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Source:- Dried Latex of the Poppy.

Introduction:- 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 classifications.

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)

                        Dr. Nash 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 that  the 'In 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 "relieve 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..' 


Dr. Hahnemann in his Materia Medica Pura describes, "Opium 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.


Homeopathically , Opium is employed in our daily practice in the following ailments:-


Polyneuropathy - Stroke- Constipation - the Unconscious state.- (Cerebro-vascular accidents). 


Typical Subjects::- 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;-


Stupor & 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), Sweaty skin.

Spasms:  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.).

Obstinate constipation; no desire to go to stool. Round hard, black bowels.

Perspiration:- Hot, damp, sweating. Constant desire to uncover. Hot perspiration over whole body except lower limbs.

Appearance:- Eyes wide open, face red, puffed; or unconscious, eyes glassy, half-closed, face pale, deep coma; preceded by stupor.


MIND:- 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 after Fear, 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 eyes.

Head:- 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.


Face::- 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.


Eyes:- 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.


Mouth:- Dry. Tongue black, paalyzed bloody froth. Intense thirst. Blubbering of lips. Difficult articulation and swallowing.


Chest: 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.


Stomach:- 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.


Abdomen:- Hard, bloated, tympanitic. Lead colic during colic, urging to stool and discharge of hard feces.


Stool:- 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.


Urine:-Slow to start; feeble stream.Retained.or involuntary, after fright. Loss of power or sensibility of bladder.


Sleep:- 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.


Fever:- 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 very hot."


Female:- 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.


Skin:- Hot, damp, sweating, Constant desire to uncover.Hot perpiration over whole body except lower limbs.


Sensations:- Feeling of numbness in the outer part; of some kind of an obstruction in the inner parts; pains like labor pains.



Worse:- During and after sleep (Apis mellifica, lachesis)

              While perspiring



(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 there,Croc.sat.]




             Constant waling.


Relations:- Remediies following:- Acon.; Bellad, Bryon, Hyosc., Nux mosch., Nux vom.Tart., emt.,


Complementary: Alu., Bry., Phos., Plb.


 Antidotes:- Acute Opium poisoning. Atropine and Black Coffee.


Chronic Opium poisoning: Ipecac; Nux; Passiflora.  Berberis is useful to counteract opium habit.

Summary of Indications:- Polyneuropathy - Stroke- Constipation - the Unconscious state.- (Cerebro-vascular accidents). 


Dose:-Third to thirtieth and 200th potency.


Illustration of a Case of APOPLEXY by Dr. Blackie in her book "Classical Homeopathy".


In Apoplexy, Dr. Blackie says that "the 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.


Dr. Blackie  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, "I 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, 'I 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, 'How pleased my mother would be. She was such a great homeopath'. 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. "What about dinner"? 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, 'you are doing wonderfully, aren't you?, he got the reply, 'No 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.



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