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An annual plant (Papaver somniferum) native to southwest Asia, having grayish-green leaves and variously colored flowers and cultivated for its edible seeds and as the principal source of opium.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
opium poppyHerbal medicine
An annual, the unripe seeds of which contain alkaloids, including morphine, codeine and papaverine. The poppy has been used for than 5000 years in cultural rituals for inducing euphoria and reducing anxiety and inhibitions; the alkaloids are analgesic, antispasmodic and antitussive, and have been used for pain, colic and asthmatic attacks. Ripe poppy seeds have virtually no alkaloids and are often used as condiments.
Opium can cause fatal respiratory paralysis.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.