wild lettuce


Wild lettuce: medicinal plant used in phytotherapy mainly due to its calming effect, for example, in cases of insomnia. Generally used in the form of tea, decoction or powdered juice (lactucarium).


Portuguese name: wild lettuce, wild lettuce
Binomial name: Lactuca virosa
French name: Laitue vireuse , méconide, laitue papavéracée
English name: Lactuca virosa, Opium Lettuce
German name: Gift-Lattich
Italian name: lattuga
Spanish name: lechuga salvaje




Sesquiterpenes (lactucopicrine, lactucine), flavonoids from coumarins.

parts used

leaves and latex


Sedative, calming, hypnotic and slightly psychotropic. The calming effect of wild lettuce is due, in part, to an adenosine agonist effect (opposite effect to caffeine, which appears as an adenosine antagonist).


– Sleep problems (insomnia in particular)

– Cough

Secundary effects

none known


none known


none known


– Decoction

– Infusion

– Syrup

– White lettuce latex (fresh or dried, e.g. sun-dried)

Where does lettuce grow?

Wild lettuce grows mainly in Europe and Asia.

Interesting Observations

Wild lettuce latex can be sun dried to obtain a dark mass called “lactucarium”, which has a calming effect, but ask your doctor or pharmacist about dosage and possible contraindications. The species called wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) seems to give a higher concentration and quantity of “lactucarium”.

“Lactucarium” is sometimes described as “lettuce opium” and can be compared to poppy opium. However, this description and comparison is wrong as “lactucarium” does not contain opiates.

Lettuce is a kind of lettuce very close to wild lettuce. Read our Lettuce File

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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