From injury to disease, pain is a very common ailment or symptom that can take down the toughest of the tough. It’s so prevalent that we are seeing a major epidemic with opiate dependency. Unfortunately, with so many needing to find relief, it’s leading to a large portion of our population becoming dependent on a chemical bandage, often just masking the problem, rather than fixing the cause.
Unfortunately, it’s getting so widespread that the medical field view many of those in real need as “seekers”. So, instead of getting relief from tangible pain, people are being turned away. As a result, they are finding it illegally, and pain clinics and rehabs are popping up all over, trying to combat the addiction.
Wild Lettuce as a Healthy Alternative
Lactuca Virosa is the scientific term for it, and many people have used it in place of addictive prescription pain medicine. It’s a leafy and tall plant, with small yellow buds, and could be grown right out your door. More commonly found in North America and England, it’s a cousin to the lettuce we typically see at the grocery store. It’s also referred to as bitter lettuce, or more appropriately for the purpose discussed here, opium lettuce.
The reason it’s referred to as opium lettuce, is due to the pain relieving and sedative effects that it has been known to produce through a white substance found in the stem and leaves.
This milky substance is called lactucarium. And, while it doesn’t contain any opiates, it has similar side effects when used – it acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to lessen the feeling of pain, just like morphine.
Even though it seems to be the best kept secret, it has a history of being used as an alternative to pain relief.
Back in the 19th century, wild lettuce was already being used by some as a substitute to opium. But, it was in the 70’s that it started to gain significant popularity by those wanting a more natural remedy. Individuals were starting to use it for both pain relief, as well as recreational purpose.
In the earlier days, people using wild lettuce prepared it a couple different ways. One way was to cook the plant in a pan of water and sugar mix, until it reduced to a thick syrup-like consistency. While this was an effective form, it was quite bitter even with the sugar added. The most common form however, was drying the stem and leaves to use as an herbal tea.
The tea remains popular today. But, it’s also being dried for smoking, or vaporizing. If you don’t care to grow it yourself, it can also be purchased as a dried herb, extract, or resin substance.
Here are the more popular reasons people are gravitating towards this natural pain killer and medicinal plant:
- Migraines – People who use it for this purpose claim that they experience fewer migraines than they did prior to starting the herb.
- Insomnia – A frequent use of wild lettuce is by people who have trouble sleeping. It produces a relaxed and euphoric feeling, helping a person fall asleep easier, without the addictive qualities of commonly prescribed sleeping aids.
- Anxiety – Wild lettuce can act as a mild sedative, allowing people with anxiety to find a reprieve from the stress it causes.
- Asthma and Cough – Wild lettuce has antitussive properties, which alleviates or suppresses a cough. Also, asthmatic patients who have used opiates notice more episodes if they go through opiate withdrawal. So, the use of wild lettuce instead of prescription opiates, could be a better option for them.