Opium Poppy

Other names: Lucerne

Scientific name: Papaver somniferum 

Common names: Poppy

Ayurvedic names: aphuk, ahifen, aphan

Chinese names: Ying-tzu-shu

Bangladesh names: Post, Posto dana ,Kashash

Arabic names:    خشخاش الأفيون (khaskhaash al afioon)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Whole herb, sprouts

Collection: Summer

Annual/Perennial: Annual

Height: 1 to 4 feet

Actions: Hypnotic, narcotic, sedative 

Known Constituents:

Constituents Explained:


Known as a nutritious plant, it contains Vitamins A, B vitamins, C, E, K and a varitey of minerals and trace minerals.  A green plant famed for its high chlorophyll content. When in bloom it contains beautiful purple flowers.

Traditional Use:

Clinical Studies:

A liquid alcoholic extract of Papaver somniferum named Elixir Paregorico is extensively used for diarrheal diseases in Brazil. Its increased popularity has brought concerns and fears over the safety of this herbal product.

Given the lack of investigative clinical studies, in this regard, a study investigated whether Elixir Paregorico administration causes any noticeable toxic effects in healthy volunteers. In all, 28 middle-aged healthy male and female were enrolled. 

After screening and a washout period, eligible subjects received four oral doses per day of Elixir Paregorico (3 mL diluted in 30 mL of water) over a 10-day period. Altogether, all 28 participants completed the study.

The results of hematological and biochemical tests performed pre and post-treatment were within the normal range. In both male and female volunteers, there were no statistical differences in the results of clinical and laboratory tests performed at screening, on 5th and 10th day visits, and at final assessment.

Although mild adverse events were related, which subsided spontaneously, no serious untoward reactions were reported following Elixir Paregorico administration. This is the first demonstration that Elixir Paregorico administered four times a day for 10 days is safe and does not cause any noticeable toxic effect in healthy volunteers.


de Moraes M, Bezerra M, Bezerra F, de Moraes R, Cavalcanti P, Uchoa C, Odorica de Moraes M. “Safety Evaluation Of Elixir Paregorico In Healthy Volunteers: A Phase 1 Study.” 2008 October http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19042960