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The poppy, also known as Papaver rhoeas, is a striking plant with bright red flowers that not only impresses with its beauty, but also with its healing powers. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, but it is only recently that scientific studies have confirmed the many effects of the plant.

The discovery of poppy

Poppy has been known since ancient times and was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. In the Middle Ages, European herbalists used it as a remedy for various diseases. The red flower not only symbolizes love and death in literature and art, but also has a long history as a medicinal plant.

Dosage forms and dosage

Poppy can be taken in various forms, e.g. as a tea, tincture, extract or powder. The recommended dosage depends on the respective dosage form:

  • Tea: Pour hot water over one to two teaspoons of dried poppy flowers and leave to infuse for ten minutes. Drink up to two cups a day.
  • Tincture: Dissolve 20-30 drops of the tincture in water and take one to three times a day.
  • Extract: Please refer to the package leaflet or ask your doctor.
  • Powder: Half a teaspoon to a teaspoon stirred into water or juice, once a day.

Diseases that can be treated with poppy

It is traditionally used for a variety of ailments:

  • Sleep disorders: The calming properties help with difficulty falling asleep.
  • Coughs and colds: The expectorant properties ease breathing and soothe irritating coughs.
  • Nervousness and anxiety: The calming effect helps to reduce stress and tension.
  • Pain and inflammation: Some studies indicate that it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Effect on the body

The poppy’s calming effect is due to its alkaloids, in particular rhoeadin, which has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. The flowers also contain flavonoids and mucilage, which have an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect.

When to take and complementary remedies

Poppy should preferably be taken in the evening, especially if it is used to improve sleep. Other medicinal plants such as valerian, lemon balm or hops can be taken as a supplement to support the calming and healing effect. Magnesium and vitamin B complex are other supplements that can help to calm the nervous system.

Caution for certain groups of people

Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised not to take it, as there are insufficient studies on its safety. Children under the age of twelve should also not consume it. People with a known allergy to plants from the poppy family should be careful and have an allergy test carried out if necessary.

Poppy: side effects and overdose

Side effects are rare when used as directed. In individual cases, gastrointestinal complaints or allergic reactions may occur. However, an overdose can lead to nausea, dizziness and, in extreme cases, respiratory depression. It is therefore important not to exceed the recommended dosage and to consult a doctor if in doubt.

Naturopathic treatments and dietary supplements

Poppy is often used in phytotherapy, a form of naturopathy based on herbal remedies. In combination with a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, it can be a valuable supplement to promote health and well-being. Foods such as oatmeal, nuts and seeds can support the effects of poppy as they also have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.


The poppy is an impressive medicinal plant with many possible applications. From relieving insomnia and calming the nervous system to helping with colds, poppy offers a natural alternative to synthetic medications. However, as with all remedies, it is important to ensure the correct dosage and keep an eye on possible side effects. With its long history and scientifically confirmed effects, poppy remains a valuable gift of nature.

Published on: 10. July 2024


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