Are you looking to learn how to use wild lettuce as a natural pain relief?
We’ve spent 19 hours doing a background check of wild lettuce as being a good natural pain relief, and we’ve compiled everything we’ve discovered into this article.
Medicinal plants, for example, have been utilized since ancient times to cure a variety of ailments, such as discomfort.
It is terrible how much information we have lost throughout the years.
In addition to traditional skills like gardening, food preservation, and carpentry, we’ve forgotten about medicinal remedies – including ones that can be found in our backyards.
Fortunately, several of these traditional medicines are making a comeback, including lactuca virosa (wild lettuce).
Wild Lettuce As A Pain Killer
What Is Wild Lettuce
Lactuca virosa, also known as wild lettuce, is a Eurasian plant that grows in many regions of the world, including North America, Europe and the Middle East.
This herb thrives in full sunlight, such as along riverbanks and road sides, and can reach up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in height.
When dry, this substance resembles opium, a pain-relieving drug obtained from unripe seedpods of the opium poppy.
From ancient times into the 19th century, opium was commonly used as a pain reliever and sedative. (1Trusted Source).
Lactucarium, too, may have similar effects to opium – but with fewer negative side effects.
In fact, because of its reported pain-relieving capabilities, wild lettuce is sometimes known as “opium lettuce.” (2Trusted Source).
Doctors have used wild lettuce for centuries as a pain medication and a treatment for diseases such as whooping cough, with studies on its usage dating back to 1815. (3Trusted Source).
One of the most useful plants to learn about if you’re just getting started with foraging and natural treatments is wild lettuce.
How To Identify Wild Lettuce
It’s difficult to tell the difference between this plant and dandelion (Taraxacum) or milk thistle (Lactuca serriola).
Young wild lettuce has tiny leaves that grow in groups. It grows a thick stem with long, green foliage as it matures.
The leaves are smooth and have a light green color. Occasionally, the leaves might be spotted with purple spots.
The root is brown in color.
When you cut the stalk or leaves, a white milky substance called latex will leak out immediately.
The latex turns yellow and then brown as it dries and hardens.
Can Wild Lettuce Be Use for Pain Relief
Lactucarium, or ground-up lettuce leaves, has been used to treat pain for hundreds of years.
Lactucin and lactucopicrin are bitter chemicals in lactucarium that act on the central nervous system to produce analgesic and sedative effects.(4Trusted Source).
Pain has been investigated extensively and found to be relieved by wild lettuce.(1)
The name “opium lettuce” is a misunderstanding, though.
The plant will relieve pain, but don’t expect it to have the same level of sedative effects as opium. It’s more like a lot of ibuprofen than opium. (2)
The good news is that it will alleviate pain without producing the same undesirable effects as opium. It won’t make you addicted or build a tolerance to it.
Want to be ready for (almost) any medical emergency?
Benefits Of Wild Lettuce
Aside from pain, wild lettuce is commonly used as a natural therapy for a range of ailments, including:
- Rheumatism and Aching joints
- ADHD and hyperactivity in children
- Respiratory conditions
- Menstrual cramps
- Poor circulation
- Urinary infections
When applied to the skin, it is also thought to have antibacterial effects.
You’ll find 800+ beneficial plants and remedies in “The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies“.
It includes recipes of tinctures, teas, decoctions, essential oils, syrups, salves, poultices, infusions and many other natural remedies that our grandparents used for centuries.
What’s also special about this book is that it has between 2 and 4 high definition, color pictures for each plant and detailed identification guidelines to make sure you’ve got the right plant.
How to Harvest Wild Lettuce
The active medicinal components are present in all plants.
However, these substances are not abundant in young specimens.
As a result, it’s preferable to collect mature plants after they’ve bloomed.
It blooms between June and August, but this period can vary depending on the climate.
Simply chop the stalk to determine if it’s ripe for harvesting.
The milky liquid should flow easily when applied. If it doesn’t, the plant isn’t yet ready.
How to Prepare The Plant
The lettuce’s most potent component is the milky sap from the stem.
Wild lettuce was traditionally harvested by making incisions in the stalks, allowing the sap to ooze out, and then drying them.
The dried juice would be gathered.
It’s a time-consuming and physically demanding procedure. You might simply consume the leaves fresh. They’re extremely nutritious (though not particularly tasty).
However, you won’t receive a very concentrated dosage this way. You’d be better off using one of the methods below.
How to Use Wild Lettuce As Tea
- Gather leaves.
- Dry the leaves.
- Grind the leaves.
- Mix 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves with 1 cup of water.
- Let steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain and drink.
- Repeat up to 3x per day.
This is an observation that may surprise you.
Wild lettuce tea has a very harsh flavor.
To make it more pleasant, add honey and lemon. It may also be combined with other types of tea to cover the bitterness.
If you don’t want to make your own you can buy the leaf tea on Amazon.
How to Extract Wild Lettuce Resin
Making extracts is a simple procedure, but you must be cautious not to overheat the plant.
The active components are susceptible to heat.
If the mixture ever comes to a boil or becomes coated with bubbles on the bottom of the pan, the active components in wild lettuce will be ruined.
How To Extract Wild Lettuce Resin
- Gather leaves.
- Put in a blender.
- For just a few seconds, blend. You don’t want to mix the leaves completely.Pour the ground leaves into a pot.
- Add just enough water to cover.
- Put the pot on a stove at LOW heat.
- DO NOT ALLOW THE MIXTURE TO BOIL!
- Heat for 30 minutes, stirring often.
- The water should turn a very dark green color.
- Strain the leaves through a fine mesh (pantyhose works well for this).
- Collect the liquid.
- Put the liquid into a clean pot.
- Heat on LOW again.
- Add the sugar and milk into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently. Make sure the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Water will evaporate, leaving behind a concentrated extract of wild lettuce.
If you want to learn more about making the extract, have a look at this video from the Lost Ways team.
Wild Lettuce Dosage
I conducted a lot of research on the best dosage. It is largely determined by the strength of the plant you used, how you ingest it, and your own sensitivity.
It’s usually better to start with a modest dose and observe how you respond. After that, you may gradually increase the amount if required.
Wild Lettude Dosage:
- Tea: 1-2 teaspoons of dried wild lettuce seeped in 1 cup of water, 3x per day.
- Resin: Take about 1.5 grams of resin as needed.
- Smoking: Use approximately 0.25 grams of dried leaves.
- Tincture: Take 12-24 drops, 2-3x per day.
Potential Side Effects
When taken in the recommended amounts, it has a very minor impact.
In higher dosages, you might experience one of the following negative side effects:
- Vivid dreams
- Enhanced colors
- Loss of balance
- Distorted vision (8)
At some websites like this one, you’ll see warnings about the toxicity of wild lettuce: “In high doses can produce stupor, depress breathing and overdose can cause coma/death.”
However, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over-the-counter painkillers have killed no more than 35 people per year since their introduction in 1961.
That’s a tiny number when compared with tens of thousands of deaths caused by prescription drugs. Furthermore, anti-inflammatory medications can also be used on dogs!
There are not enough data In this case study, for example, 8 patients presented with wild lettuce overdose. None of them suffered any long-term ill effects.
One of the patients passed out.
The study doesn’t specify how much they ate, only that it was a “considerable amount.”
The patients were kept hydrated and given activated charcoal to assist with the absorption of extra wild lettuce in their digestive tracts.
Under the Food and Drug Administration, lettuce is not a controlled substance.
It may be cultivated, harvested, and used without restrictions.
It can also be purchased lawfully.
If you want to learn more about using this amazing plant, have a look at this video from the Lost Ways team.