, or it may
stop the menses for months. In these conditions ther is
great fear and the object of the fear remains before the
Nervous headaches beginning in the backof the head and
spreading over the whle face; worse in the morning. He
feels as if his head were held down to the pillow by the
intense aching pain in the base of the brain, and yet
when he gets he is unable to lie down again. This is
common in women; a false plethora; excitable; going
though pregnancy or menstruation; headache. The patient
sits up and is unable to lie down.The pain begins in the
morning and is so violent that the patient cannot move,
cannot wink the eye, turn the head, cannot bear the
least jar or the ticking of the clock; face is mottled,
purple, blue; eyes injected. It is difficult to get
symptoms from her. Opium will relieve at once. But
mot of the complaints are painless. Vertigo;Lightness
of head in old people. . Dull, heavy, stupid.
Delirium. Vertigo after fright. Pain in back of head;
great weight there (Gels.) Bursting feeling.
Complete insensibility; no mental grasp for anything.
Paralysis of brain. VERTIGO:- Stupefying,
when raising up, compelling him to lie down.
Stupefaction and full confusion of head, like a vapor in
brain, as from intoxication.
Bloated, dark red , hot swollen & dark .. Bluish. pale
or earth colored countenance. distended blood vessels
on. Looks intoxicated, besotted(Bapt.;lach.)-
Relaxation of all facial muscles and drooping of lower
lip. Profuse sweat on. Spasm of facial muscles,
especially about mouth. Trismus.(lockjaw)Hanging down
of lower jaw. Distorted.
Dry heat and burning in.eyes. Red, inflamed. Half open
and turned upward. Upper lids hang down relaxed.(Gels.Causti.)
Staring look. dilated, immobile pupils. Obscuration of
vision: Paralysis of optic nerve or cataract.
Dry. Tongue black, paalyzed bloody froth. Intense
thirst. Blubbering of lips. Difficult articulation and
Where there is continued and steady stertorous breathing
(there may be occasional stertorous breathing as for
instance, coming on and lasting a little while after a
convulsion--but wait and see whether that does not
presently die away; if there is continuous stertorous
breathing, give Opium) Respiration deep; unequal.
Breathing stops on going to sleep; must be shaken to
start it again (Grindelia)Hoarse. Difficult,
intermittent, deep, unequal respiration. Heat in chest;
burning about heart. Cough, with dyspnoa and blue face;
with bloody expectoration.
The stomach is in a state of undue war,mth, sinking,
all-gone hungry, and this is not relieved by eating. He
fills the stomach full and yet the faint feeling
remains. The foods sours in the stomach and is vomited.
He can take no more food. He comes covered with a cold
sweat, gret naustion, nausea vomiting, with colic and
convulsions. Fecal vomiting. Incarcerated hernia.
Hungry; no desire to eat.
Hard, bloated, tympanitic. Lead colic during colic,
urging to stool and discharge of hard feces.
Obstinate constipation; no desire to go to stool.Round,
hard ,black balls, . Feces protrude and recede(Thuj;
Sil.). Spasmodic retention of feces in small
intestines. Stools involuntary, black, offensive,
frothy. Violent pain in rectum, as if pressed asunder.
to start; feeble stream.Retained.or involuntary,
after fright. Loss of power or sensibility of bladder.
Great drowsiness (Gels; Nux musch.). Falls into a
heavy stupid sleep. Profound coma. Loss of breath on
falling asleep (Grind.). Coma vigil.
Picking at bedclothes. Very sleepy, but cannot go to
sleep. Distant noise, cocks crowing, etc, keep him
awake. Child dreams of cats, dogs, black forms. Bed
feels so hot cannot lie on it. Pleasant, fantastic,
amorous dreams. Shaking chill; then heat, with sleep and
sweat. Thirst only during heat.
Absence of perspiration; heat without perspiration; very
hot, sweltering perspiration; complaints concomitant to
perspiration i.e.., those which may appear with
perspiration. Intermittent fever where the chilliness is
followed by heat, with perspiration which may be hot and
sweltering; where there is no chill, but the fever is
accompanied by this perspiration; patient may not feel
cold all day, or may have only a little chill, and at
night when in bed complain that, "the sheets feel so
Suppressed menses from fright. Cessation of labor-pains
with coma between paroxysms. Threatened abortion and
suppression of lochia, from fright, with sopor. Horrible
labor-like pains in uterus, with urging to stool.
Back and Extremities:-
Opisthotonos. Swollen veins of neck. Painless paralysis
(Oleand.)Twitching of limbs.. Numbness.
Jerks as if flexors were overacting. Convulsions; worse
from glare of light; coldness of limbs.
Hot, damp, sweating, Constant desire to uncover.Hot
perpiration over whole body except lower limbs.
Feeling of numbness in the outer part; of some kind of
an obstruction in the inner parts; pains like labor
During and after sleep (Apis mellifica, lachesis)
(In Nut-shell- worse From
anxiety or fear; from reproaches; with drunkards; after
brandy; from spirituous liquors in general; during
respiration; on rising; during sleep; after sleep; in
pregnancy where the mother complains of the violent
motions of the fotus. [Sensation as though a living
fotus were moving in the abdomen, when there is nothing
Acon.; Bellad, Bryon, Hyosc., Nux mosch., Nux vom.Tart.,
Alu., Bry., Phos., Plb.
Acute Opium poisoning. Atropine and Black
Chronic Opium poisoning:
Ipecac; Nux; Passiflora.
is useful to counteract opium habit.
Summary of Indications:- Polyneuropathy
the Unconscious state.-
to thirtieth and 200th potency.
Illustration of a Case of APOPLEXY by Dr.
Blackie in her book
Dr. Blackie says that
chief remedy is Opium.'
The patient is characterised by a violent
delirium or else by a sort of stupor. When they are
delirious they have staring eyes, a bright red face,
talk about all kinds of things, and constantly see
masked figures standing at the end of the bed, or
somebody crowding around the room
even when they are aake. In the other type, where they
look intoxicated, they are absolutely stuporous. They
lie, sometimes with their eyes open and usually with a
very red face, just taking no notice of anyone.
says that ,'One
of the best cases'
I ever saw was in a man who had every kind of drastic
illness in the twenty-two years I looked after him.
There were six occasions on which he got something which
was considered to to be fatal. This was one of the
occasions and it occurred at a time when he had to do a
very great deal of extra work. He came to his wife one
morning and said,
have got the most appalling headache.".
She looked at him with alarm because his face was bright
red, which it never normally was and he looked awfull
ill, and while he was still talking to her he had to
sit down. Before she could turn round he had become
unconscious. She got a man in from outside and between
them they carried him up to bed, where he remained
unconscious, still with this very red face.
His wife telephoned to ask me to
come, saying that she had also asked a consultant
physician and the family doctor to be present as well.
We all arrived at more or less the same moment. The
specialist examined him very carefully and found his
blood pressure to be 240/140. He said,
think he has had it. I don't
find any actual sign of a stroke but he has obviously
had a cerebral catastrophe and I think he won't
live more than forty-eight hours'.
He asked me what I would like to give him and I replied
that he should first tell the nurse what kind of regime
to follow for the night and I would then tell him what I
would like to give him. So, he suggested a little
jellyand fluid but did not prescribe any medicine.. I
said I wanted to put a homeopathic dose of Opium
straight on to his tongue. Two which he replied,
pleased my mother would be. She was such a great
I lift a bottle of Opium 10M on his tongue. All
three of us left at twenty past four, with thenurse
havingbeen given all the instructions. I left a bottle
of Opium granules and asked her to put a dose on to his
tongue every two hours. A lttle later the nurse was
arranging everything for the night, and very busy, when
suddenly a voice said from the bed.
So he had his dinner, and got completely well. The local
doctor, with whom I became very friendly, went in to see
him every day. When he said,
are doing wonderfully, aren't
you?, he got the reply,
thanks to you. Please don't
take any credit for it.'
That is the sort of thing you can do. He lived for
another ten years.
Afterwards he described the
pain. He said the pain in the head came on like a sort
of pressure on the temples, so scute that he did not
know what to do and couldnot have done any wlork or talk
to people. All he could think of was to get into the
house where he could lie down. With the onset of the
attack he also had very contracted pupils. Prior to the
attack he had had extreme constiption, although, as far
as his wife remembered, he had never been constipated
before. Only with gret trouble could he get anythng away
from his bowels at all. And when he did it was only a
series of black balls. It occurred to me that this
fitted so perfectly with Opium, which is one of the most
constipated remedies in homeopathy. It is also
characteristic tht the patient does as a rule pass
rather hard, small balls. He was all right again within
a few days.
There is one other point which you
find in the Opium patient, especially if they had
their Opium and have got much better. If they are
coming to a time when they perhaps need one repeat
of the remedy, a few weeks later, they will
complain that they feel as if dust had been shot into
their eyes and was still there, and that they could not
get rid of it. This man had just that problem. At first,
when he was getting better, he also had very drooping
eyelids, which Opium has too, but that went off quite
soon. He complained of the dust for some weeks and it
never quite cleared. I then gave him a second dose of
Opium 10M after which it cleared up entirely.