Poppy (Papaver somniferum) – health benefits of poppy seeds

Poppy (opium poppy, opium cocoon, lat. Papaver somniferum) is considered one of the oldest plant cultures that have been grown for thousands of years. It is not known exactly where the plant comes from, the Middle East and Asia Minor are mentioned, and today it is grown all over the world where the climatic conditions are favorable.

Poppy Capsules, Seeds

Poppy is also used to make an excellent oil that can be an acceptable substitute for olive oil.

Poppy flower colors include: white, pink, orange, red and blue; some have dark markings in the middle.

Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia)

All parts of the plant are poisonous except the seeds used in the diet! In folk medicine, poppy was used to obtain opium, which doctors used to relieve pain. Unfortunately, many abused it. Opium is a milky white substance that is extracted from the poppy pod when all its petals fall off.

The seeds do not contain opium but can be contaminated in small doses during harvest. More than 90% of contaminated opium is removed during seed drying, so the seed has no effect on the nervous system and cannot be addictive after prolonged consumption.

White Poppy (Arctomecon merriamii) known by several names, including desert bearpoppy, white bearpoppy, and great bearclaw poppy. It is native to the Mojave Desert of California and Nevada.

Nutritional value

One hundred grams of poppy seeds contain about 40.8g of fat, 19.5g of protein, 28.7g of carbohydrates and about 10g of dietary fiber. This seed is extremely rich in vitamin C, E and B complex vitamins. It is also rich in important minerals. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as omega 3, 6, 9, which make up about 50% of the net weight of seeds.

Symbolism, myths and legends

Poppy has long been used as a symbol of sleep and death: sleep because of the opium extracted from it, and death because of their blood-red color.

In Greco-Roman myths, poppy was used as a gift to the dead. The poppy was used as an emblem on tombstones to mark an eternal dream. This view was used in The Wizard of Oz to conjure up magical poppy fields, dangerous because they caused anyone who passed over them to sleep forever. Another meaning and use of poppies in Greco-Roman myths is the symbol of bright crimson color, which means the promise of resurrection after death.


Field, Red Poppies

Following the trench warfare in the poppy fields of Flanders, Belgium during World War I, poppies have become a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime.

Here is how poppy is traditionally used in natural medicine:

  • Against pain,
  • Against cough,
  • Against nervous diseases,
  • Against problematic skin,
  • Reduces fatigue and exhaustion,
  • For mineral deficiency in the body,
  • Has a beneficial effect on the heart
  • To relax muscles,
  • Against diarrhea,
  • Against abdominal cramps,
  • For better cerebral circulation,
  • Quenches thirst,
  • Strengthens immunity.

Tip, always buy whole, ripe seeds and grind just before consumption! In order to prevent the appearance of free radicals.

Professional sportsman – caution

Professional sportsman, be careful when using poppies! By consuming pastries containing poppy seeds, it is possible to detect traces of morphine and codeine in the urine 48 hours after a meal. It is difficult for poppy consumption to give a positive morphine doping test, but very often it will give elevated values, over 1.3 micrograms / ml! Everyone else is free to use poppy, even children and pregnant women.

Try adding poppy seeds to your daily diet, you will be amazed at what flavors you can achieve.

Published by Sophia Dane

I like to cook and collect interesting recipes. I love traveling, meeting new places and people. I like a good book...

6 thoughts on “Poppy (Papaver somniferum) – health benefits of poppy seeds

  1. I enjoyed reading the behind story of poppy seed! Thank you for sharingπŸ’•βœ¨ I sometimes have poppy seeded bagels/bread to enjoy the crunchiness of them but didn’t care for the nutritional benefit…until now! I bet you will post some recipe of using poppy seed? If so, I’m ready to check them out!πŸ˜‹πŸ˜ŠπŸ€€β€οΈπŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also found it very interesting to write about this wonderful seed. Of course, I will publish a cake recipe in the next post, which I often prepare. Thank you very much. ☺️🌻

      Liked by 1 person

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