If this is the first time that you will be reading or hearing about ” wild lettuce”, well don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, millions of people around the world don’t even know that this plant exists at all.
When we talk about wild lettuce, three questions will immediately pop into mind. The first question is, ” what on earth is wild lettuce?” Second, ” how do I find it?” And third, ” how is it used?”.
As you dive further and do more in-depth research and try to understand more about this miracle plant, more questions will arise. Questions like ” is wild lettuce legal?”, ” How is it applied?”, ” How is it processed?”, and ” how is it grown?”
The main goal of this article is to answer all of these questions. So, if you want to know and learn more about the benefits of wild lettuce and its uses, then, I urge you to keep on reading.
What Is Wild Lettuce?
Also known as Lettuce opium, wild lettuce is a tall, leafy herb with small yellow buds that’s been used as a medicinal plant for more than two thousand years. While it is sad that knowledge about wild lettuce as a medicinal plant and great pain killer has been lost over the years, it is now making a comeback. Thanks to people who are giving traditional medicine a second look.
Wild lettuce can grow up to 6 feet tall. It has spiny leaves and its flowers are colored yellow when it blooms. It’s leaves, sap. and seeds are used to make medicine. The milky substance of the wild lettuce when it is cut contains ” lactucin” and ” lacttucopicrin”. Substances that have great painkilling properties. When processed into a medicine, wild lettuce can be used and have been found out to help ease these following conditions:
- Urinary Tract Problems
- Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- Excitability in children
- Menstrual cramps
- Nymphomania (Excessive sex drive in women)
- Priapism (Swollen genitals in men)
- Joint Pains
- Poor blood circulation
- Hardening of the arteries
- Skin allergies
- Headaches and migraines
Where Does Wild Lettuce Grow and How To Identify It?
Wild Lettuces are indigenous to India. Particularly to the Himalayan regions. It can also be found growing in the Central and Southern parts of Europe. In England, you can find wild lettuce in its Eastern and Southern regions. In the United States, Wild Lettuces can be found in the State of Washington.
Since wild lettuce has a very close resemblance to dandelions, identifying it can be a little bit hard and tricky. So, how do you spot the difference between wild lettuce and dandelions? Here’s how.
- Wild lettuces grow up to 6 feet tall while dandelions can only reach a maximum height of 1.5 feet.
- Wild lettuces produce multiple flowers while dandelions have just one flower.
- The flowers of wild lettuce are smaller compared to the flowers of dandelions.
- The stalk of wild lettuce as it grows will get thick to almost woody stalk while the stalk of dandelions will not get thick.
How is Wild Lettuce Used & Processed?
You can use and process wild lettuce in different ways. Here’s how to do it.
1. Wild Lettuce Tea
This is the easiest way to use and get the benefits of wild lettuce.
- The first thing you need to do is to gather the leaves.
- Dry the leaves by natural method or by using a dehydrator.
- After drying the leaves, grind it.
- Mix 2 teaspoon of dried leaves with 1 cup of water, let it steep for about 5minutes.
- Strain, add a little bit of honey to make taste better and then drink.
- Do this 3 times a day.
2. Wild Lettuce Extract
Just make sure not to overheat your plant since the active components of wild lettuce are very sensible to heat.
- Gather wild lettuce leaves and blend it for a few seconds.
- Pour the grounded wild lettuce leaves into a clean pot, add water and put it on the stove at low heat for 30 minutes. Stir it often. (Remember, DON’T LET YOUR MIXTURE BOIL).
- When the water of your mixture has a very dark green color, strain it using a fine mesh to collect the liquid.
- Put the collected liquid into a separate clean pot, put it on the stove and again heat on low.
- Make sure that your mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Stir frequently.
- When all of the water has evaporated, it will leave behind a wild lettuce extract concentrate.
- Apply directly to the skin. It can also be administered to the gums and tongue.
3. Wild Lettuce Tincture
Tinctures are easier to make and last much longer compared to wild lettuce extracts. The only disadvantage is that tinctures require alcohol. This means tinctures are not suitable to be used for children. Tinctures also need to have a “stripper” for the active compounds to dissolve into.
- Chop the entire wild lettuce plant into smaller pieces and put it into a blender. Then add the stripper.
- Let it sit for about 3-5 minutes. (If you have the time and patience, letting it sit for 1 week will yield you a better result).
- After letting it sit for about 5 minutes, blend it thoroughly and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh. Collect the liquid.
- Using a coffee filter, strain your mixture again and collect the liquid.
- Use dark bottles to store your tincture liquid.
4. Smoking Wild Lettuce
One of the fastest ways of getting the effects of wild lettuce is by smoking it. Just take some of your dried wild lettuce leaves and roll them into a cigarette and then light it up. Fast and easy!
This method is only recommended if you are not suffering from cough or asthma.
Is Wild Lettuce Legal?
In the United States, using wild lettuce is 100 percent legal. The FDA branded it as an unscheduled substance. This means you can use wild lettuce as much as you want!
Dosing wild lettuce depends on three things.
- Your tolerance level
- Your age
- How big you are
While it is true that wild lettuce is a safe drug, you must remember that it is still a drug. And like any drugs out there, when taken inappropriately or in large dosages, it can lead to some potential side effect like:
- Enhance colors
- Loss of balance
- Distorted vision
- Vivid dreams
Special Precautions and Warnings:
- For pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, avoid use.
- If you have enlarged prostate, avoid taking wild lettuce. Wild lettuce has chemical properties that can affect people who have difficulty urinating.
- If you have allergies, consult your doctor first before using wild lettuce.
- Don’t use wild lettuce if you have glaucoma. It can make your condition worse.
- Don’t use wild lettuce for at least two weeks if you’re scheduled for surgery or just came out of surgery.
Grow Your Own Wild Lettuce
Growing wild lettuce is easy. You can buy your seeds from your favorite seed depot stores or buy it online. You can also harvest wild lettuce seeds if you find some in the wild. The choice is yours.
After buying your wild lettuce seeds, the best time to sow it is during spring or fall. You can either sow them on your flower beds or in planters. Make sure your soil is moist until your wild lettuce seeds germinate. The seeds germination usually takes about 15-20 days.
When your seeds have sprouted, transplant it into separate pots. If you prefer to use flower beds, make sure to space them out 6 inches apart. Water once every 3 days and in due time, you will have full-grown wild lettuce stalks to harvest.
Before you decide to use wild lettuce, it is still best to consult and ask for guidance from your doctor. While it is true that wild lettuce can be a good substitute as a pain reliever for different body aches as well as help bring relief to other anxiety-related conditions, it is still recommended that you ask your doctor’s help and advice for the right and recommended dosages when using wild lettuce. Remember, self-medicating without the proper guidance from experts can sometimes lead to more harm than good.
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