Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) is also known as ‘lettuce opium’. The plant has originally spread across Central and Southern Europe and North Asia. It now grows wild in many parts of Europe and it is also widespread in southern North America.
Wild lettuce is an annual but sometimes biennial plant that can grow from 60 to 150 cm tall. The leaves are spinose and toothed and the flowers light yellow and basket shaped.
Opium lettuce effects
Lactuca virosa can be used as a sedative. The dreamy effects are a little bit similar to opium, but milder. Wild lettuce can help reduce the feeling of restlessness and excitability.
Some Indians use the herb to enhance the vividness of dreams. They believe that induced dream states provide more information about reality than the conscious waking state.
How to prepare Wild Lettuce
Wild lettuce is to be used as tea: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times daily.
Another method is to make an extract. Soak 100 grams of wild lettuce herb for 8 hours in warm but not boiling water. Then sift and press all the liquid out of the wild lettuce. Put the dark liquid in a pan and let it evaporate. Putting the pan in a bigger pan with boiling water will avoid burning the wild lettuce while drying. What is left is a kind of gum that can be used like opium.