The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Common Lettuce

Scientific Names


  • Lactuca sativa L.
  • Compositae
  • Composite family

Common Names

  • Garden lettuce

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Parts Usually Used

Juice, leaves
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Everyone is familiar with common lettuce as it is available in the supermarket, but this is the plant picked before it is fully grown. When allowed to mature, lettuce develops a tall stem with alternate leaves and panicled heads of yellow flowers. Flowering time is June to August.
Other varieties: Poison lettuce (L. virosa)(also known as “the poor man’s opium); Wild lettuce (L. canadensis); Prickly lettuce (L. scariola); another type of Wild lettuce (L. biennis)
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Where Found

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Medicinal Properties

Anodyne, antispasmodic, expectorant, sedative
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When allowed to go to seed, garden lettuce and several other varieties contain a milky juice that has narcotic effects. In common lettuce, it is a harmless substance which can be used as a calming agent for insomnia and various nervous conditions, coughs, asthma, and cramps. Although salad lettuce is picked before the juice develops, eating a few leaves before bedtime may be helpful for insomnia. A decoction of the leaves makes a good skin wash. The juice of lettuce mixed or boiled with Oil of Roses, applied to the forehead and temples eases headaches. Being eaten boiled, it helps digestion, quenches thirst, increases milk in nursing mothers, eases griping pains in the bowels.

Culpeper states that lettuce is forbidden to those that are short-winded, or have any imperfection in the lungs, or spit blood.
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Formulas or Dosages

Since lettuce loses its medicinal value rapidly after being picked, use it as fresh as possible.
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Nutrient Content

Chlorine, potassium, calcium, iron, vitamins B2, C, E, and K.

Lettuce nutrients

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Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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