Wild Lettuce

Other names: Lucerne

Scientific name: Lactuca virosa

Common names:Wild Lettuce; Opium Lettuce; Bitter Lettuce; Great Lettuce; Lactucarium;   Laitue vireuse; Poisonous Lettuce; Rakutu-Karyumu-So; RauschlattichBitter lettuce, Opium Lettuce, Compass Plant, Horse Thistle, Prickly Lettuce, Wild Lettuce and Wild Opium.

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names: Wo chu, Tzu chu

Bangladesh names: Kahu 

Arabic names:    الخس البري (al khass al barri)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Compositae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Leaf

Collection: Spring, summer

Annual/Perennial: Annual or biennial

Height: 2 to 7 feet

Actions: Sedative, anodyne, hypnotic, anti-spasmdoic, nervine

Known Constituents:

Constituents Explained:

Description: Wild lettuce is s biennial plant is unbranched and 3-8′ tall. The central stem is round and smooth, light green or reddish green and often glaucous. The alternate leaves are light green to dark green, Wild Lettuce in Woodland Opening sometimes with purple edges or a yellowish cast. They are up to 10″ long and 3″ across. The largest leaves have deep pinnate lobes, while the smaller leaves have shallow pinnate lobes or none. A typical leaf is wider at the base than at its tip, and clasps the stem. Occasionally it has widely spaced small teeth along the margin and short fine hairs along the mid-vein on the underside. The leaf surface can be shiny or dull. The small dandelion-like flowers occur in a narrow panicle at the apex of the plant. They are yellow or slightly orange. The flowers are numerous, small, about 1\4 in. across, involucre, cylindrical, rays pale yellow; followed by abundant, soft, bright white pappus; the heads growing in loose, branching, terminal clusters. There is no noticeable floral scent. The rough, black fruit is oval, with a broad wing along the edge, and prolonged above into a long, white beak carrying silvery tufts of hair. The whole plant is rich in a milky juice that flows freely from any wound. This has a bitter taste and a narcotic odour. When dry, it hardens, turns brown, and is known as lactucarium.The root system consists of a thick deep taproot. There is white latex in the root, leaves, and stems.

Traditional Use:

Some types of lettuce are very high in Magnesium, they’re often used as a sedative.  Its sedative properties see its use in insomnia, restlessness and nervous irritablity.

Used to relieve pains such as in the case of periods, muscular pains, strong coughs, and pain in the gut.  Has been used as a anaphordisiac.

Clinical Studies: