Wild Lettuce Benefits

Wild Lettuce
Latin Name

Lactuca virosa

Also Known As

Bitter lettuce, Laitue vireuse, Opium Lettuce, Poisonous Lettuce, or Rakutu-Karyumu-So



Parts Used

Dried leaves

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Wild lettuce is a natural sedative, it is very good for an over-excited nervous system. It is particually good for hyperactive children, and can be of considerable help with symptoms of over-excitement or inability to sleep.
Wild lettuce is known as "lettuce opium" it is also helpful for adults who suffer from insomnia, restlessness, anxiety or neurosis.
Wild lettuce can be combined well with Valerian as a sleepwell tea.
It's natural tranquilising effects also help the condition of the individual if suffering from whooping cough, or coughs in general. It can also relieve colic type pain, including menstrual pains and rheumatism.

Typical Use

Wild Lettuce cut leaves
1-2 teaspoon per cup of hot water up to 3 times a day.
Herbal Tincture
2-4ml up to 3 times a day.
or as recommended by a herbal practitioner

Folklore and History

Since early ages, wild lettuce has enjoyed a special status as a beneficial therapeutic plant and was treasured as a tranquilizer and pain killer. The herb valued so much that during the 19th century people used it as a substitute for opium! The story goes that Roman emperor Augustus supposedly constructed a statue of a physician who had recommended lettuce to treat him of a serious ailment. While it is not comprehensible which variety of lettuce cured the emperor, it is believed that the herb was wild lettuce.

Wild Lettuce

Wild lettuce has been found to contain lactucic acid, lactucopicrin, 50 to 60 per cent lactucerin (lactucone) and lactucin. Lactucarium treated with boiling water and filtered is clear, but on cooling the filtrate becomes turbid. It is not coloured blue by iodine test solution. The usual constituents of latex are albumen, mannite, and caoutchouc.


Can cause drowsiness, or if taken in excess can cause restlessness