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!

Prickly Lettuce

Scientific Names

Prickly Lettuce

  • Lactuca scariola L.
  • Lactuca virosa L.
  • Composite family

Common Names

  • Wild lettuce

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Parts Usually Used

Leaves, sap
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Annual or biennial; 2-7 feet tall.  Leaves oblong to lance-shaped or dandelion-like but prickly; margins with weak spines.  Flowers yellow, dandelion-like.  July to October.
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Where Found

Waste places in the United States.  Originally from Europe.
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Medicinal Properties

Hypnotic, sedative, lowers blood sugar levels
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Native Americans used leaf tea to stimulate milk flow; diuretic.  Also used to combat insomnia.  Lowers blood sugar levels.  Culpeper says he knows no use for the lettuce root.
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Do not drive or operate machinery, may cause drowsiness.

Excessive doses may cause insomnia or increased sexual drive.

May cause dermatitis or internal poisoning.
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Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

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

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! 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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