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!

Red Poppy


Common Names | Parts Usually Used | Plant(s) & Culture | Where Found | Medicinal Properties | Biochemical Information
Legends, Myths and Stories | Uses | Formulas or Dosages | Warning | Bibliography

Scientific Names

Red Poppy

  • Papaver rhoeas L.
  • Papaveraceae
  • Poppy family

Common Names

  • Ahiphena (Sanskrit name)
  • Corn poppy
  • Flanders poppy
  • Ying-su-qaio (Chinese name)

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Parts Usually Used

Seeds (non-narcotic), blossoms
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Description of Plant(s) and

Crepe-like flowers appear from late spring onwards and are followed by the distinctive poppy head in which the seeds are stored. The milky juice obtained from this has narcotic properties, though less so than the white poppy from which opium is obtained.

Poppies do not transplant easily. Better to start with seeds, in pots in the northern climates.
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Where Found

Grows wild in cornfields, hence its common name ‘corn poppy’. Mostly cultivated.
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Medicinal Properties

Astringent, antispasmodic, analgesic, carminative, sedative
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Biochemical Information

Alkaloid rhoeadine, no narcotics
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Legends, Myths and Stories

In classical mythology this plant was sacred to Ceres.
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The Red Poppy has a long honored reputation as a sedative. It contains a non-poisonous sedative alkaloid called rhoeadine. But, unlike its cousin the “Opium Poppy”, it contains no narcotics. The blossoms and seeds are also added to cough syrups. The flowers are used as a dye in teas, wine and ink.

Leaves and petals are used in a standard infusion on sore throats, cough, and chest congestion, catarrh, hay fever, asthma, dyspepsia, diarrhea, dysentery, insomnia, nerve pain, and other respiratory complaints.

A few crushed poppy heads added to a linseed poultice (1/4 lb. linseed, 1/2 oz. olive oil, both well stirred in one pint of boiling water) will reduce pain and swelling.

Poppy seed used as topping on cookies, breads, rolls; in cake fillings, fruit salads, canapés, and sweet vegetables. (These poppy seeds are not from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum L.).
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Formulas or Dosages

Decoction: 1/4 oz. of poppy seeds simmered in 1 pint of water along with 1 tsp. each of nutmeg and ginger powder and taken 3 times a day immediately after meals for nervous digestion. A cup also taken before sleep to promote rest.
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Caution should be taken in cases of gastritis and colitis.
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Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 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 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! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

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

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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