4 Health Benefits of Opium Poppy – Ben Cao Medical Book

1. Description:

Opium poppy (scientific name: Papaver somniferum, Chinese Pinyin: Ying Su, Simplified Chinese: 罂粟), is a species of annual, erect, flowering, herbaceous plant in genus Papaver (poppy family, Papaveraceae). Originated in Eastern Mediterranean and widely cultivated in the temperate climates across the world, the plant can grow up to 100 cm tall. The capsule and seeds of opium poppy are used as anti-diarrheal, diuretic, analgesic and antitussive in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as nausea and vomiting.

Other simplified Chinese names for opium poppy include: 罂子粟, 罂粟米, 象谷, 米囊, 御米, 囊子, 御米子, 罂粟子, 粟米.

2. Odour, Properties And Channels:

The capsule of opium poppy is considered to have sour, astringent, mildly cold and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the spleen, stomach and large intestine meridians.

The seed of opium poppy is considered to have sweet, neutral and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the spleen, stomach and large intestine meridians.

3. Uses, Health Benefits of Opium Poppy & Medical Formulas:

3.1 Anti-Cancer

Opium poppy is not only the source of illicit heroin and the painkiller morphine, its derivatives can also be used to make the antidote to overdoses of these drugs, naloxone. The fruitful flower also gives rise to a drug called noscapine, a promising cancer-fighting agent already used in some countries as a cough-suppressant (time.com 2012).

3.2 Coughing

Powdered opium poppy capsule mixed with honey is taken orally to treat chronic cough.

Opium poppy capsule and fructus mume are powdered and taken orally to relieve chronic cough and sweating.

3.3 Nausea And Vomiting

A decoction of opium poppy seed, ginseng, fresh sweet potato and fresh ginger juice is taken orally to treat nausea and vomiting.

3.4 The Excretory System

Pills made with opium poppy seed (fried) and opium poppy capsule (roasted) is taken orally to treat dysentery and severe diarrhea with mucus or blood in the feces.

Opium poppy capsule (soaked in vinegar) and dried tangerine peel are pounded and taken orally with fructus mume soup to treat hematochezia (blood in stool).

4. Contraindication, Side-effects & Cautions:

Long term usage can cause negative consequences.

List of reference

time.com 2012 Scientists Identify Opium Poppy Genes that Make Promising Cancer Drug [online] link: http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/01/scientists-identify-opium-poppy-genes-that-make-promising-cancer-drug/

The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by ChinaAbout.net. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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