insomnia and anxiety
Anodyne / Antispasmodic / Expectorant / Sedative
Wild Lettuce is not a garden vegetable but actually a woodland member of the sunflower family Asteraceae/Compositae. The whole plant is rich in milky juice that flows freely from any wound. It has a bitter taste and narcotic scent.
Wild Lettuce (Lactuca sp.) was traditionally used in the 19th century by physicians as a sedative to relieve tension, anxiety and insomnia causing restlessness disturbing convalescence when opium extracts were not available. In the United States, the plant experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1970's. Today the plant is unscheduled by the FDA, meaning that it is legal to grow, purchase and own without prescription or license.
Constituents: Flavonoids (strong antioxidant properties), sesquiterpene lactones, N-methyl-B--phenethylamine, lactucopicrin, lactucin, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, coumarins, mannitol, and hyosycamine.
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Wild Lettuce is not a pain killer. It is generally used as a sedative for short term or intermittently to relieve tension, anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. According to a double-blind study in 2009, the efficacy of Lactuca serriola for mixed anxiety depressive disorder was proven to be significant.
Known Dosage (for Adults)
1 to 2 teaspoons in a cup of warm water. The effects of ingesting Wild Lettuce tincture is helpful for insomnia, anxiety and depression. Effects are felt quickly but do not last long — between half an hour to a couple of hours.
Warning: Ingesting large amounts can slow breathing, cause sweating, fast heartbeat, pupil dilation, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and vision changes. If you feel the beginning of any of these symptoms, stop using Wild Lettuce and drink water to help flush the system. If you have any conditions that may require surgery, stop using Wild Lettuce at least 2 weeks before the scheduled surgery. Do not ingest Wild Lettuce if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have the eye condition narrow-angle glaucoma, or have allergies to related plants such as ragweed.
Hamdard Medicus 2009 Vol. 52 No. 1 pp. 97-101
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