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Home » Plant infomation

Papaver somniferum  L.


click to enlarge image

Botanical Name


Papaver somniferum L.

English Name


Poppy Seed. Opium. White Poppy and Mawseed



Papaver officinale, Gmel., Papaver hortense, Huss. Papaver setigerum DC.





General Info


The plant is an erect, herbaceous annual, varying much in the colourof its flowers, as well as in the shape of the fruit and colour of the seeds. All parts of the plant, particularly the walls of the capsules, or seed-vessels, contain a system of laticiferous vessels, filled with a white latex. The flowers vary in colour from pure white to reddish purple. In the wild plant, they are pale lilac with a purple spot at the base of each petal. The capsules vary much in shape and size. They are usually hemispherical, but depressed at the top, where the many-rayed stigma occupies the centre; they have a swollen ring below where the capsule joins the stalk. Some varieties are ovoid, others again depressed both at summit and base. The small kidney-shaped seeds, minute and very numerous, are attached to lateral projections from the inner walls of the capsule and vary in colour from whitish to slate. The heads are of a pale glaucous green when young. As they mature and ripen they change to a yellowish brown, and are then cut from the stem if the dried poppy heads are required.

Herb Effects

Analgesic, aphrodisiac, astringent, narcotic, hypothermic and lowers blood pressure (latex); alleviates spasms and stimulates the cardiovascular system (fruit); laxative (seed); increases nerve strength, sedative, relieves pain, anticonvulsive, emollient.


Papaver somniferum
Plants for a Future


Active Ingredients

Allocryptopine, apomorphine, berberine, papaverine, thebaine, narceine, morphine, reticuline, rhoeadine, sanguinarine (plant); alpha-linolenic acid, arginine, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, lecithin, linoleic acid, methionine, niacin, oleic acid, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, phenylalanine, riboflavin, squalene, stearic acid, thiamin, tryptophan, tyrosine (seed); citric acid, codeine, magnoflorine, malic acid, narcotine, (latex exudate); papaverine (fruit)

Chemistry of Active Ingredients
Product Categories






Product Categories
Papaverine 58-74-2 1-[(3,4-dimethoxyphe
C20H21NO4 Click Here To Enlarge
Thebaine 115-37-7 Not Available C19H21NO3 Click Here To Enlarge
Narceine 131-28-2 6-[2-[6-(2-dimethyla
yl]acetyl] -2,3-dim
ethoxy-benzoic acid
C23H27NO8 Click Here To Enlarge
Narcotine 8057-19-0 Not Available C22H23NO7 Click Here To Enlarge
Morphine 23552-18-3 N,N-diethyl-N'-(2-me
C23H31N3O Click Here To Enlarge
Codeine 6059-47-8 Not Available C18H23NO4 Click Here To Enlarge
Allocryptopine 485-91-6 Not Available C21H23NO5 Click Here To Enlarge
Berberine 633-65-8 Not Available C20H18NO4+ Click Here To Enlarge
Reticuline Not Available (1S)-1-[(3-hydroxy-4
yl-3,4-dih ydro-1H-
C19H23NO4 Click Here To Enlarge
Rhoeadine 2718-25-4 Not Available C21H21NO6 Click Here To Enlarge
Sanguinarine 5578-73-4 Not Available C20H14NO4+ Click Here To Enlarge
alpha-Linolenic acid 94138-91-7 octadeca-9,12,15-tri
enoic acid
C18H30O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Arginine 7004-12-8 2-amino-5-guanidino-
pentanoic acid
C6H14N4O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Ascorbic Acid Not Available 2-(1,2-dihydroxyethy
C6H8O6 Click Here To Enlarge
beta-Carotene Not Available 3,7,12,16-tetramethy
l)-octadec a-1,3,5,
C40H56 Click Here To Enlarge
Glutamic acid Not Available 2-aminopentanedioic
C5H9NO4 Click Here To Enlarge
Glycine 87867-94-5 2-aminoacetic acid C2H5NO2 Click Here To Enlarge
Histidine 6027-02-7 2-amino-3-(3H-imidaz
C6H9N3O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Lecithin 8057-53-2 Not Available Not Available Click Here To Enlarge
Linoleic acid 8024-22-4 octadeca-9,12-dienoi
c acid
C18H32O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Methionine 348-67-4 2-amino-4-methylsulf
anyl-butanoic acid
C5H11NO2S Click Here To Enlarge
Niacin 99148-57-9 pyridine-3-carboxyli
c acid
C6H5NO2 Click Here To Enlarge
Oleic acid 8046-01-3 octadec-9-enoic acid C18H34O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Oxalic acid 553-91-3 Oxalic acid C2H2O4 Click Here To Enlarge
Palmitic acid 66321-94-6 hexadecanoic acid C16H32O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Phenylalanine 3617-44-5 2-amino-3-phenyl-pro
panoic acid
C9H11NO2 Click Here To Enlarge
Riboflavin Not Available Not Available C17H21N4O9P Click Here To Enlarge
Squalene 94016-35-0 (6E,10E,14E,18E)-2,6
14,18,22-h exaene
C30H50 Click Here To Enlarge
Stearic acid 82497-27-6 Octadecanoic acid C18H36O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Thiamin 59-43-8 2-[3-[(4-amino-2-met
ia-3-azoni acyclope
C12H17N4OS+ Click Here To Enlarge
Tryptophan 80206-30-0 2-amino-3-(1H-indol-
3-yl)propanoic acid
C11H12N2O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Tyrosine 556-02-5 2-amino-3-(4-hydroxy
C9H11NO3 Click Here To Enlarge
Citric acid Not Available 2-hydroxypropane-1,2
C6H8O7 Click Here To Enlarge
Codeine 6059-47-8 Not Available C18H23NO4 Click Here To Enlarge
Magnoflorine 6681-18-1 Not Available C20H24NO4+ Click Here To Enlarge
Malic acid Not Available 2-hydroxybutanedioic
C4H6O5 Click Here To Enlarge


Medicinal Use

Bruises, sprains, toothache, cancer, tumors of the abdomen, catarrh, colds, conjunctivitis, ophthalmia fever, headache, diarrhea, dysentery, dysmenorrhea, hypertension, insomnia, leprosy, malaria, mania, nausea, stomach ache, neuralgia, whooping cough. It is administered to relieve pain and calm excitement.


In its primary influence it is a brain and nerve stimulant. It, is, therefore, contra-indicated where there is an irritated and overstimulated nervous system, with flushed face, bright eyes with contracted pupils, dry, hot skin, dry, coated tongue and inactivity of the excretory functions. Administered under these circumstances, it will increase the restlessness and induce general distress and painful wakefulness.


Chandel et al., Biodiversity in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India.

Uniyal et al., Medicinal Flora of Garhwal Himalayas.

Bentley and Trimen, Medicinal Plants.

Sharma, Classical Uses of Medicinal Plants.



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