Poppy Seeds – Introduction, Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects of Papaver Somniferum

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. What is Poppy Seeds? 
3. Morphology
4. Chemical Compound
3. Ayurvedic Properties of Poppy Seeds
4. Health Benefits and Uses
5. Side Effects of Poppy Seeds
6. Frequently Asked Question

1. Introduction

Welcome to the intriguing world of Poppy Seeds, scientifically known as Papaver Somniferum, where humble seeds carry a wealth of potential benefits and versatile applications. For centuries, these tiny seeds have been cherished for their delicate crunch, unique flavor, and a range of potential advantages.

In this post, we embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of Papaver Somniferum, delving into its historical significance, the array of benefits it offers, and the multifaceted ways it can enrich your culinary creations and holistic well-being. From their potential to promote relaxation and support sleep quality to their role in adding texture and taste to dishes, Poppy Seeds stand as a symbol of both flavor and wellness.

Join us as we unravel the layers of Papaver Somniferum's allure, while also considering the potential side effects and considerations associated with their consumption. Whether you're a culinary enthusiast, a wellness seeker, or simply captivated by the intricacies of natural ingredients, Poppy Seeds invite you to embark on this enlightening journey. Let's explore the wonders and potential virtues that these seeds have to offer, discovering their essence and richness together.

2. What is Poppy Seeds? 

The poppy seed’s scientific name is Papaver Somniferum and some other common names are khas-khas, kahs-khasa, opinum poppy, ahiphena, afyun, tukhm-i-khashkhash. The poppy plant is an erect, annual herb with a smooth surface and latex in all parts and roots of strong fragrances. Poppy seeds are found in poppy heads, and they are recommended in many tonic prescriptions. It bears bluish-white-, purple- or violet-colored large flowers.

The milky ooze obtained by incision from unripe capsules of the poppy plant and thickened by spontaneous evaporation is known as opium. It is one of the most valuable medicines available in the sap of plants and if properly administrated, can serve as a very useful drug.

The opium poppy is grown from November to March, it has a mild nut-like aroma and a nutty taste.


3. Chemical Compound

An analysis of poppy seeds shows moisture, protein, fat, fiber and a substantial amount of carbohydrates, their mineral contents are calcium and phosphorus, and their calorific value is 408. The sap of the plant contains oxalic acid and opium which has 25 alkaloids, the chief being morphine, codeine, thebaine, narcotine, narceine, and papaverine.

4. Habitat

Poppy seeds are a native of Asia Minor, it was known to the ancient Greeks and reached India and China by the eighth century. The main areas of cultivation are now in India, China, Asia Minor, and the Balkans. In India, it is grown in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.


5. Ayurvedic Properties of Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds, known as "Khasa" in Ayurveda, have several properties that are considered within the Ayurvedic framework.

Ayurvedic properties of poppy seeds:

1. Rasa (Taste): Poppy seeds are believed to have a sweet (Madhura) taste.

2. Virya (Potency): They are cooling in nature (Shita Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is sweet (Madhura Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Poppy seeds are generally considered balancing for Pitta dosha and Vata dosha, but their cooling nature can increase Kapha dosha in excess.

Ayurvedic Uses:

  1. Nutritional Value: Poppy seeds are a good source of nutrients, including minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc, as well as healthy fats.

  2. Relaxation: Due to their cooling nature, poppy seeds are sometimes used to promote relaxation and calmness. In some Ayurvedic formulations, they are used to support restful sleep.

  3. Digestive Health: Poppy seeds can be used in small amounts to support digestion due to their mild laxative effect.

  4. Nervous System: In Ayurveda, poppy seeds are believed to have a soothing effect on the nervous system and may be used in some formulations for this purpose.

  5. External Application: Poppy seed oil is used externally for its potential benefits in promoting skin health and hydration.

6. Health Benefits and Uses

Poppy seeds are effective in thirst, fever, inflammation, and irritation of the stomach, the root is used as one of the ingredients in several cooling medicines. An infusion of the root is given as a febrifuge or fever-relieving drink and as a powder in bilious complaints. The essence of the root is used as a tonic because of its stimulating qualities, it is said to check vomiting in cholera.

Whole poppy seeds are used as spice and decoration items and a paste of poppy seeds is used as a moisturizer. The poppy seed oil has multiple culinary, industrial, and medicinal uses, it is also It is used in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, and scalds.

Here are some health benefits and Uses of Poppy Seeds

Dry Itch

Poppy seeds are ground and made into a paste with lime juice is effective when rubbed on the areas affected by dry itch.


Poppy seeds are beneficial in dysentery, here is a simple home remedy, take one tsp of poppy seeds and sauté them till golden brown. Take these twice a day and mix them with honey for relief from dysentery symptoms. However, because these seeds have a sedative effect, they should not be taken for more than three days consecutively.

Heat and Burning Sensation

As an external remedy, the poppy plant has many uses, a paste of the root rubbed on the skin can remove the burning sensation of the body. A paste of its roots pulverized in water can be used as a cooling agent. It also finds use as an external application for fevers.

Muscular and Other Pains

Opium is useful as a liniment for soothing both muscular and neuralgic pains, the liniment is prepared by mixing 90 centigrams of opium in 15 grams of coconut oil, and applying it on the affected area, it also soothes painful piles. In case of painful teeth cavities, a centigram of opium is put into the hollow of the affected tooth or teeth for relief, however, the resultant saliva not ever be swallowed.

Pains and Aches

Poppy seeds on the stalks which have not been slit to produce opium have soporific properties and are sued for relieving pain. Such poppy seeds can be used beneficially in griping pains after childbirth, colic, and pain in the testicles.

Opium is useful in rheumatism, tumors of different kinds, cancers, carbuncles, abscesses, ulcers, leprosy, syphilis, or scrofula, which is tuberculosis of the lymph node in which pain banishes sleep, especially at night, the commencing dose is 6 centigrams of the extract. If insufficient, up to 18 centigrams dose may be advised. Beyond this, it is unsafe except under close professional care. Opium is very effective in spams of bowels, relieving pain and irritation of the bladder caused by stones.


7. Side Effects or Precautions of Poppy Seeds

All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based and don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.

Opium can cause great harm if used without proper precautions, or in cases where there is intolerance even to the smallest dose. In such cases, the drug should be avoided.

Infants and young children have poor tolerance to opium, which should be administered only under medical advice. It should also be avoided during pregnancy and kidney diseases.

Note: This post is based on a general study and recommended doses are for the general person, if you have any medical condition, consult the doctor before starting.

8. Frequently Asked Question

Q - Is it good to take poppy seeds daily?

Yes, but it should be taken under supervision or suggested doses because it can cause great harm if used without proper precautions, or in cases where there is intolerance even to the smallest dose.

Q - What are the side effects of KHUS KHUS?

Opium can cause great harm if used without proper precautions, or in cases where there is intolerance even to the smallest dose. In such cases, the drug should be avoided.

Infants and young children have poor tolerance to opium, which should be administered only under medical advice. It should also be avoided during pregnancy and kidney diseases.

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