Papaver Somniferum is an annual herb that grows up to 100 cm. It is native of Eastern Mediterranean region but it is cultivated throughout Europe. Herbal plant is greyish green in color and stems and leaves are covered sparsely with small and soft hair. Leaves are lobed and clasp at the base of stem. Flowers of this herb normally grow with four white, mauve and red petals and more than 120 mm in diameter. Fruits are round shaped capsules and when whole herb is wounded the plant emits white latex.
Papever Somniferum has many species and subspecies but all are different from each other in many aspects like flower color, shape and number of petals, quantity of flowers and fruits, color of seeds and production of opium etc.
Seeds or poppy seeds are used to prepare poppyseed oil, an edible oil with numerous benefits. Both oil and seed residue has commercial properties as poppy seeds are used as food and bakers use to decorate products mixed with sweet fillings.
Morphine is also prepared from this herb. Morphine is an opioid used for moderate to severe pain but misuse of this drug can cause addiction and overdose of this causes spontaneous death.
Dried latex is used to prepare highly addictive narcotic drug. Various incisions on fruit are made to collect yellow brown latex. It contains various alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, thebaine, papaverin, narcotine, meconic acid and apomorphine etc.
Oil is prepared by poppy seeds and has numerous commercial and health benefits. With the abundance of carbohydrates and calcium this oil is rich in linoleic acid. This acid gives prevention against various cardio vascular disorders and breast cancer. It is also used in iron deficiency.
Native range of this annual herb is eastern Mediterranean but it is cultivated in Asia, Europe and China. United Kingdom is cultivating this plant for medicinal reasons.