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Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
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Poppy
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Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)



Poppy








The Scarlet Poppy of our cornfields (Papaver Rhoeas) is one of
the most brilliant and familiar of English wild flowers, being
strikingly conspicuous as a weed by its blossoms rich in scarlet
petals, which are black at the base. The title Papaver has been
derived from pap, a soft food given to young infants, in which it was
at one time customary to boil Poppy seeds for the purpose of
inducing sleep. Provincially this plant bears the titles of Cop Rose
(from its rose-like flowers, and the button-like form of its cop, or
capsule) and Canker Rose, from its detriment to wheat crops.

The generic term Rhoeas comes from reo, to fall, because the
scarlet petals have so fragile a hold on their receptacles; and the
plant has been endowed with the sobriquet, John Silver Pin, fair
without and foul within. In the Eastern counties of England any
article of finery brought out only occasionally, and worn with
ostentation by a person otherwise a slattern, is called Joan Silver
Pin. After this sense the appellation has been applied to the Scarlet
Poppy. Its showy flower is so attractive to the eye, whilst its inner
juice is noxious, and stains the hands of those who thoughtlessly
crush it with their fingers.

And Poppies a sanguine mantle spread,
For the blood of the dragon St. Margaret shed.

Robert Turner naively says, The Red Poppy Flower (Papaver
erraticum) resembleth at its bottom the settling [438] of the 'Blood
in pleurisie'; and, he adds, how excellent is that flower in diseases
of the pleurisie with similar surfeits hath been sufficiently
experienced.

It is further called Blindy Buff, Blind Eyes, Headwarke, and
Headache, from the stupefying effects of smelling it. Apothecaries
make a syrup of a splendid deep colour from its vividly red petals;
but this does not exercise any soporific action like that concocted
from the white Poppy, which is a sort of modified opiate, suitable
for infants under certain conditions, when sanctioned by a doctor.
Otherwise, all sedatives of a narcotic sort are to be strongly
condemned for use by mothers, or nurses:--

But a child that bids the world 'Good-night'
In downright earnest, and cuts it quite,
(A cherub no art can copy),
'Tis a perfect picture to see him lie,
As if he had supped on dormouse pie,
An ancient classical dish, by-the-bye,
With a sauce of syrup of Poppy.

Petronius, in the time of Nero, A.D. 80, delivered an odd receipt
for dressing dormouse sausages, and serving them up with Poppies
and honey, which must have been a very soporiferous dainty, and as
good as owl pye to such as want a nap after dinner.

The white Poppy is specially cultivated in Britain for the sake of its
seed capsules, which possess attributes similar to opium,
but of a weaker strength. These capsules are commonly known as
Poppyheads, obtained from the druggist for use in domestic
fomentations to allay pain. Also from the capsules, without their
seeds, is made the customary syrup of White Poppies, which is so
familiar as a sedative for childhood; but it should be always
remembered that infants of tender years are highly susceptible to the
influence even of this mild form [439] of opium. The true gum
opium, and laudanum, which is its tincture, are derived from Eastern
Poppies (Papaver somniferum) by incisions made in the capsules
at a proper season of the year. The cultivated Poppy of the garden
will afford English opium in a like manner, but it is seldom used for
this purpose. A milky juice exudes when the capsules of these
cultivated flowers are cut, or bruised. They are familiar to most
children as drumsticks, plucked in the garden after the gaudy petals
of the flowers have fallen off. The leaves and stems likewise afford
some of the same juice, which, when inspissated, is known as
English opium. The seeds of the white Poppy yield by expression a
bland nutritive oil, which may be substituted for that of olives, or
sweet almonds, in cooking, and for similar uses. Dried Poppy-heads,
formerly in constant request for making hot soothing stupes, or for
application directly to a part in pain, are now superseded for the
most part by the many modern liquid preparations of opium handy
for the purpose, to be mixed with hot water, or applied in poultices.

For outward use laudanum may be safely added to stupes, hot or
cold, a teaspoonful being usually sufficient for the purpose, or
perhaps two, if the pain is severe; and powdered opium may be
incorporated with one or another ointment for a similar object. If a
decoction of Poppy capsules is still preferred, it should be made by
adding to a quarter-of-a-pound of white Poppy heads (free from
seeds, and broken up in a mortar) three pints of boiling water; then
boil for ten or fifteen minutes, and strain off the decoction, which
should measure about two pints.

Dr. Herbert Snow, resident physician at the Brompton Cancer
Hospital, says (1895) he has found: after a [440] long experience,
Opium exhibits a strong inhibitive influence on the cancer elements,
retarding and checking the cell growth, which is a main feature of
the disease. Even when no surgical operation has been performed,
Opium is the only drug which markedly checks cancer growth: and
the early employment of this medicine will usually add years of
comfortable life to the otherwise shortened space of the sufferer's
existence. Opium gets its name from the Greek apos, juice.

The seeds of the white Poppy are known us mawseed, or balewort,
and are given as food to singing birds. In old Egypt these seeds were
mixed with flour and honey, and made into cakes.

Pliny says: The rustical peasants of Greece glazed the upper crust
of their loaves with yolks of eggs, and then bestrewed them with
Poppy seeds, thus showing that the seeds were then considered free
from narcotic properties. And in Queen Elizabeth's time these seeds
were strewn over confectionery, whilst the oil expressed from them
was delightful to be eaten when taken with bread.

White Poppy capsules, when dried, furnish papaverine and
narcotine, with some mucilage, and a little waxy matter. The seeds
contained within the capsules yield Poppy seed oil, with a fixed oil,
and a very small quantity of morphia--about five grains in a pound
of white Poppy seeds. In some parts of Russia the seeds are put into
soups.

The Poppy was cultivated by the Greeks before the time of
Hippocrates. It has long been a symbol of death, because sending
persons to sleep. Ovid says, concerning the Cave of Somnus:--

Around whose entry nodding Poppies grow,
And all cool Simples that sweet rest bestow.

[441] The common scarlet Poppy was called by the Anglo-Saxons
Chesebolle, Chebole, or Chybolle, from the ripe capsule
resembling a round cheese.

There is a Welsh Poppy, with yellow flowers; and a horned Poppy,
named after Glaucus, common on our sea coasts, with sea-green
leaves, and large blossoms of golden yellow. Glaucus, a fisherman
of Boeotia, observed that all the fishes which he caught received
fresh vigour when laid on the ground, and were immediately able to
leap back into the sea. He attributed these effects to some herb
growing in the grass, and upon tasting the leaves of the Sea Poppy
he found himself suddenly moved with an intense desire to live in
the sea; wherefore he was made a sea-god by Oceanus and Tethys.
Borlase says: That in the Scilly Islands the root of the Sea Poppy is
so much valued for removing all pains in the breast, stomach, and
intestines, as well as so good for disordered lungs, whilst so much
better there than in other places, that the apothecaries of Cornwall
send thither for it; and some persons plant these roots in their
gardens in Cornwall, and will not part with them under sixpence a
root. The scarlet petals of the wild Poppy, very abundant in English
cornfields, when treated with sulphuric acid make a splendid red
dye. With gorgeous tapestry cut from these crimson petals, the
clever drapery bee (Apis papaveris) upholsters the walls of her
solitary cell. Bruised leaves of the wild, or the garden Poppy, if
applied to a part which has been stung by a bee or a wasp, will give
prompt relief.





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