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Papaver rhoeas L. Papaveraceae Corn Poppy, Flanders Poppy. Distribution: Temperate Old World. Dioscorides (Gunther, 1959) recommended five or six seed heads in wine to get a good night's sleep the leaves and seeds applied as a poultice to heal inflammation, and the decoction sprinkled on was soporiferous. Culpeper (1650) ' ... Syrup of Red, or Erratick Poppies: by many called Corn-Roses. ... Some are of the opinion that these Poppies are the coldest of all other - believe them that list [wishes to]: I know no danger in this syrup, so it be taken in moderation and bread immoderately taken hurts

Dr Henry Oakeley

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Free to use with attribution CC BYCredit: Dr Henry Oakeley
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the syrup cools the blood, helps surfets and may safely be given in Frenzies, Feavers and hot Agues'. Here Culpeper is using the Doctrine of the Humours, in that an excess of a poisonous plant causes death and for the body to become cold, so a smaller dose will be good for fevers. He points out that eating too much bread can make one ill. Culpeper (1652) writes ‘... is good to prevent the falling sickness [epilepsy] ...’ for ‘procuring rest and sleep’, for curing coughs and sore throats, treating menorrhagia, agues (aches), frenzies (delirium), pleurisy and toothache and if applied as a poultice for reducing inflammations and erysipelas (St. Anthony’s Fire). 'Poppy seeds ease pain and provoke sleep. Your best way is to make an emulsion of them with barley water.’ Contains rhoeadine and thebaine which are both mild analgesics and sedative. Latter is toxic and used to make oxycodone and oxymorphone which are opiate analgesics, and naloxone an antidote to opiates – displaces them from ?-opioid receptors in the brain. Thebaine can cause addiction, convulsions and death. It is mainly used to make powerful ?-opioid agonists, called Bentley compounds, some being 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. One is Etorphine, a ?, ?, and ? opioid receptor agonist 3,000 times more potent than morphine. It is only licensed for use on elephants and other large animals. It is fatal to humans. It is almost instantaneous in action and is almost instantaneously reversed by naloxone and/or diprenorphine. Dihydroetorphine is 12,000 times the strength of morphine. The petals were used to make a sedative for children (Sowerby, 1818). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

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Papaver rhoeas L. Papaveraceae Corn Poppy, Flanders Poppy. Distribution: Temperate Old World. Dioscorides (Gunther, 1959) recommended five or six seed heads in wine to get a good night's sleep the leaves and seeds applied as a poultice to heal inflammation, and the decoction sprinkled on was soporiferous. Culpeper (1650) ' ... Syrup of Red, or Erratick Poppies: by many called Corn-Roses. ... Some are of the opinion that these Poppies are the coldest of all other - believe them that list [wishes to]: I know no danger in this syrup, so it be taken in moderation and bread immoderately taken hurts. Credit: Dr Henry Oakeley. CC BY


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